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Ongoing project

Downplaying difference? How ethnic minorities navigate discrimination in Norway (NAVIGATE)

Project period 2021 - 2025
Project nr. 10473 / NFR: 313682
Project leader Julia Orupabo

Project Background

Discrimination runs against the most fundamental values of modern societies. Even in egalitarian welfare states such as Norway, there is ample evidence of discrimination against ethnic minorities in hiring processes. However, there is an acute lack of knowledge about how ethnic minorities respond to and navigate this reality.

Project Aim

The primary aim of NAVIGATE is to generate knowledge about how ethnic minorities in Norway adjust their career preferences and behavior in response to anticipated discrimination at different stages of the career trajectory, from the job search phase, through the transition from education to work and throughout their labor market careers.

We aim to answer three overarching questions:

  • To what extent do ethnic minorities self-select into particular segments of the labor market to avoid discrimination?
  • Do they downplay racial and ethnic cues when applying for jobs, and how do they adapt to anticipated discrimination once they have secured a job?
  • To the extent that ethnic minority job seekers and employees attempt to cope with (the prospect of) discrimination, does it matter for their labor market outcomes?

Project Approach

An interdisciplinary team of sociologists, social psychologists and economist will through an innovative combination of methodological approaches analyze self-selection processes at different stages of minorities’ career trajectories.

The project is organized in three work packages (WPs). Deploying qualitative and experimental data, WP1 focus on the job search phase, and explore the relationship between minorities physical appearance and what type of de-stigmatization strategies they deploy to avoid hiring discrimination.

Using quantitative data, WP2 focus on the transition between education and work, and explore if de-stigmatization strategies, such as changing to a Norwegian sounding surname, matter for minorities labor market outcomes.

Deploying qualitative and quantitative data, WP3 focus on the strategies ethnic minorities apply to navigate discrimination and subtle exclusion in the labor market.

Project Bank (NFR)

Downplaying difference? How ethnic minorities navigate discrimination in Norway – Poject Bank (

Data protection

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ParticipantDegree PhoneE-mail
Marjan Nadim Research Professor PhD +47 916 09 108
Julia Orupabo Senior Research Fellow PhD +47 976 66 787
Janis Umblijs Senior Research Fellow PhD +47 925 27 810
Ida Drange (OsloMet)
Håvard Helland (OsloMet)
Arnfinn H. Midtbøen (UIO)
Jonas Kunst (UIO)
Aino Petterson (UIO)


  • Kunst, Jonas R.; Dovidio, John F.; Bailey, April & Obaidi, Milan (2022). The Way They Look: Phenotypic Prototypicality Shapes the Perceived Intergroup Attitudes of In- and Out-group Members. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2022.104303.
  • Midtbøen, Arnfinn Haagensen & Quillian, Lincoln (2021). Forbigående fenomen eller permanent virkelighet? Etnisk diskriminering i arbeidsmarkedet på tvers av tid, sted og generasjoner. Søkelys på arbeidslivet. 38(3-4), p. 182–196. doi: 10.18261/issn.1504-7989-2021-03-04-02. Full text in Research Archive

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Tags: Working Life, Migration
Published Sep. 27, 2021 1:31 PM - Last modified Sep. 27, 2021 2:42 PM