Negotiating the Nation: Implications of Ethnic and Religious Diversity for National Identity (NATION)

Negotiating the Nation: Implications of Ethnic and Religious Diversity for National Identity (NATION)
Led by Marta Bivand Erdal
Dec 2013 - Dec 2017

​​​​​This research project ran from 2013 through 2017, investigating the role of ethnic and religious diversity in contemporary European nation building. National identity is not a fixed entity, and through the parallel processes of globalization, immigration and secularization, traditional notions of national identity are under pressure. NATION sought to understand these issues by exploring how nationhood is negotiated in three European countries: Norway, France, and the United Kingdom.

The increased ethnic and religious diversity within these countries' populations is seen to challenge the boundaries of national identity in particular ways. Some aspects of diversity are seen as acceptable, while others are defined as 'problematic' for national identity. In current debates on nationhood, the discourses of religion and ethnicity are intertwined. The changing social role of religion has implications for the negotiation of the nation. While looking at the interaction between religion and ethnicity in nationhood contestations, NATION investigated these two issues in parallel.​

Findings from the research can be found in a project summary report published n 2017:

NATION Report Cover.jpg
NATION Report Cover.jpg

Research Groups


Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Ezzati, Rojan Tordhol (2021) ‘United through our values’? Expressing unity through value-talk after terrorism in France and Norway, Migration Studies. DOI: 10.1093/migration/mnab033.
Erdal, Marta Bivand & Katrine Fangen (2021) A state-centred conception of nationhood? Norwegian bureaucrats on the nation, Ethnicities. DOI: 10.1177/14687968211012567.
Strømsø, Mette (2019) Investigating everyday acts of contributing as ‘admission tickets’ to belong to the nation in Norway, Nations and nationalism. DOI: 10.1111/nana.12536: 1–21.
Erdal, Marta Bivand & Mette Strømsø (2018) Children’s rights, participatory research and the co-construction of national belonging, Human Rights Education Review 1(1): 25–45.
Erdal, Marta Bivand & Mette Strømsø (2018) Interrogating boundaries of the everyday nation through first impressions: experiences of young people in Norway, Social & Cultural Geography. DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2018.1559345.
Buxrud, Bjørnar & Katrine Fangen (2017) Norwegian national day oratory: constructing and reconstructing a national we, Nations and Nationalism 23(4): 770–789.
Kolås, Åshild (2017) How critical is the event? Multicultural Norway after 22 July 2011, Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture 23(2): 1–15.
Fangen, Katrine & Åshild Kolås (2016) The "Syria traveller": Reintegration or legal sanctioning?, Critical Studies on Terrorism 9(3): 414–432.
Fangen, Katrine & Mari Vaage (2014) FrP-politikeres innvandringsretorikk i posisjon og opposisjon, Agora: Journal for metafysisk spekulasjon 3(4): 30–63.

PhD Thesis

Strømsø, Mette (2019) Beneath the Waves of Nationalism: How Ordinary People Living in Norway (Re)Produce the Nation in Everyday Life. PhD thesis, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, Oslo.

Book Chapter

Erdal, Marta Bivand (2022) «Kan man se norsk ut?» Om norskhet som en referanse for rasimse ["Can one look Norwegian?" On Norwegianness as a reference point for racism], in Cora Alexa Døving, ed., Rasisme : Fenomenet, forskningen, erfaringen. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget (188–203).
Erdal, Marta Bivand (2016) When Poland became the main country of birth among Catholics in Norway’: Exploring the interface of Polish migrants’ everyday narratives and Church responses to a rapid demographic re-constitution, in Pasura, Dominic; & Marta Bivand Erdal, eds, Migration, Transnationalism and Catholicism: Global Perspectives. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Popular Article

Erdal, Marta Bivand (2017) Hvem godtar vi som «norske»? [Who do we accept as "Norwegian"?], Aftenposten, 14 March.
Erdal, Marta Bivand & Mette Strømsø (2017) Hva er norskhet? [What is Norwegianness?], VG, 17 January.
Erdal, Marta Bivand & Rojan Tordhol Ezzati (2015) Når blir du norsk? [When do you become Norwegian?], Aftenposten, 8 May.
Erdal, Marta Bivand & Rojan Tordhol Ezzati (2015) Evig innvandrer, aldri norsk [Eternal immigrant, never Norwegian], Bergens Tidende, 22 January.
Erdal, Marta Bivand & Tove Heggli Sagmo (2014) Avleggs statsborgerskapslov [Outdated citizenship legislation], Dagens Næringsliv, 6 October.

PRIO Report

Erdal, Marta Bivand; Rojan Tordhol Ezzati; Katrine Fangen; Thomas Lacroix; Åshild Kolås; Mette Strømsø; & Michael Collyer (2017) Negotiating the Nation: Implications of Ethnic and Religious Diversity for National Identity, PRIO Project Summary. Oslo: PRIO.

Master Thesis

Egge, Sonja-Beate (2017) “God is a GPS for Life”: Negotiating National Belonging and Christianity in Norway. MA thesis, Department of Social Anthropologt, University of Oslo, Oslo.
Brekke, Brita (2017) Making Space for Religion: A spatial analysis of the construction of two religious buildings in Oslo. MA thesis, Institute for Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, Oslo.

Conference Paper

Kolås, Åshild (2015) Sovereignty revisited: The Basque case, presented at International Workshop on ‘A Multidisciplinary Approach to Processes of Sovereignty Construction: The Basque Case’, Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law (IISL), 14–15 May 2015.

PRIO Policy Brief

Erdal, Marta Bivand & Mette Strømsø (2016) Norskhet i flertall [Plural Norwegianness], PRIO Policy Brief, 14. Oslo: PRIO.
Erdal, Marta Bivand & Cathrine Talleraas (2015) Becoming One of Us?, PRIO Policy Brief, 11. Oslo: PRIO.
Talleraas, Cathrine & Marta Bivand Erdal (2015) Contestations over National Identity and Diversity, PRIO Policy Brief, 10. Oslo: PRIO.

Book Review

Kolås, Åshild (2018) Review of Miaoyan Yang, ed., Learning to Be Tibetan: The Construction of Ethnic Identity at Minzu University of China, in The China Journal 80: 123–125.

Negotiating the Nation: Implications of Ethnic and Religious Diversity for National Identity (NATION)

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