Political Sociology

Political Sociology - InNorway,ConsensusCuts2Ways

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In Norway, Consensus Cuts 2 Ways  by Steven Erlanger and Michael Schwirtz  Nearly all Norwegians of a certain age know where they were when Oddvar Bra  suddenly broke his ski pole in the final sprint of a championship ski race in 1982, and  Norway had to settle for a tie with the Soviet Union.   But the common expression,  “Where were you when Bra broke his pole?” has suddenly way to a darker question –  where were you when Anders Behring Breivik was killing Norway’s children? July 22, the day Mr. Breivik killed at least 76 people, shook a peaceful nation to the  core.  But for many Norwegians it is also an indelible mark of a country that has evolved  away from the monoethnic, egalitarian culture that knew tragedy as a setback in Nordic  competition. Today, more than 11 percent of the population of some 4.9 million were born  someplace else – Pakistan, Sweden, Poland, Somalia, Eritrea, Iraq.  And the cultural  shock of diversity, especially incorporating the growing number of non-white Muslims,  has already meant the rise of a moderate anti-immigrant party, the Progress Party, to  become the second-largest in Norway. The young people Mr. Breivik shot at a summer camp on the island of Utoya were  all   Norwegians,   but   some   were   the   children   of   immigrants,   who   have   now   been  memorialized in the country’s greatest modern disaster. “When you are confronted with multi-cultural immigration, something happens,”  said Grete Brochmann, a sociologist at the University of Oslo.  “That’s the core of the  matter right now, and it’s a great challenge to the Norwegian model.” Norway’s leaders, from the royal family on down, have all praised the country’s  solidarity, democracy, equality and tolerance, and all vow that these values will not  change.  Virtuous, peaceful, generous, consensual – this is the Norwegian self-image,  aided by the oil wealth that props up one of the most comprehensive social welfare  systems in the world.
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This note was uploaded on 09/27/2011 for the course SOCIOLOGY 290 taught by Professor Jeffwilhelms during the Spring '11 term at Rutgers.

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Political Sociology - InNorway,ConsensusCuts2Ways

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