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How Deep into Their Lives Can We Really Go? Diverse Populations, Professionals, and Contested Egalitarianisms in an Institutional Setting

  • Ida Erstad
Chapter
Part of the Approaches to Social Inequality and Difference book series (ATSIAD)

Abstract

This chapter explores interactions between migrant mothers and public health nurses (PHNs, helsesøstre) in the Parent and Child Health Services (helsestasjonen) in ethnically diverse Alna borough, Oslo. The chapter explores PHNs’ governing ideals and practices, taking their dual mandate and their empowerment perspectives as point of departure. It also examines migrant mothers’ expectations of and reactions to PHNs’ governing practices. The analytical focus is on the discrepancies between mothers’ and professionals’ expectations and perspectives on governing. The exploration of the governing of diverse populations in a local institutional context leads to questioning Gullestad’s notion of equality as sameness and further the opposition between public/private boundaries that she proposed. Rather, a messier social practice is identified in which PHNs adjust their own governing ideals and practices when meeting a diverse population, building, and drawing on a practice-oriented diversity competence, facilitating diversity, but also essentializing migrant mothers, marking them as different.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ida Erstad
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Oslo, Department of Social AnthropologyOsloNorway

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