Do Antiracist Efforts and Diversity Programs Make a Difference? Assessing the Case of Norway

  • Christian StokkeEmail author
Part of the Approaches to Social Inequality and Difference book series (ATSIAD)


This chapter discusses multicultural developments in Norway over the last decade, in public debate, policy, and education, and assesses if antiracist efforts and diversity programs make a difference. The chapter uses two empirical cases from public debate, the cartoon affair and hijab debates, to analyze Norwegian Muslims’ mobilization in street protest and mediated public debate. I theorize multiculturalism and antiracism as social movements and the state’s partial accommodation of their demands in policy and law—a model that fits Scandinavian social democracy. Norwegian Muslims emphasize that Islam supports free speech and gender equality but want to be equal partners in negotiating and interpreting these values. They argue that free speech does not justify anti-Muslim racism, and Muslim women want to define their own Muslim feminism. Analysis shows that the dialogue-oriented social democratic government’s (2005–2013) diversity policy accommodated many minority perspectives and made multicultural education a priority in schools, opening a space for antiracist education. I argue that real integration requires that the majority learns to recognize minority perspectives, develop empathy, and take racism seriously.


Multiculturalism Antiracism Anti-Muslim racism Multicultural education Norwegian Muslims Muslim feminism Cartoon affair 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Culture, Religion and Social StudiesUniversity of Southeast NorwayDrammenNorway

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