The Baltic Region

2019 Vol. 11 №2

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The ‘hybrid model’ of Norway’s ethnic policy in its northern counties: a key to stable interethnic relations



In this article, we study the political and legal model currently used by Norway in its Northern counties. This work is a part of comprehensive research supported by the Russian Science Foundation. Our study aims to provide a historical perspective to the model of Nor­way’s national ethnic policy in the Northern counties by identifying the operational capabili­ties and assessing the efficiency of these models amid increasing migration flows and changes in the country’s socio-economic environment. The methods we use in this multidisciplinary study are situated at the interface of national and international law, political science, history, and sociology. They include the comparative historical method (the dynamics of ethno-political processes), the systemic method (ethic policy in the framework of target-based pro­gramme management), the comparative law method (a comparison of national legal systems and international contractual standards), the value and norm-driven method (ethnic policy viewed through the prism of public good), institutional method (the role of political institu­tions), and the secondary analysis of sociological data. We also rely on qualitative methods, namely, the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data on ethnic diasporas living in the North of Norway. As a result, we establish that the Kingdom of Norway has a unified ap­proach to national ethnic policy, which rests on self-confessed multiculturalism. However, different ethnic political models are applied in the case of certain ethnic groups. Today, against the background of declared state multiculturalism and integration, the models of ac­culturation and non-violent assimilation are both operational in Norway. There are sporadic expressions of nationalism and voluntary segregation. We conclude that, despite a unified approach to ethnic policy and despite Norway’s political and legal achievements in the pro­tection of indigenous peoples’ rights, the country’s government carries out a differentiated ‘hybrid’ ethnic policy towards ethnic groups living on its territory. The growing infighting between the right and the left parties in the Storting translates into unpopular and spur-of-the-moment political decisions as regards inter-ethnic relations.