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Europe research

Read below for intriguing accounts about life in Norway and Sweden, Germany and England. See also the following pages for more research in England and Germany.

Definition of Norwegian Immigration

"My own (and therefore the projects) definition of integration is that a person is integrated when he/she possess the linguistic and social skills to act independently (from government initiatives) in the Norwegian society. Meaning that it is the person that is integrated, not his/her culture. ... In this way, the question of whether or not they feel that they have to “give up their religion or ethnic culture” becomes more a question of their own private judgment on the subject rather than the projects mandate." [View source]

Martin O. via LinkedIn discussion on Anthropology of Childhood and Youth Interest Group


This is an interesting Norwegian perspective to immigration which appears to separate the functional ability to fit into society from the emotional and cultural factors. In other words, new citizens are deemed officially 'assimilated' when they speak Norwegian and possess enough social skills to function in government interactions, apply for jobs, and move flexibly in their daily interactions with mainstream Norway. It does not imply conversion to Christianity or adoption of Norwegian social customs. I will look for research exploring the differing effects to be found in the second generation.

life in Sweden

"Whether you're in Linköping, Stockholm, Uppsala, Tranås or any other place in Sweden, children ("barn" in Swedish) are more present and involved publicly than in the States. There are two reasons for this and they are inter-related. First, as a society, Sweden is prepared for the presence of children in more places. Almost all public places are accessible to strollers and welcome the excitement that children bring. Second, and this will make all American mothers wince with "what ifs," the new Swedish mother receives 18 paid months off to care for her newborn and infant child (compared to just four months in the States). This eliminates the need for newborn day care and brings me to the other part of this week's observation of Swedish culture... ...strollers. The phenomenon of strollers in Sweden cannot be understated. To a Swede, "strollers" will seem like a mundane and matter-of-fact topic for a blog entry, but that's just the point. Public places filled with strollers during every season of the year is like air, food, water and "fika" to a Swede. It's always been and always will be, so normal it goes unnoticed. for more, see


"Often, Muslim parents in particular consider the full assimilation of their children into German culture as their biggest worry. They fear a complete cultural and religious alienation and try, for example, to counter this "danger" with an intense education in religious values. It is important to contribute here, that though the process of growing up in liberal societies can bear certain developmental risks for children (against which risks parents try to protect their children through firm and strong religious education), a tight religious group might lower certain risks (abuse of drugs and alcohol, traumatic experiencing of parental divorce etc.) yet raise the probability of other risks (such as rigid personality development and narrow thought autonomy).

The path to less isolation is often encouraged within the political debate via better integration of German day care and schools. The authors say migrant parents' assumptions about 'the typical German way of child-rearing' are often distorted; that they mistakenly misinterpret the German emphasis on raising children to be independent at a young age as 'cold and uncompassionate' and that this rather encourages non-German parents to 'frantically' hold on to their own sometimes partly-dysfunctional traditions." [View source]

Uslucan, Haci-Halil, "Vielfalt der Werte - Vielfalt der Erziehungsstile," fruehe Kindheit, 05 09, p.16

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Talking about children in England

by Kate Fox

"English parents are as proud of their children as parents in any other culture, but you would never know this from the way they talk about them. The modesty rules not only forbid boasting about one's offspring, but specifically prescribe mock-denigration of them. Even the proudest and most doting of English parents must roll their eyes, sigh heavily, and moan to each other about how noisy, tiresome, lazy, hopeless and impossible their children are." But, beware, "many of their derogatory comments about their children are in fact boasts in disguise, or at least highly disengenuous. Moaning about one's child's laziness and unwillingness to do homework indirectly conveys that he or she is bright enough to do well without trying." [View source]

social anthropologist Kate Fox, writing on the English in Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour, pg.361-2.



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