AS AMERICANS, we’re roaring along with our own immigration debate—so why visit Norway?
Sometimes it helps in our own struggles to take a look at how others in countries like France, Britain and Norway see these issues. So, here are two opposing voices in Norway, from a blog that quotes the English translation of articles published on the online site of a large Norwegian newspaper. (Here’s a link to read more on that site, if you wish.)
Steinar Lem, an environmentalist, worries that immigration imperils Norwegian values. “Norwegian culture is threatened. During the next fifty years we will see major changes in line with our ever-larger non-Norwegian population. Our values will be put under strong pressure. Oslo will soon have a majority of non-Western background, and in due course the same could happen to the whole country during this century. Most non-Westerners have a Muslim background. The consequences will be dramatic.”
In response, Thomas Hylland-Ericksen, a professor of social anthropology, argues that Norwegian culture is strong and not at risk. “When people come here with the old gender roles and practice old-fashioned ways of raising children,” he said, “of course, we try to influence them to become more like ourselves.”
Immigration actually strengthens the culture, he says: “These transnational movements back and forth contribute to the spread of Norwegian culture and make it larger.”
Today, about 4.8 million people live in Norway. Over 90% are Norwegian or Sámi. Sámi are the indigenous people of Scandinavia—Norway has the largest number, at most about 100,000 people.
What do you think of these arguments?
Which one makes more sense to you?
What does the debate tell us about American values and our own debate on immigration?
Please, add a Comment, even if it’s brief.
Or, if you prefer, drop us a quick Email.