Examining the multiculturalism hypothesis in Norway among Russian-speaking immigrants and ethnic Norwegians
Examining the multiculturalism
hypothesis in Norway among Russian-
speaking immigrants and ethnic
Prof. David Lackland Sam
Bergen University, Norway
Examining the multiculturalism
hypothesis in Norway among
Russian-speaking immigrants and
• Most contemporary societies are multicultural, i.e., the
society is composed of different ethnocultural groups
living side and side
• A major challenge that many multicultural societies face
is harmonious co-existance of the different ethnocultural
• And the need for the members of the ethnocultural
groups feel that they are welcome and belong to the
• Multiculturalism as a concept has different meanings;
one of the meanings relate to policy and the application
of the policy
Multiculturalism as a policy has two main components:
•Cultural diversity is good for the individual members of the
society, and for the society as a whole
•Intercultural contact and participation to promote inclusion
of all people in the larger society is also for the good of the
larger society and for the individual.
• Canada is the first country to have implemented
multiculturalism as policy, and this was in 1971
• The Canadian policy of Multiculturalism was designed to
improve the quality of intercultural relations among all
cultural communities within the plural Canadian society.
• The goal of the policy is to enhance mutual acceptance
among all ethnocultural groups.
Introduction -- Multiculturalism
• This goal is to be approached through three programme
– Cultural component
– Intercultural component
– Communication component
The multiculturalism model
• This cultural component is intended to promote the
security and confidence of all ethnocultural groups
• It to be achieved by providing support to and
encouragement for cultural maintenance and
development among all ethnocultural groups.
• The program is designed to ensure the continuing
cultural diversity of the population over generations.
• This program comes with the “MULTICULTURALISM
• The hypothesis postulates:
– when individuals feel secure in their group’s and
personal place in society (with respect to their cultural
identity and their economic situation), they will be
more accepting of those who differ from themselves:
– and this would lead to greater mutual acceptance.
– Conversely, if they feel culturally, economically or
personally threatened, they will reject others who are
different from themselves.
• This acceptance would entail lower levels of
ethnocentrism and more positive views of
• Berry and Ward (2016) have also reported that dominant
group members who are more accepting of a
multicultural ideology have higher levels of self-esteem
and life satisfaction.
The research question
• To what extent is the multiculturalism hypothesis
applicable in Norway
• Research funded by the Research Council of Norway as
a collaborative study between Estonia and Norway
examining factors that promote successful integration
among Russians-speaking immigrants in the two
• Online survey among 500 ethnic Norwegians and 250
Russian-speaking immigrants in Norwaydata collection
• Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were used to
examine the hypothesis.
• The goal of the analyses was to predict various forms of
ethnocentrism (i.e., In-group feeling; Out-group feeling;
In-group bias; Out-group trust), Multicultural ideology
and psychological adaptation (self-esteem and
satisfaction with life).
• The predictors were Ethnic and National identity; Inter-
group anxiety, and Security.
• Age, gender and economic situation were controlled for
in the analyses
• Demographic effects generally accounted for less than
5% of the explained variance
• The four main predictors contributed an additional 8 to
20 % to the explained variance in the different outcomes
• In Step I, where the demographic variables were entered
into the model, in about half of the instances, the
explained variance was insignificant.
• In some few cases (e.g., life satisfaction), the
demographic variables accounted for over 20% of the
• Nearly all the predictors entered on Step II al, made a
significant contribution to the model
• They also added substantially to the explained variance.
• In the final Step, all the models became significant.
• The predictors varied in their contribution, although there
seems to be some consistent patterns.
• Security was positively related to:
– In-group feelings,
– Outgroup feelings,
– Outgroup trust,
– Multicultural Ideology and
– Life satisfaction
• The more individuals felt secure,
– the more positive were their feelings about their own
group, and about the outgroup,
– more trust in the outgroup,
– more acceptance of multiculturalism,
– and more life satisfaction.
• Both ethnic and national identities were related to
– higher outgroup feelings,
– a higher multicultural ideology score,
– and better satisfaction with life.
• Ethnic identity was related to high in-group bias,
• national identity was related to low in-group bias
• High feelings of security were related to
– high Outgroup feeling,
– high Out-group trust,
– high Multicultural ideology scores and
– better life satisfaction.
• Security was also related to
– low In-group feelings.
• A high Ethnic identity score was related to
– high In-group feelings and
– high In-group bias..
• Inter-group anxiety was negatively related to
– outgroup feeling,
– and life satisfaction among both Russians and
– low Out-group trust and
– high In-group bias
Discussion and conclusions
• The multiculturalism hypothesis to a large extent is
• At least Norwegian government, and in particualr
towards Russians, but hopefully towards all ethnic
groups, trying to work towards the cultural component of
the model should be of great priority
• The presentation has given only one side of the story
• Is it enough to promote only one side of the equation?
• When politicians such as Angela Merkel says that
multiculturalism has failed, obviously she is looking at
only one side
• The social component is equally very important
• The inter-group contact and participatation is also very
• A closing question to Estonians is whether the prompting
the cultural component (and hopefully the other three
components) will be good for the society