Modern cell phones may contribute to both increased integration and transnational literacy. While much research is still about the cell phone usage of settled migrants / refugees, this chapter represents a new trend focusing on people en route to an increasingly unwelcoming Europe. In a situation of permanent precarity, the modern smartphone (and its predecessors, with fewer apps and finesses) becomes a friend when facing dangers, and offers a multitude of functions including maintaining family relations, accessing information about the prospective new homeland, and catering to existential needs of the people underway. This chapter presents a study of how 18 refugees from the Middle East and Afghanistan apply cell phone technology on their way to Europe. The study is based on in-depth interviews while the refugees were still in asylum centres, and reveals how the cell phone caters to existential needs of refugees underway, and contributes to their transnational literacy.
This chapter discusses the relationship between Norwegian schools’ ideals of equality and the way in which school clothes are regulated. Interviews with a teacher in a transitional language learning group for newly arrived immigrant children, as well as with children and parents in immigrant families, are used to discuss whether school clothes inhibit or promote integration. The material shows great willingness of children to dress like the others, as well as understanding that clothing consumption is essential for integration in school, and thus society. At the same time, this is not easily achievable either economically, culturally or practically. Little is done to make Norwegian schools inclusive in this field of consumption.
Increase and diversification of the migrant population can have significant implications for the Norwegian Health Plan’s commitment towards equitable access. Despite the generous nature of the welfare state in Norway and emphasis on culturally sensitive care, it is important to consider the various impediments that some migrants may experience in accessing and consuming healthcare services. We conducted a scoping review aimed to shed light on the extent of healthcare utilization and the socioeconomic barriers experienced by migrants. Our review illustrates that migrants’ overall consumption of different forms of healthcare services is lower than that of the general population but varies between different migrant groups. Financial affordability has been found to influence use of services that more or less fall out of the publicly covered healthcare benefits, such as dental care, physiotherapy and private specialists’ care. However, there is lack of information on how affordability influences use of primary healthcare, somatic specialist care, nursing homes and mental healthcare. While there is evidence of socioeconomic barriers at the patient level for utilization of primary healthcare services, including both pre-migration aspects and factors in the host country, the question of affordability often becomes subordinate in the context of the welfare state. Our review suggests further examination of pro-rich inequity in healthcare services, given the rising income inequality in Norway, and with migrants usually having lower incomes than the rest of the population. Furthermore, research needs to take into account different groups of migrants such as undocumented refugees, migrants awaiting residency and labour migrants in order to examine barriers encountered both in everyday experiences as well as structural barriers to healthcare consumption.
This research shows that the academic discourse of parallel societies is based on recirculation of worries about ethnic segregation in Germany, ignoring the role of the housing market and policy in the question of why immigrants end up living where they live. Knowledge gaps need to be addressed to develop efficient housing policy instruments increasing immigrants’ accessibility to and use of housing-related products.
This chapter deals with a course in personal finances offered to refugees in Norway examining the course organizers’ perceptions of necessary consumer competence and the main theories underpinning these perceptions. The study shows that the course organizers’ perception of necessary knowledge is based on a mix of neo-liberal ideas and protestant work ethic emphasizing refugees’ individual responsibility to become financially independent and ‘realize dreams’ through labour and free yet frugal consumer choices. Implication for research and policy are discussed.
Temporary employment agencies act as mediators between job-seekers with immigrant backgrounds and the labour market. We ask; do the agencies promote or inhibit participation and social inclusion among immigrants on the labour market? The most important finding, based on a literature review and interviews with representatives of agencies in Norway, is that the agencies primarily help immigrants with transition from unemployment to temporary work, secondarily from temporary work to permanent employment.
Everyday consumption plays a key role for including immigrants in capitalist welfare states such as Norway. Packed school lunches are no exception. In Norway, more than half of children in low-income households have an immigrant background. This chapter discusses how immigrant families manage packed school lunches on tight food budgets, based on 28 interviews of non-European immigrant families. The packed lunch reveals how food consumption, ethnicity and financial constraints intersect.
This chapter discusses children’s consumption practices. Participation contributes to social inclusion, particularly of immigrant children. Children define which material items and activities that are necessary for social inclusion. Football is an inclusive activity among boys and girls in Lillehammer. Still, it appears that relatively few girls, although more boys of immigrant origin play organized football. The reasons for this are a combination of cultural, social and financial factors.
Why are immigrants underrepresented in physiotherapy education? Based on fieldwork in a physiotherapy education, I explore how immigrants' understanding of body can affect their study choices. The study indicates that physiotherapy education expects a ‘Norwegian’ understanding of the body and that student’s experience of mastering depends on whether they succeed in adapting to this expectation. Other reasons for the underrepresentation of immigrants in the physiotherapy program are also discussed.
Anita Borch holds positions as head of research, research professor and leader of an internal project entitled ‘Inclusive Consumption’ at Consumption Research Norway (SIFO) at OsloMet. Her scientific publications since 1994 cover a range of different consumer-related subjects.
Ivan Harsløf is an associate professor at Department of social work, child welfare and social policy, OsloMet. He has co-edited Fattigdommens dynamikk [The dynamics of poverty] (2008) for Scandinavian University Press and Changing Social Risks and Social Policy Responses in the Nordic Welfare States (2013) and Northern European Rehabilitation Services in the Context of Changing Healthcare, Welfare and Labour Market Institutions (2019) for Palgrave Macmillan.
Ingun Grimstad Klepp is a research professor at Consumption Research Norway (SIFO) at OsloMet. Ingun has numerous publications aimed both for the scientific community as well as the general public. They include books, articles, chapters and feature articles in which the cultural, social, technical and practical dimensions of clothes stand central.
Kirsi Laitala is a senior researcher at Consumption Research Norway (SIFO) at OsloMet. Her educational background is in textile engineering and she holds a PhD in Product design. Her main research area is clothing consumption and she uses interdisciplinary research methods that often combine material studies of textiles with consumer studies, and qualitative methods with quantitative surveys.