Norwegians are often described as conspicuously modest and equality oriented. From this point of view, the Norwegian cultural elite is a strange phenomenon. The aim of this study is to explore peoples ideas about the cultural elite, not its actual existence, behavior or attitudes. To what degree, how and with what rhetorical potential is the concept cultural elite used in Norwegian public debate? The data consists of 36 newspapers from the last three decades. The material is linked to a discussion of signs and myths. A central finding is that there exists a clear opinion, a myth, about the cultural elite, and that this plays a steadily increasing role in public debate. Concerning its position, the mythic cultural elite fits well with Pierre Bourdieus theory about social space, originally developed in France. However, the treatment the alledgedly cultural elite receives in the media demonstrates differences between France and Norway: While in France the cultural elite is traditionally elevated and admired, there is little or no respect for the cultural elite in Norway. Over time there is a change in direction of more negative use of the concept cultural elite in Norwegian newspapers: The contempt for it seems to have increased. The cultural elite is a suitable target for attack, not least politically. When no one in particular feels hit by an attack, no one will defend the cultural elite, and the attack is left uncountered.
The article presents some theoretical concepts for research on the integration of vocational education and training in a unified Norwegian educational system. This integration may be understood in the light of structural processes significant for modern educational systems, identified as unification, systematisation, differentiation and specialisation. These processes represent a special dynamic, it is argued, which stands in a somewhat contradictory relation to the traditional formation of occupational identity and craftsmanship within VET and to the traditional autonomy of VET based on the organisations of the working life. The significant role of making the educational content and training procedures in writing is also discussed, pointing at the effect of strengthening formal orientation and administrative rules. Finally the necessity of understanding the VET in the light of changes within the working life is underlined. Training must be understood as part of the social construction of skilled workers at the labour market.