The Costly and Demanding

Exploring Solution-Based Othering of “Non-European Immigrants” in Norwegian Policy Recommendations

  • Søren Mosgaard Andreasen UiT Norges arktiske universitet
Emneord (Nøkkelord): immigranter, immigrasjon, othering, integrasjon, løsningsmodeller, NOU-er


This article examines the Norwegian scholarly report titled NOU 2017:2—Integration and Trust: Long-Term Consequences of High Immigration (English translation; chapter 1.1) to unpack how ‘non-European immigrants’ are constructed as an economic and social challenge for the welfare state. Principles from discourse theory (DT) and the conceptual framework of othering are applied to discuss how the designation of this category of people as objects of qualification/integration may serve to reify racialized relations of inferiorized difference between white Norwegian majorities and societal newcomers from the Global South. The author tracks this dynamic to a discourse in which the relationship between the Norwegian state and immigrants from countries outside of Europe is organized as a binary opposition between a vulnerable self and an overwhelming, inherently faceless ‘other’. It is suggested that the othering enabled in the NOU (Norges Offentlige Utredninger) report can be viewed as a specific production of monstrosity: a horror-vision of a failing, unintegrated welfare state that needs safeguarding against abnormal, ‘huge waves’ of immigrants from ‘further south’. The argument is finally presented that the report’s vision of integration, by being coded with the logic of presenting a necessary response to an existential threat to welfare state structures, engenders a precarious form of social distancing that is theorized as solution-based othering.


Søren Mosgaard Andreasen, UiT Norges arktiske universitet

works as a doctoral student at the School of Sports Sciences in Alta, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, and holds an MPhil in Peace and Conflict Transformation. As an independent scholar he has researched the ideological performance of Islamophobic media entrepreneurs and the discursive construction of immigration in and through policy documents. Currently, he is working on a dissertation exploring dimensions of affect, belonging and happiness in place-bound Norwegian nature practices in a context of rapid social change and rising, perceived insecurities about the future. Andreasen is associated with the research groups ‘Diversity and Marginalization’ and ‘Narrating the Postcolonial North’.

Takksigelse: I am very grateful to Holger Pötzsch, Juliane Bockwoldt, Emil Hammar, and Christian Beyer for their insightful editorial comments and advice for the development of my arguments. I am likewise indebted to Matthew Burian for his brilliant suggestions and proofreading. Thank you.


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Hvordan referere
Andreasen, Søren Mosgaard. 2019. «The Costly and Demanding». Nordlit, nr. 42 (november):327–346.