Challenges for diversity management in Norway : the mistrust within the Somali community towards the child welfare system

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Nesheim, Laila Elisabeth
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The objective of this thesis is to increase the understanding of some challenges contemporary Norwegian society faces in diversity management by examining the interaction and dynamics between Somalis and the child welfare system (CWS). Mistrust and tensions dominate many Somalis relationship to the institution, the root causes and consequences of this situation are still unexplored. This thesis seeks to critically review some of the possible root causes by applying a twofold approach thereby allowing for a “broad sweep” exploration on both a macro and micro level. It questions if the causes for mistrust can be found on multiple levels in society. Is there incoherence in policies on a structural level that can have implications for their implementation, and cause a pos- sible discrepancy, posing challenges regarding the interpretation of the principle of equality and when one should recognize diversity? Will these dilemmas furthermore influence the practice of the institutions such as the CWS? It argues that the impact of integration policies on CWS is under-researched, and is possibly greater than one envisages. Secondly it questions if the mistrust can be caused by the use of a rhetoric that emphasises cultural values. The study suggests that while the cause for mistrust is multiple and complex, a combination of incoherence in diversity management on a policy level and the use of a discourse that emphasises cultural values builds boundaries creating categorisations that limit our identities and lead to exclusion and ultimately a mistrust between the actors
Second semester University: University of Deusto, Bilbao.
children, immigrants, multiculturalism, social integration, Somalis, Norway