Janet Connor

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Chicago, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9402

Approve Date

April 18, 2017

Project Title

Connor, Janet E., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Mobilizing 'Strangers' For Political Change in Oslo, Norway,' supervised by Dr. Susan Gal

JANET E. CONNOR, then a graduate student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received funding in April 2017 to aid research on ‘Mobilizing ‘Strangers’ for Political Change in Oslo, Norway,’ supervised by Dr. Susan Gal. At a time when across much of the world, and especially in Europe, anti-immigrant discourses proliferate and governments move towards the right, this project looked at a multicultural neighborhood in central Oslo, Norway, where residents from many backgrounds are trying to show that living together across differences is possible. Based on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork, this project explored how residents experimented with the relationship between citizen and state, from the previous model where citizens paid taxes to fund state-led welfare services, to a new configuration, where citizens themselves have the expertise to create the most effective public services. While many of the neighbors behind these projects are trying to improve on and create a fairer welfare state, this research also explored how their initiatives were taken up in unintended ways. This includes politicians advocating for neoliberal reforms that place responsibilities on individuals instead of the state, and real estate developers who see the local engagement as a way to sell the neighborhood to young, middle-class Norwegians. This project looks beyond one neighborhood to shed light on many of the issues facing contemporary Europe, including volunteerism and the welfare state, migration and racialization, and urban inequality.