Rojan Ezzati

University of Oslo, Department of Sociology and Social Geography

Rojan Ezzati
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Collective Identities in Post-Terror Norway

In the first few days and weeks after the attacks in Oslo and at Utøya on 22 July 2011, Norwegian society was marked by a particularly evident sense of unity and solidarity. Arguably, the attacks and the ensuing societal responses brought a sense of collectivity, solidarity, and unity to the surface. Values such as democracy, solidarity, and openness were repeatedly referred to as core components of Norwegian identity; values that were perceived to be under attack. Speeches held by central authority figures praised the Norwegian people’s ability to stand united and guard the values that Norwegian society is built on, as exemplified here by the Crown Prince of Norway: ‘After July 22nd we can never again allow ourselves to think that our opinions and beliefs don’t matter. We must go into every day ready to do battle for the free and open society which we hold so dear’ (Crown Prince of Norway, 22.07.11). There were also bottom-up initiatives that highlighted the importance of standing united. One example is what came to be known as the rose marches – initiated by an individual on Facebook, resulting in several hundred thousand people in Oslo marching together and holding roses in sympathy with the victims. On this backdrop, the aim of the project is two-fold. First, it aims to contribute to a better understanding of expressions and notions of collective identities at different levels in the wake of July 22. Second, through the case of post-terror Norway it aims to delve into the underpinnings of societal understandings of collective identities and their significance for development processes of the nation. The study will be carried out using a mixed method approach of news footage analysis, document analysis, and semi-structured interviews. The PhD is part of the project Negotiating values: Collective identities and resilience after 22/7(NECORE), coordinated by PRIO.