Kjersti Fløttum and Øyvind Gjerstad. 2016. “Narratives in climate change discource.” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change. Download article here Abstract

‘Stories’ used to communicate climate change knowledge shape opinions and preferences, and analyzing such narratives can help explain how they are constructed and how they influence us on personal and societal scales. The narrative perspective makes it possible to identify the presence or absence of typical components in a ‘story,’ such as initial situation, complication, reaction(s), resolution, and final situation, and to identify different actors or narrative characters (heroes, villains, victims). This article reviews the notions of narratives and frames, describes narrative analysis generally and more specifically how a text linguistic perspective can benefit from and contribute to the Narrative Policy Framework in narrative analysis. It illustrates how different approaches can be applied as analytical tools to explore the effects of conflicting narratives (frames) on public opinion of and attitudes towards climate change. Applied to various text genres, the analysis identifies different components of the ‘stories,’ at overarching levels of the text as a whole and at microlevels such as sentences. This may have rhetorical implications, as controversial points of view can be hidden from critical assessment through the condensation of narrative components into short expressions. When exposed to conflicting ‘stories,’ people get a diverse picture of climate change, a diversity which may, however, also lead to confusion about how to react. Concerning the narrative characters, recent research indicates that a clear hero role has a large persuasive impact. More experiments testing how people interpret various narratives should be undertaken in an interdisciplinary perspective, combining social science, and linguistic approaches. WIREs Clim Change 2017, 8:e429. doi: 10.1002/wcc.429

Audun Fladmoe, Synne Sætrang, Ivar Eimhjellen, Kari Steen-Johnsen, and Bernard Enjolras. 2016. Nordmenns bidrag i flyktningsituasjonen 2015/2016. Publisher's Version Abstract

Basert på en spørreundersøkelse om frivillig innsats gjennomført før og etter de økte flyktning- og aslylankomstene høsten 2015, ser vi i denne rapporten nærmere på nordmenns bidrag i forbindelse med flyktningsituasjonen. Hvordan ble folk rekruttert, hvem bidro og hva gjorde de? Hvilken rolle spilte nye, uformelle initiativer sammenlignet med de tradisjonelle organisasjonene? Rapporten viser at om lag én av tre nordmenn bidro, enten med å donere penger, klær, mat og utstyr, eller med frivillig innsats. De aller fleste som bidro var tidligere organisasjonsfrivillige, og det var også en overrepresentasjon av høyt utdannede og personer som stemmer på Rødt, SV, MDG eller Krf. Blant «nye» frivillige (som ikke deltok i organisasjonsfrivillighet i 2014) var kvinner overrepresentert. Selv om nye frivillige initiativ og sosiale medier har fått mye oppmerksomhet, var tradisjonelle frivillige organisasjoner den viktigste kanalen for bidragene. Mer enn halvparten bidro i regi av en frivillig organisasjon, mens til sammen én av fem bidro i regi av et nyopprettet initiativ eller gjennom egenorganisering. Studien understreker hvordan nye og mer uformelle organiseringsformer fremstår som et viktig supplement til de etablerte frivillige organisasjonene. Mens de sistnevnte særlig bidro med innsamling av penger, har nyopprettede initiativ i større grad organisert innsamling og utdeling av klær, mat og utstyr. Omfanget av bidragene viser at det norske sivilsamfunnet har et stort mobiliseringspotensiale i krevende situasjoner.

Sosiale medier er et raskt voksende fenomen som har tiltrukket seg millioner av brukere siden begynnelsen av 2000-tallet. Forskningslitteraturen diskuterer om, og på hvilke måter, offentlige rom og borgerlig kultur har endret seg i vår digitale tidsalder. Det er ulike oppfatninger om hvordan sosiale medier påvirker borgerlig kultur og offentlige rom i form av folks interesse og deltakelse i politikk og deres samfunnsengasjement. Det er også ulike oppfatninger om hvordan internett påvirker demokratiers representativitet. Noen mener at sosiale medier gir nye muligheter for demokrati, i form av engasjement og deltakelse i offentlige rom. Andre bekymrer seg for at nye kommunikasjonsmedier kan føre til mindre motivasjon til å delta i samfunnet.

Denne oppgaven presenterer en kvantitativ studie av sammenhenger mellom bruk av sosiale medier og mulige politiske konsekvenser i form av borgerlig deltakelse. Jeg har undersøkt slike empiriske sammenhenger med data fra norsk medborgerpanel og lineær regresjonsanalyse. Oppgaven har en todelt problemstilling: (1) hvem som bruker sosiale medier, og (2) hvilke konsekvenser sosiale medier har på politisk interesse, politisk deltakelse og samfunnsengasjement. Resultatene indikerer at sosiale medier gir muligheter for mer, heller enn mindre politisk deltakelse og samfunnsengasjement. Resultatene gir ingen indikasjoner på at sosiale medier har negative konsekvenser for politisk engasjement. Derimot indikerer flere resultater at konsekvensene kan være positive.

Nøkkelord: sosiale medier, politisk deltakelse, samfunnsengasjement, borgerlig kultur, offentlige rom

This thesis examines whether public support for a ban on begging in Norway is influenced by negative stereotypes about the Roma minority. In 2005, the ban on begging was abolished in Norway by a unanimous vote in Parliament. Nine years later, however; a new discussion flourished about whether or not the ban on begging should be re-introduced. The change in public debate followed a change in the composition of the population of beggars in Norwegian streetscapes. After the eastward expansion of the European Union, Norway as a member of the European Economic Area experienced a similar increase in poor members of the Roma minority begging on the street, as did most EU-member states. To address the research question, I collected original survey data through the Norwegian Citizen Panel in 2015 (wave 5) as part of a project funded by the EEA and Norway grants entitled "Less Hate More Speech." In the Norwegian Citizen Panel I fielded both standard close-ended survey-questions about negative stereotypes and new open-ended questions, which allowed participants to formulate their thoughts about beggars and the Roma minority in their own words. In analyzing the data, I in part rely on traditional regression analysis, and in part on randomized experiment. The results of this thesis show that public support for a ban on begging in Norway is strongly affected by negative stereotypes toward the Roma minority. These findings are significant on a 99 percent level, and are found to be significant in three different models that implement two different stereotype measurements - one traditional measurement (based on close-ended survey questions) as well as an original measurement (based on open- ended survey questions). This thesis has shown for the first time that widespread support for a ban on begging in contemporary Norway is strongly influenced by negative stereotypes about the Roma minority. This adds to our knowledge both about the consequences of European enlargement for Norway, and additionally to our knowledge about why a ban on begging has been such a controversial and difficult political issue over the past years in Norway.

Erik Knudsen and Magnus Hoem Iversen. 2016. “When Politicians go Native: Consequences of Native Advertising for Citizens’ Trust in Political News.” In ICA. Fukuoka.
Eelco Harteveld and Elisabeth Ivarsflaten. 2016. “Why Women Avoid the Radical Right: Internalized Norms and Party Reputations.” British Journal of Political Science. Find at journal Abstract

Radical Right Parties (RRPs) consistently attract more male than female voters. Puzzlingly, there is no equally consistent gender difference in policy preferences on the main issues of these parties – immigration and minority integration policies. Indeed, in some countries, for instance the UK, women have as restrictive immigration policy preferences as men, but are still less likely to vote for RRPs. This article proposes a novel answer to this gender gap puzzle that emphasizes the normative conflicts about prejudice and discrimination that surround RRPs across Europe. It uses representative survey data to show, for the first time, that women are more likely than men to be motivated to control prejudice, and that this difference in motivations has political consequences. More specifically, the study demonstrates that the higher prevalence of internal motivation to control prejudice among women accounts for the gender gap in voting for RRPs that become trapped in conflicts over discrimination and prejudice. Voting patterns for RPPs that have been able to defuse normative concerns about prejudice, such as the Progress Party currently in government in Norway, are different.

Kjersti Fløttum, Trine Dahl, and Vegard Rivenes. 2016. “Young Norwegians and their views on climate change and the future: findings from a climate concerned and oil-rich nation.” Journal of Youth Studies, 19, 8, Pp. 1128–1143. Find at journal Abstract

Young people represent the future, but little is known about their attitudes towards climate change, one of the most serious issues facing the world today. The purpose of the present study is to contribute with improved and new knowledge of young Norwegians’ understanding of and attitudes towards this issue, with a special focus on perspectives of the future. Of particular interest is the influence of divergent framings of the climate question in Norway, due to conflicting interests between the petroleum industry and climate concern. The young people's voices are elicited through two different surveys undertaken during the fall of 2013, one national (Norwegian Citizen Panel) and one local (School survey conducted among high-school students). The study generated both quantitative and qualitative findings, stemming from closed-ended as well as open-ended questions. The data were handled through a mixed methods approach, combining quantitative and qualitative analyses. The results show that the voices tend to be oriented towards the opinion that Norway has a responsibility to help poor countries as well as a duty to prevent climate change and that the country should reduce its oil production. We further observe that young Norwegians have an optimistic view of the future, based on a pronounced belief in technology and science.

Is more money better than less? Not always. It depends on the situation. If more money for oneself means less money for a stranger, the majority of participants in dictator games choose less money for themselves. But if they really are alone - and thus do not have to share with a stranger - will they always choose to receive more money instead of less? Here, I report results from seven experiments. On average, one-third of a total of 3,351 participants chose to receive less money instead of more. In one experiment even a majority choose to receive less money. In four of the experiments the participants also faced the corresponding dictator experiment where there is an explicit anonymous recipient of the foregone money. There is a high positive correlation between “giving” as a dictator and when alone. This result opens up possibilities for broader interpretations that go beyond social the preference interpretation of giving in the dictator game.

Dag Wollebæk, Synne Sætrang, and Audun Fladmoe. 2015. Betingelser for frivillig innsats: Motivasjon og kontekst. Oslo: Senter for forskning på sivilsamfunn og frivillig sektor. Publisher's Version Abstract

Hva er det som får folk til å delta i frivillig arbeid, hva motiveres frivillige av – og hvorfor slutter de? I denne rapporten presenteres omfattende analyser av betingelser for frivillig innsats, basert på datamateriale samlet inn i perioden 1998-2015.

Resultatene viser for det første at det ikke finnes én universell forklaringsmodell på hvorfor folk driver med frivillig arbeid, men at ulike forklaringer snarere må anses som komplementære. Interesse, indre motivasjon, kostnad-/nyttevurderinger og primærsosialisering er blant faktorene som bidrar til å forklare hvorfor noen blir frivillige og andre ikke.

For det andre understreker resultatene betydningen av å studere frivillig arbeid som en dynamisk prosess. Sosiale nettverk er særlig viktig i rekrutteringsfasen. Motivasjonen for å begynne med frivillig arbeid er ikke nødvendigvis den samme som motivasjonen for å fortsette. Og når man slutter kan det skyldes helt andre grunner enn endret motivasjon – ofte er det livssituasjonen som avgjør.

For det tredje støtter resultatene opp om tidligere forskning som har antydet mer strukturelle endringer i frivilligheten i Norge. Individuelle motivasjonsforklaringer har generelt blitt viktigere over tid, samtidig som båndet mellom frivillige og enkeltorganisasjoner har blitt svakere. Denne tendensen peker i retning av en individualisering av frivilligheten, der betydningen av kollektiv tilhørighet svekkes.

Endre Tvinnereim and Kjersti Fløttum. 2015. “Explaining topic prevalence in answers to open-ended survey questions about climate change.” Nature Climate Change, 5, Pp. 744–747. Publisher's Version Abstract

Citizens’ opinions are crucial for action on climate change, but are, owing to the complexity of the issue, diverse and potentially unformed1. We contribute to the understanding of public views on climate change and to knowledge needed by decision-makers by using a new approach to analyse answers to the open survey question ‘what comes to mind when you hear the words ‘climate change’?’. We apply automated text analysis, specifically structural topic modelling2, which induces distinct topics based on the relative frequencies of the words used in 2,115 responses. From these data, originating from the new, nationally representative Norwegian Citizen Panel, four distinct topics emerge: Weather/Ice, Future/Impact, Money/Consumption and Attribution. We find that Norwegians emphasize societal aspects of climate change more than do respondents in previous US and UK studies3, 4, 5, 6. Furthermore, variables that explain variation in closed questions, such as gender and education, yield different and surprising results when employed to explain variation in what respondents emphasize. Finally, the sharp distinction between scepticism and acceptance of conventional climate science, often seen in previous studies, blurs in many textual responses as scepticism frequently turns into ambivalence.

This study combines insights from the framing and third-person perception literature by exploring whether the third-person perceptual gap are sensitive to frames people receive through the news. As we have limited knowledge regarding whether people perceive some news frames more influential than others, this study focus on the third-person effect regarding episodic and thematic news frames. Through an online representative survey experiment (N=1424), I investigate the effects of valance (negative/positive) and news framing (episodic/thematic) on citizens’ attitudes, as well as on which frames people perceive as most influential on themselves and others. The results show that people’s attitudes are indeed affected by news framing. Moreover, people tend to perceive thematic and episodic news as equally affective for their own attitudes, but episodic news frames as more influential on others. This third-person perceptual gap increases among those exposed to news articles with frames/valance (compared to the control group without stimulus material), but the differences between valance and news framing does not seem to matter.

Dag Wollebæk, Synne Sætrang, and Audun Fladmoe. 2015. Hovedfunn: Betingelser for frivillig innsats:Motivasjon og kontekst. Senter for forskning på sivilsamfunn og frivillig sektor. Publisher's Version Abstract

Folderen oppsummerer rapportens hovedfunn, sortert etter følgende tema:

Praktiske implikasjoner

Bjarte Folkestad, Dag Arne Christiensen, Kristin Strømsnes, and Per Selle. 2015. Hovedfunn: Frivillig innsats i Noreg 1998-2014. Senter for forskning på sivilsamfunn og frivillig sektor. Publisher's Version Abstract

Folderen oppsummerar rapportens hovedfunn, sortert etter følgende tema:

  • Nivå og omfang
  • Organisjonstypar
  • Medlemskap og organisasjonstilknytning
  • Kjenneteikn ved frivillige
Mari Skåra Helliesen. 2015. “In Science We Trust, Through Ideology We Look: Explaining Climate Change Attitudes in Norway.” Department of Comparative Politics. Download from UiB
Sunniva Hagen. 2015. “Inter-gruppe kontakt og verknaden på tillit og toleranse.” University of Bergen, Department of Comparative Politics. Download from UiB Abstract

Auken i etnisk og sosialt mangfald har samstundes auka kontakt mellom etniske grupper, som vidare er venta å auke også i framtida (Sturgis, Brunton-Smith, Read og Allum 2010: 58). Kunnskap om verknadane av inter-gruppe kontakt er difor viktig. Denne masteroppgåva undersøker verknaden av inter-gruppe kontakt i Noreg på individnivå, og kva som skjer når medlemmar frå ulike grupper kjem i kontakt i same geografiske område. Kontakt, i form av samansetning og kontaktkvalitet, blir undersøkt med fokus på ulike utfall som i litteraturen er relatert til mangfald og kontakt. Med bakgrunn i dette vil eg i oppgåva svare på følgjande forskingsspørsmål: Kva verknad har inter-gruppe kontakt på uttrykk for toleranse og tillit i høve utgrupper i Noreg, og varierer verknadane ut frå mengde og type kontakt? Det teoretiske rammeverket har bakgrunn i to motståande teoriar: kontakt- og konfliktteori. Sjølv om desse teoriane ynskjer å forklare det same, effektane av inter-gruppe kontakt, finn dei ulike resultat. Medan kontakttesen viser til at kjennskap verkar positivt på haldningar til utgrupper ettersom det minkar fordommar og aukar tillit, sosial og politisk toleranse, syner konfliktteori negative effektar av inter-gruppe kontakt gjennom auka trusselpersepsjonar (Putnam 2007). For å svare på forskingsspørsmålet nyttast datamateriale frå Norsk medborgarpanel (2013), som blir analysert ved ordna probit-regresjon. Resultata indikerer at inter-gruppe kontakt har ein positive effekt på ulike uttrykk for toleranse når kvaliteten på kontakta er god. Ved positive evalueringar av kontaktsituasjonar, samt gjennom venskapleg kontakt kan uttrykk for toleranse endrast til det betre. Jamvel peikar effektane av samansetning på negative verknader av kontakt. Del innvandrarar i nærområdet har med dette potensiale til å auke trusselpersepsjonar. Dei positive effektane av kontaktkvalitet er likevel det som fører verknaden av inter-gruppe kontakt i oppgåva. Resultata avhenger likevel i ein viss grad av kva uttrykk for tillit og toleranse som vert studert.


Due to the increase in ethnic and social heterogeneity in advanced countries, inter-ethnic group contact has increased in Norway, and is also expected to increase in the future. Even though the effect of intergroup contact has long been a question central to social scientists, understanding intergroup contact is increasingly important to both scientific and policy debates as social changes bring increased diversity (Putnam 2007, Enos 2014: 1). This thesis examines the effects of intergroup contact in Norway at the individual level, and what happens when members from different groups get in contact in the same geographic area. The effects of contact are being studied with regard to a variety of outcomes embedded in the theoretical framework of contact theory and the opposite perspective, conflict theory. Contact theory argues that intergroup contact has the potential of giving positive effects on tolerance and trust towards outgroups. Nevertheless, diversity and intergroup contact are also found to have negative effects by increasing perceptions of threat and conflict. Building on this framework different effects of contact are being studied with regard to different expressions of tolerance and trust: attitudes towards outgroups, motivation to avoid prejudices and generalized trust. The research question will be examined by using data from the Norwegian Citizen Panel (2013), assessed through the use of ordered probit-regression. The results indicate that intergroup contact has positive effects on expressions of tolerance when the quality of the contact is good. In situations where the contact situation is perceived as positive and has a friendship potential" intergroup contact can change expressions of tolerance for the better. However, the compositional effects of contact do not reveal the same results. The compositional effects indicate that having more immigrants living in the neighbourhood have the potential of increasing perceptions of threat and conflict. The positive effects of quality of contact are still driving the effects of intergroup contact in the analysis. Still the effects of intergroup contact depend somewhat on which dependent variable that are being studied.

Sveinung Arnesen and Yvette Peters. 2015. “The Legitimacy of Representation. Selection Procedures and Socio-economic Characteristics of Representatives in Decision-making Processes.” In European Political Science Association Conference. Abstract

Representation is at the core of the democratic process in contemporary democracies. Many scholars have consequently studied the link between citizens and their representatives, and well as between that between citizens’ preferences and policy outcomes. Scholars have aimed to identify the mechanisms under which representation works, i.e. when citizens are indeed reflected in the representative body, and their preferences in the policies that are implemented. However, we know less about what citizens want in terms of the organization of representation. In this paper, we aim to investigate the legitimacy of representation, and to identify the sources of the legitimacy of a public decision. In order to answer this question, we have designed a survey experiment for the Norwegian Citizen Panel in 2014 which allows us to isolate some of such likely sources. More specifically, we examine under which of three conditions citizens are more likely to accept decisions that are not taken by themselves directly, but which are relevant for all citizens. These three conditions are 1) the selection process of the representatives (randomly selected; popularly elected; appointed experts), 2) the composition of the representatives (mirroring the socio-economic characteristics of the population or not, i.e. descriptive representation or not), and 3) the outcome of the decision (according to the respondents preference or not). As such, we aim to contribute to our understanding of the legitimacy of the representative policy-making process. Moreover, we explore the popular evaluation of representation, which further adds to the more ‘objective’ evaluation of matching citizens to representatives, or citizens’ preferences to policy output.

This paper offers an analysis of how attitudes towards public sector organizations in Norway are shaped through a combination of a qualitative case study approach and quantitative survey analysis. We ask a) what is typical of media representations of public welfare organizations; b) how and to what extent such media representations contribute to influence citizens’ attitudes towards the Nordic welfare model; and c) to what extent this dynamic constitutes a challenge to the intangible assets of public sector organizations. The case study illustrates how journalism frames a severe case of state organizational neglect against an individual within the ‘individual against the system’ frame. Moreover, results from the survey reveal that media coverage and media representations is an important factor in fostering negative attitudes towards the welfare services, characterized by reverberating negative narratives and frames. We analyse and discuss these findings through the lens of journalism sociology and framing theory.