Challenges to Equality in the Welfare State: The Norwegian Case of Drammen
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Integration of ethnic and cultural minorities and social equality are two important goals in Norwegian public policies. The school system is a major institution for inculcating values and identities and for developing competencies in children that will later be expected of them as adult citizens. Studies of children’s educational achievements indicate that parental resources and social class are the two most significant predictors of such processes and outcomes. This article presents a study of how a group of people of Turkish background in a middle-sized Norwegian town chose to try to compensate for a less-than-favourable family resource situation by organising a homework support programme under the auspices of a Muslim religious organisation that complemented the school curriculum. The programme comprised an identity (cultural and religious) component and a school achievement component. We examine the response to this programme, its combination of components, and the conflict it aroused in the local community. The programme and the responses to it are analysed in terms of theories of equality and related to central values in the Norwegian welfare state.