Immigrant organisations as schools of bureaucracy


Publication date


Series/Report no




Document type


This article analyses the way Norwegian authorities facilitate and expect immigrant organisations to serve as schools of democracy – and to what extent there are elements of bureaucratic schooling. Moreover, it examines how immigrant organisations’ adaptation to these expectations can be understood as an adaptation to an administrative culture. The article concludes that adaptation to democratic ideals is emphasised in the political rhetoric, while in practice street-level bureaucrats educate members of immigrant organisations in how to establish and run a formal, hierarchical, rule-based and impersonal organisation in Norway. The emphasis on bureaucratic schooling is especially relevant in a Nordic context, where the voluntary sector functions as a parallel bureaucratic structure to the government administration. Most immigrant organisations formulate written statutes the way the authorities expect of them and in accordance with these statutes they construct their own democratic and bureaucratically structured organisations. By formulating their statutes, the immigrant organisations are socialised into the Norwegian administrative culture.


Permanent URL (for citation purposes)