Integration and Social Cohesion through Activation: Asian Immigrant Women in the Norwegian Labor Market


Publication date



OsloMet - Storbyuniversitetet

Document type


Master i International Social Welfare and Health Policy


This thesis aims to explore and gain in-depth insights into the everyday lives of six Asian immigrant women based on their perspectives. Everyday life perspectives provide a new way of understanding one own's personal stories based on the language of those studied. It offers a novel approach to looking at various issues, and problems often dismissed, neglected or overlooked. It also provides a means of understanding the wider world at large. This thesis is based on semi-structured interviews with six former participants of work activation programs implemented by the Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi) and the Norwegian and Welfare Organization (NAV) in Oslo, Norway. In this thesis, I make use of the theory of social cohesion to explore the daily lives of six informants and whether work activation programs have an impact on strengthening their feelings of cohesion as seen through its three essential dimensions: social inclusion, social capital, and social mobility. This thesis acknowledges that there are various challenges and facilitators experienced by the informants in order to improve their labor market participation and to promote social cohesion. It is illustrated by how they emphasized in their narratives, beginning from their entry into the Norwegian society, their struggles over how to take care of their families, their efforts to learn the Norwegian language, establish new social networks, and to find employment. Based on the results, I argue that the six informants I spoke with described low integration and social cohesion in the Norwegian labor market and society. It is exemplified by how the informants highlighted what is taking place within their everyday lives and how this affects their opportunities to become active and integrated into the labor market. Hence, the policy/measure should be more detail oriented. It should give more focus on how to address the individual needs of the participants. The policy should focus on the provision of a free and intensive Norwegian language course that is accessible to everyone. Likewise, the policy should consider the qualifications and competencies of the participants and make use of them. Lastly, it should strongly encourage employers to eliminate skepticism about hiring immigrants and allow immigrants to work and make use of their educational background, competencies, and skills.




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