Trust, Cultural Health Capital, and Immigrants' Health Care Integration in Norway

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Trust, Cultural Health Capital, and Immigrants' Health Care Integration in Norway;Vol 53, Issue 2, 2019


SAGE Publications

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Trust is a decisive feature of social interactions, transactions, and relationships, yet the implications of trust in integration processes has largely escaped sociological inquiry. Based on interviews and focus group discussions with Somali immigrants in Norway, this article examines trust in the context of health care integration. Using empirical examples from a birth-clinic, the MMR-vaccine, and everyday consultancy, the study highlights that the relationship between Somalis and Norwegian health care providers is characterized by a pervasive, mutual unfamiliarity. This unfamiliarity translates to a reliance on selected Norwegian-Somalis who by commanding two health care cultures can engage as bridge-builders to negotiate associated barriers. The article argues that the combination of immigrant background and formal health knowledge constitutes a type of cultural health capital. Although tapping into this capital extends the health care system and enhances Somalis’ ability to invest trust and benefit from entitlements, a shared background is not synonymous with trust.




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