Minoritizing Processes and Power Relations between Volunteers and Immigrant Participants—An Example from Norway



The voluntary sector is a strong pillar in Norwegian society and has in recent years gained increasing attention as an arena for integration. Though voluntary activities can be valuable door openers for (recently arrived) immigrants, they may, under certain circumstances, contribute to minoritization processes. In this exploratory article, I will investigate social connections and relations between (Norwegian) volunteers and immigrant participants based on a focus group with eight participants involved in a community centre in a Norwegian town through analysing the volunteers’ ideas of how the voluntary sector can contribute to integration processes of immigrants. Special attention will be paid to some of the participants’ behaviour towards the only immigrant participating in the focus group, as this behaviour may reflect minoritizing processes. This article aims to contribute towards a more nuanced picture of what voluntary activities may achieve in terms of integration processes and to bring to light potential risks of creating unequal power relations in the social connections between (Norwegian) volunteers and immigrant participants and facilitating minoritizing processes.


IntegrationVoluntary sectorMinoritizationNordic regionNeed to help
  • Year: 2022
  • Volume: 12 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 21–37
  • DOI: 10.33134/njmr.436
  • Submitted on 25 Apr 2021
  • Accepted on 10 Aug 2021
  • Published on 7 Mar 2022
  • Peer Reviewed