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Projects (Civil Society)

Conditions and impacts of welfare mix. Comparative analysis of policy making,public discourse and service quality

Schedule: 2015-2019
Employer: Forskningsrådet

Project Background

The fundament of European welfare societies is to give the whole population high quality services in health, care, and education. This can be obtained in a number of ways, and a core question is if the public, nonprofit organizations or for-profit firms provide the services. The different providers have different strengths, and the composition of providers, the welfare mix, is therefore crucial for the quality of the services provided to the public.

The population is becoming more diverse and has higher expectations. It is a challenge for the providers to offer good services to a population with increasing religious, cultural, and economic diversity. A possible solution is to promote active citizenship where the users are empowered to influence the content and of the service.

Moreover, the states need to mobilize the resources available from civil society, local communities, and individuals. One way to obtain this is through policies that create the best possible welfare mix in order to spur active citizenship.

Project Approach

It is within this context the project takes on the following questions:

1) How is the welfare mix in Europe changing? We investigate this by analyzing the experiences from Norway with a Scandinavian welfare model, Germany with a corporative model, and United Kingdom with a liberal model.

2) A new EU directive for public procurement will be implemented in the EU and EEC countries in 2016. What room for maneuver do the states have to adopt the implementation to national policy goals? We investigate this by looking at how policy makers and stakeholders in the three countries differently approach the directive.

3) How do the users experience the differences between public, for-profit, and nonprofit providers? We investigate this through a survey to the service users in Norwegian municipalities.

Further information:

Researchers: Karl Henrik Sivesind, Signe Bock Segaard, Håkon Solbu Trætteberg, Annette Zimmer, Joachim Benedikt Pahl, Jeremy Kendall, Nadia Brookes

The state of freedom of speech in Norway 2015-2017

Schedule: April 2015-may 2017
Employer: Fritt Ord



Project Background

This study is a continuation of a broader project called The state of freedom of speech in Norway – the Freedom of expression foundation’s monitor project, which was carried out by Institute for Social Research (ISF), in cooperation with IMK, FAFO, TNS Gallup and lawyer Jon Wessel-Aas, in 2013-2014.

In the first round of the project, we addressed the issue of freedom of speech from a variety of perspectives, focusing on the preconditions of freedom of speech, freedom of speech in light of multiculturalism, digitalization and shifting media structures, security, control and surveillance and the terms of freedom of speech in the labour market. In this second round of the project we will explore more in depth the dynamics of public debate, focusing on the key actors in defining public discussions and well as on the normative processes regulating which opinions and ‘voices’ are expressed in the public and which are silenced.

Project Approach

The project has three parts: First, we will investigate whether Norwegian journalists and the general Norwegian public’s attitudes toward freedom of speech have changed in light of the terror attacks in Paris and Copenhagen in 2015.  Second, we will study the development in media discussions about religion, migration and freedom of speech in the period from the cartoon debate in 2006 to today, paying particular attention to the opinions expressed by editors and journalists. Third, we will focus on three groups that are particularly exposed to critique and harassment in public debates; politicians, ethnic and religious minorities and right-wing opponents of migration and Islam.

The project is conducted in cooperation with Professor Terje Rasmussen and Dr. Terje Colbjørnsen at the University of Oslo and Professor Hallvard Moe at the University of Bergen.

Media Coverage

Video: From the conference "The Fate of Freedom of Expression in Liberal Democracies", Kari Steen-Johnsen, October 2015, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

Researchers: Arnfinn H. Midtbøen, Kari Steen-Johnsen, Bernard Enjolras, Kjersti Thorbjørnsrud, Audun Fladmoe, Synne Sætrang, Terje Rasmussen, Terje Colbjørnsen, Hallvard Moe, Karoline Ihlebæk, Ingrid Endresen Thorseth, Marjan Nadim

Domestic violence in families of majority and minority background: Similarity and difference

Schedule: 2014-2019
Employer: Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet

The project is one of nine projects in The Domestic Violence Research Program which is a five year program at Norwegian Social Research – NOVA at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, financed by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security. For more information about the program, see here.

This project will study similarities and differences between domestic violence in ethnic minority and majority families, with a special focus on so called honour based violence. The analysis will primarily be based on existing data and data collected in other parts of the program, including survey data, qualitative interviews and legal documents.

Researchers: Anja Bredal

A process evaluation of the Karin model pilot, a coordinated approach to victims of domestic violence

Schedule: 2014-2019
Employer: Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet

This is a process evaluation of a pilot project at Stovner police station in Oslo aiming at more coordinated services toward victims of violence in close relations. A Norwegian version of the Swedish so called Karin-model will consist of police personnel including domestic violence analysts and investigators as well as social service personnel. The overall aim is to offer better, more holistic and coordinated services to adult female and male victims of interpersonal violence. The study will be based on survey data and qualitative interviews.

It is one of nine projects in The Domestic Violence Research Program which is a five year program at Norwegian Social Research – NOVA at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, financed by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security. For more information about the Research Program, see here.  

Researchers: Anja Bredal

Domestic violence: The changing role of NGOs

Schedule: 2014-2019
Employer: Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet

Violence in close relations has to an increasing extent become a responsibility of public authorities and agencies. This project studies the changing roles of NGOs in this policy and service area. The project is one of nine projects in The Domestic Violence Research Program which is a five year program at Norwegian Social Research – NOVA at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, financed by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security. More information about the Reserach Program, see here

Researchers: Anja Bredal

Disruption, Social Capital and Resilience

Schedule: 2015-2018
Employer: Norges forskningsråd

Other publications:

Haug, Marius (2016), Master's Thesis (Norwegian): "Kollektivt minne, kortvarig virkning? Tillit i Norge etter terrorangrepet 22. juli 2011"


Photo: Colourbox.

The overall aim of the project is to examine how disruptive action aimed at doing harm and create fear influence the social capital and resilience of societies. The consequences of the terrorist attack on the 22nd of July 2011 are at the core of the project, but great emphasis is also placed on comparing experiences and consequences of disruptive events in different countries, more specifically in the US, Spain, France and Finland.

Deliberate and malicious disruptive actions such as terror can affect stocks of social capital. These effects play out differently in the short and long term and vary between contexts. Such disruptive action may enhance a sense of risk, worry and increased awareness and lead to political consequences such as decreased out group trust and political polarization.

By comparing five different societies, with different historical backgrounds and different experiences with terrorism, the project seeks to shed light on which factors are of importance in shaping societal reactions to disruptive events. If an enhanced sense of fear and awareness persists over time after a terrorist attack, this may influence social capital in society, in other words, networks and norms of collaboration. At the same time, the prevalence of social capital in a population can strengthen a society's resilience, for example by curbing fear and improving conditions for mass mobilizations in the aftermath of shocks.

Milestones in the project

● Flash surveys after the attacks in Paris and Nice, 2015/2016

When this project was first designed, we added the possibility of carrying out flash surveys in the aftermath of terrorist events, in the case that such events would occur in Europe or the US during the project period. After the Paris attacks in November 2015 we decided to do a comparative survey on fear of terrorism, trust and political reactions in our four countries, also including France.

Preliminary analyses show that levels of fear were considerably lower in Norway and Finland than in the three other countries right after the attacks, and that the populations in France, but also in Spain and the US expressed stronger reactions to the events. A set of comparative articles are now being developed based on these data, on the relationship between use of social media during the attacks and fear, on fear and attitudes towards different aspects of immigration policies and on the occurrence of online hate speech in this period.

After the Nice attack in July 2016 we also carried out a short survey in France. This survey will enable us to study changes in trust and fear in the period from the Paris attacks on and also, to discuss the consequences of being exposed to repeated terrorist attacks.

● Focus group interviews in Norway, spring 2016

In order to delve more deeply into people’s experience of the danger of terrorism and what terrorism might potentially do to society, we carried out five focus group interviews in Norway, with participant in different age groups and with a Muslim and non-Muslim background. Among the themes discussed was the experience of 22nd of July and of the current danger of terrorism. Based on these interviews we will write papers about how different groups understand and interpret terrorism and about what conditions resilience.

● Comparative survey, December 2016

In December we are carrying out a new wave of surveys in the five countries, which will also be useful for studying changes over time, and for evaluating the contextual factors that are of importance in shaping the responses to terrorism in different societies. In this survey we also examine how respondents react to different forms of terrorism, both right wing and ISIS-related.

Media Coverage

Norway: Five years after Breivik killings, Kari Steen-Johnsen, 22.07.16, in Deutsche Welle

External Researchers

Relevant publications

Wollebæk, Dag, Steen-Johnsen, Kari and Enjolras, Bernard. 2013. “Rallying Without Fear. Political Consequences of Terror in a High Trust Society”, in Sinclar, Samuel J. and Antonius, Daniel. The Political Consequences of Terror. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Wollebæk, Dag, Enjolras, Bernard, Steen-Johnsen, Kari and Ødegård, Guro (2012). "After Utøya: How a High-Trust Society Reacts to Terror—Trust and Civic Engagement in the Aftermath of July 22". Political Science & Politics. 45 (1): 32-37

See also:

Researchers: Kari Steen-Johnsen, Bernard Enjolras, Marte Winsvold, Øyvind Bugge Solheim, Shana Gadarian, Atte Oksanen, Francisco Herreros, Dag Wollebæk (i permisjon)

The Contribution of the Third Sector to Europe’s Socio-economic Development

Schedule: 1.Jan 2014-1.Jan 2017
Employer: EUs 7. rammeprogram

This research project is part of EU’s seventh framework program  (FP7-SSH-2013-2), and its main objective is to create knowledge that will further advance the contributions that the Third Sector and volunteering can make to the socio-economic development of Europe.

With the economic crisis in Europe and enormous pressures on governmental budgets there is now a great need to further our understanding of the potential contributions of the Third Sector. There is a need for a clearer understanding of its scope and scale, its existing and potential impact, and the barriers to its full contribution, all of which are factors that will be investigated in this project. Building on previous work, the project seeks to:

1. Clarify the concept of the third sector in its European manifestations. The aim is to formulate a common conceptualize that meets the following criteria:  (1) Sufficient breadth to embrace the full range of entities and activities widely considered to be part of the Third Sector in Europe (2) Sufficient clarity to differentiate this set of organizations and activities from other major types, such as for-profit businesses and units of government (3) operationalizable enough to permit the development of cross-country comparative data (4) and sufficiently consistent with existing European statistical usage.

2. Identify the major contours of the sector; its size, structure, composition, sources of support, and recent trends. 

3. Identify the impacts of the sector; its contributions to European economic development, innovation, citizen well-being, civic engagement, and human development, and to create capabilities to measure these contributions into the future.

4. Identify barriers both internal to organizations and external to them and suggest ways that these barriers might be overcome.

5. Forge a partnership between the research community and the European Third Sector practitioners so that the understanding of the Third Sector generated by this work remains grounded in reality and enjoy sufficient support among key stakeholders to ensure respectful attention from policy makers and sector leaders long after the project is completed.

The project is a collaborative project involving 13 other research institutes in Europe, among them The  Johns Hopkins University in Italy, and has a time frame of 3 years.

Research partners:

  • The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (Italy)
  • Wirtschaftsuniversitat Wien (Austria)
  • University of Kent (United Kingdom)
  • Westfaelische Wilhelms-Universitaet Muenster (Germany)
  • The University of Brimingham (United Kingdom)
  • Stichting katholieke universiteit (Netherlands)
  • SPES (Italy)
  • EMES European Research Network ASBL (Belgium)
  • Centre national de la Recherche Scientifique (France)
  • Universitat de Valencia (Spain)
  • Pravni fakultet Sveucilista u Zagrebu (Croatia)
  • Uniwersytet Warszawski (Poland)
  • Renzo Razzano (Italy).

Voluntary work as training ground for the labor market

Schedule: 2013-2015
Employer: Norges Røde Kors med midler fra Nav

Red Cross Norway, has initiated various voluntary activities the purpose of which is to help immigrant women and disabled persons to acquire qualifications and experiences which may help them enter the ordinary labour market.  One of these activities is a small café located in a center for immigrant women organized by Red Cross, Oslo. In this café women work voluntary some hours each work and learn about the operation of a café. Another activity is a mentor system where selected immigrant women are coached through one year by experienced female managers. A third activity is an arrangement at Red Cross, Tromsø, where disabled persons work voluntary in the Red Cross organization, but financed by NAV. 

In the research project these activities are followed through two years and their effects are discussed.   

Researchers: Trygve Gulbrandsen, Anders Mathisen

The state of freedom of speech in Norway – the Freedom of expression foundation’s monitor project.

Schedule: 2013-2014
Employer: Fritt Ord



Project Background

The Institute for Social Research managed the project together with the Department of Media and Communication (IMK) at the University of Oslo, Fafo, TNS Gallup and lawyer Jon Wessel-Aas to investigate the state of freedom of speech in Norway. The Institute for Social Research managed the project on assignment by the Fritt Ord Foundation.

The project addressed issues concerning the terms of freedom of speech, freedom of speech in light of multiculturalism, digitalization and shifting media structures, security, control and surveillance and the terms of freedom of speech in the labour market.

Project Results

The study is based on both qualitative and quantitative approaches, with a central element being a survey targeted at both the general public and at groups of particular interest to freedom of speech: Ethnic minorities, journalists and cultural workers.

In addition to several research reports, the project was conveyed through multiple platforms, with important arenas being a series of seminars and a webpage (

Researchers: Karoline Ihlebæk, Terje Rasmussen, Liv Hausken, Elisabeth Staksrud, Sissel Trygstad, Jon Rogstad, Roar Hind, Cecilie Kløvstad, Jon Wessel-Aas, Arnfinn H. Midtbøen, Bernard Enjolras

Seminar for Voluntas

Schedule: 2010-2015
Employer: La Fondation Ent. Credit Coopératif
Researchers: Bernard Enjolras