MEVIT4323 – Nordic Immigration Debates from a Comparative Perspective

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

In this course, we will critically investigate how we, as individuals, communities and societies, talk about immigration. In doing so, we will also go beyond the level of debates and discourse, and address the important ways in which what we talk about, and how we talk about it, shapes our social reality. We will begin with well-known theoretical perspectives on the public sphere, media framing and agenda setting, and partisanship and political discourse, which will provide an overview of the dominant ways in which media scholarship views and understands immigration debates. From there, we will explore the limitations of these approaches, and explore immigration debates from the ground up. In doing so, we will pay particular attention to perspectives that are excluded from dominant debates, such as the lived experiences of migrants living in contemporary Western societies. Throughout the course, these more theoretical discussions will be interwoven with methodological discussions about the benefits and limitations of different methodological approaches, when addressing contentious topics such as immigration in contemporary society. We will also critically reflect on the ethical and normative position of the researcher in studying issues related to racism, discrimination and ‘othering’ practices.

Each week, students will engage with a range of provided online materials, after which they will work on tutorial tasks in their online teams. This course requires students to critically engage with current issues, and to actively participate in group and debate activities. Throughout the course, students will work on a comparative research project, in which they will get first-hand experience about the implications of particular methodological choices and their own positioning as a media researcher.

Learning outcome

After following this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand and critically reflect on theoretical perspectives on immigration debates in democratic societies, including the public sphere, media framing and agenda setting, and political discourse, as well as social discourses, narratives and storytelling.
  • Critically compare, negotiate and reflect on methodological choices in studying issues related to immigration, paying particular attention to issues of ethics, normativity and relative vulnerability of groups under study.
  • Understand and reflect on the use of comparative research in understanding immigration debates in different contemporary contexts.
  • Apply theoretical and methodological tools presented in the course in the execution of a comparative research project on immigration debates in contemporary society.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


This course is taught asynchronously and digitally, in weekly three-hour online tutorial sessions. Although this is an asynchronous course, students are expected to work on their tutorial tasks in teams during the scheduled tutorial session, in which they can expect immediate answers from their tutorial teachers. Prior to this tutorial session, students are expected to engage with the provided online materials and required readings of each week. In addition, students will complete 3-4 small weekly tasks in their tutorial groups, which serve as a replacement of ‘offline’ attendance at physical tutorial sessions. These tasks are not graded and do not have to be of ‘perfect’ quality, but must be completed before the set deadline in order for students to be listed as ‘attending’ that week. Examples of mandatory tasks are active individual participation in the online Q&A about course literature, making a poster presentation, and preparing and recording a short debate. Each tutorial task will be accompanied with clear online instructions, and students can contact their lecturer for clarification during set tutorial hours. In addition to these tutorial activities, students are expected to participate actively throughout the course by working on their research project, both independently and in groups.

This course has three mandatory activities:

1. A ‘pass’ for the individual research proposal

2. A ‘pass’ for the group presentation

3. Attendance of 6 out of the first 8 weeks of the course (which, as described above, entails completion of all weekly tutorial tasks before the deadline)

Mandatory activities and absence:

It is the student's own responsibility to stay informed about the obligatory activities, comply with the requirements for attendance and to uphold deadlines. Everyone must familiarize themselves with the rules concerning obligatory activities at the Faculty of Humanities. If you get ill or have other valid reasons for being absent from obligatory activities, you must apply for a leave of absence as soon as possible and no later than the day of absence or the deadline. Documentation of the absence must be sent to the institute within three working days. 

You must fulfill all the mandatory requirement to be able to take the exam in this course.


Group paper

Final group paper (between 10-20 standard pages, excl. references, depending on the size of the group.)

Final examination of this course is in the form of a group research proposal focusing on one chosen aspect of immigration debates, hereby comparing one Nordic country with a country outside of the Nordic context. The final assignment should include a clear research question, comparative literature review and proposed methodological approach, reflections on research ethics and the positioning of the researcher, and a student reflection on their teamwork and planning of the work

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

A term paper or equivalent that is passed may not be resubmitted in revised form.

If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Periodic evaluation spring 2018 (partly in Norwegian)

Facts about this course






Autumn 2020

The course will not be offered autumn 2021


Autumn 2020

The course will not be offered autumn 2021

Teaching language