Discourses of Cultural Diversity (completed)

The project focuses on stories of migration and on how discourses of cultural diversity and narratives of identity are presented in museums of cultural history.

Cité nationale de l’histoire de l’immigration – Permanent utstilling – Repères. Foto: Saphinaz Amal Naguib

About the project

All migration, whether voluntary or forced, is tied to life histories and to accounts of journeys, departures, arrivals and processes of settling down. In museums these stories are often structured according to the collective and individual memories of the various migrant communities and diasporas. They disclose both individual and group identities and rely on written or oral texts, visual and performative arts, crafts and skills and on material objects.

The project draws upon the biographies of the things on display to investigate narratives of identity and the ways they are retold and visualized in museums of cultural history in Norway and other Western European countries. It analyzes how exhibitions play on the combination of emotions and intimacy as well as on silence and the non-said to convey perceptions of identity and belongingness.

How the stories told convey many-layered meaning to the notion of citizenship as well as they disclose various strategies of integration and exclusion in plural societies.


The aim of the project is to generate new knowledge of how narratives of migrant lives bring forth new understandings of cultural diversity and identity in plural societies.


The project is part of the wider research Language, culture and identity in migrant narratives funded by the Norwegian Research Council (2008-2011) and administered by the Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies, University of Oslo.

Published May 3, 2010 10:48 AM - Last modified May 7, 2014 10:34 AM