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Why is Norway Outside the European Union?

Norwegian National Identity and the Question of European Integration

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Gamze Tanil

This book introduces identity politics into the analysis of international relations. Through the usage of identification approaches, combined with an extensive presentation of the specific features of Norwegian nation-building, it offers a lucid account of how Norway’s history and culture shape the prism through which many Norwegians view the merits of their country’s relations with the emerging European Union.

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Chapter 4: The Functioning of the Norwegian National Identity Dynamic

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71 Chapter 4: Functioning of the Norwegian National Identity Dynamic 1. Introduction Primarily, this research argues that an analysis of foreign policy choices does not imply an analysis of material facts only, but also the human interpretation (social construction) of these material conditions in any national context. For this reason, it takes an identity politics route by bringing together middle-ground social constructivist approach16, which explains the impact of the identities and interests on the foreign policy choices, and the individual psychology approach, the ‘national identity dynamic’17, which seeks to answer questions as ‘Why large groups of people act together in certain political situations?’, ‘How do masses mobilize for or against certain foreign policy decisions?’, ‘Is there a method for explicating the relationship between the mass attitudes and actual foreign policy decisions?’. To remind it again, it is argued in this research that national identity describes (1) the condition in which a mass of people have made the same identification with national symbols –have internalized the symbols of the nation-, and (2) the possible mass mobilization of this people to act as one psychological group when there is a threat to, or the possibility of enhancement of, these symbols of national identity (Bloom 1990). Chapter 3 analyzed the first part of this theoretical as- sumption by assessing the construction of the Norwegian national identity in the 19th century through ‘construction’ and ‘internalization’ of the symbols of ‘the nation’. On this background, Chapter 4 analyzes the second part of...

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