Noa Ben David (UCL) - 2023-24 Students

Tensions of Silence in the Norwegian Jewish Community. A Socio-Historical Study of Jewish minority integration and reactions to acceptance and rejection in Contemporary Norway

My thesis analyses integration among the Jewish minority in contemporary Norway. I study how Norwegian Jewish identifications were shaped historically, socially, and culturally, considering the community’s collective and individual self-perceptions and relationship with the larger society and other minorities.

The project explores inter-communal dynamics, including the Jewish minority’s position within the larger Lutheran society on their way to secularisation, and their relationship to other national minorities and Jewry outside Norway. The project examines different Jewish perspectives over society’s acceptance, indifference, and rejection, in the form of hostility and discrimination and explores the extent and manner of Jewish reactions to antisemitism, with the purpose of establishing and promoting Jewish life in a multicultural society.

This socio-historical study is the first of its kind, building upon the partial explorations of Jewish life and identifications in Northern Europe and contemporary antisemitism. The project applies methods of oral history conducting qualitative interviews with Norwegian Jews on their experiences. Furthermore, the project applies discourse analysis onto diverse archival source material, including papers after individual actors, community papers, official documents, and press material.

With this project I want to contribute to a wider understanding of Jewish identifications in Europe, revisit the notion of Jewish minority life through the case study of Norway, and provide fresh scholarship to the pioneering field of Scandinavian Jewish studies.

Primary supervisor: Prof François Guesnet

Co-supervisor: Dr Elettra Carbone

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