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Norway, IKEA, and the impersonal. Author’s interviews reveal grass is not always greener. According to dagbladet.no, Professor Nina Witoszek at Oslo University delves in to how foreigners perceive Norway. In her new book “The best country in the world” (“Verdens beste land”), she writes that

norway, norwegian, woods, mountain, cabin, immigrant, diy, nina, witoszek, oslo, university, ikea



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Norway, IKEA, and the impersonal

Published on Wednesday, 13th May, 2009 at 00:39 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

Author’s interviews reveal grass is not always greener.

IKEA
IKEA
Photo: Michael Sandelson


According to dagbladet.no, Professor Nina Witoszek at Oslo University delves in to how foreigners perceive Norway.

In her new book “The best country in the world” (“Verdens beste land”), she writes that

“Most were obsessed with Norway.”

Aprroximately 30 immigrants from different countries such as Vietnam, Lebanon, Eritrea, Poland, China, and Thailand were interview by her several years ago.

No service

However, an Indian student is quoted as saying that Norway can be compared with IKEA.

“IKEA is cheap, simple, natural, egalitarian, and practical...But IKEA also represents the impersonal, unrefined side of Norway. The fact that you have to put the furniture together yourself, for example, is horribly Norwegian.”

He criticises the D.I.Y. culture prevalent in the country.

“It’s just like when you have to bring all of your wine and food to parties, and your own packed lunch.”

Tendency to scuttle away

She goes on to write about the interviewees’ views of the people too.

“Norwegians are shy, you understand. They are like woodland animals. They run away if you make an odd movement, or if you utter a strange word that they are not used to” she quotes a man from Gambia as saying.

Connection to Nature

Modern Norwegian mountain cabins are far removed from their original back-to-nature predecessor’s idealism – which, for example, meant outside lavatories, no running water, or no electricity. An Argentine woman observes that Norwegians use Nature in a therapeutic way.

“In most countries, one solves problems by confronting and communicating them to others...I see many Norwegians go in to the woods to cure a neurosis, or to solve a problem. They come back from the woods with a Buddha-like smile and the so-called energy, but three days later most are back to square one; helpless and even more dejected than before.”

Praise

But Witoszek herself has some very positive things to say, especially in relation to where she originally comes from.

“Norway was built by wise men, undeniably with a combination of intelligence and luck. In Poland, my home country, the rebellious nation-builders were both arrogant and unlucky, certainly up until Solidarnosk. In Norway people have always believed more in reform than in bloodletting for solving problems.”



Published on Wednesday, 13th May, 2009 at 00:39 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

This post has the following tags: norway, norwegian, woods, mountain, cabin, immigrant, diy, nina, witoszek, oslo, university, ikea.





  
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