“The new land of opportunity?” Immigrants' political participation and representation in Norway: Exploring the intersecting experiences of immigrants within the realm of Norwegian politics
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- Master theses 
Background: The low conventional political participation of immigrants in Norway, which has continually reflected in relevant statistics, contains grave consequences for the representative democracy and it significantly leads to the underrepresentation of immigrants in politics. Accordingly, few qualitative studies are aimed at providing an in-depth understanding of the lived experiences of immigrants, especially women, within the realm of politics in receiving countries. In this sense, the challenges of immigrants’ political participation are not sufficiently scrutinized through a phenomenological and intersectional analysis of their lived experiences. Methods: Seven in-depth interviews were conducted. Informants were either politicians or political activists with immigrant backgrounds. The thematic analysis was utilized to analyze the data. Findings: Language barriers, the issue of acceptance, and violent practices were reported as obstacles to political participation and representation of immigrant women. In addition, immigrants’ political participation is being shaped by formulation of gender roles, differences in political culture, language abilities, perceptions around their nationality, and the role of the political system in facilitating their participation. Discussion and conclusion: Immigrants are racialized based on the perceptions regarding the notion of ‘cultural differences’ that function as a substitute for race and, therefore, as a category of disadvantage that distinguishes immigrants from the ‘white’ ethnic majority. This process of racialization confines and restricts immigrants’ political agency and political participation. In addition, it is argued that the political agency of immigrant women politicians and political activists is limited as they confront a double bind in navigating their triple roles, while their other axes of identity exacerbate the challenges in their political career. Finally, it is argued that immigrant women, as politicians or political activists, experience intersectional microaggressions extensively and based on their different axes of identity. The study concludes that the racialized formulation of immigrants’ identity is a source of prejudice, discrimination, and exclusionary practices through which they are deterred from the political sphere.
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