Fortellinger om 1814: Forestillingen om det eksepsjonelle norske demokrati
The focus of this article is an educational encounter during a social science project at a junior high school in Norway. The topic of the school project was the Norwegian Constitution of 1814. In this Constitution, many of the ideas of the French and American revolutions had been adopted, e.g. popular sovereignty and the separation of power. Nevertheless, the Constitution also reflected intolerant ideas, especially with regards to the so-called Jews-paragraph, whereby Protestantism was proclaimed, and Jews were excluded from the Norwegian state. In the educational encounter analyzed in this article, I argue that the notion of an exceptional Norwegian democracy affects the narrative constructed about the Norwegian Constitution. This notion serves to exclude the Jews-paragraph from the narrative. The postcolonial concept of Nordic exceptionalism constitutes an important theoretical framework for the analyses of the educational encounter. In the contemporary Norwegian society, immigration regulation by laws again has relevance. This article, therefore, discusses the critical classroom conversations thematizing the Jews-paragraph could have led to, by pointing at different historical and present-day topics of relevance. The discussion implicates the importance of recognizing the role and impact state-led control, violations and exclusion of minorities have in Norwegian history. Not recognizing these aspects of history can lead to the production and reproduction of idealized and exceptional national narratives.
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