IMER Bergen

PhD Candidate Solveig Moldrheim to defend her Thesis on 21 October

PhD Candidate Solveig Moldrheim a member of the IMER Junior Scholar Network will defend her thesis on 21st October, 2021

Headshot Photo of  Solveig Moldrheim
Solveig Moldrheim
Solveig Moldrheim

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On 21st October 2021, PhD candidate  Solveig Moldrheim will defend her thesis at the University of Bergen with the title  "The power of prejudice".

Surveys show that students with a minority background are bullied more than others, and that school is one of the main arenas for perceived racism. This is paradoxical in view of the school's societal mandate on gender equality and equality. In order to gain more knowledge about prejudice in schools, the Research Council of Norway awarded eight research scholarships in 2017. This dissertation is the result of one of these scholarships. Through interviews with 33 young people, Moldrheim explores prejudice in social interaction. The research project uses history didactic perspectives, and finds that prejudices are stories that are used, more than that they are something each of us has.

The findings show that when prejudice is used, its use depends on known narratives. Some of these we find as basic narratives in textbooks where images of misery and the enemy are reproduced. Prejudices are also brought in as interpretations in everyday life, and do not have to be expressed in order to work. An experience of exclusion can e.g. interpreted into the framework of the outside world meeting you with prejudice. Prejudice is often wrapped up as humor related to well-known stories. Knowledge of these is therefore essential for understanding humor. Humor is a strong social norm that gives high social status and can therefore also be used as resistance to prejudice.

Moldrheim also analyzes prejudice through group-based insults such as the n-word and 'Jew'. The words often change meaning content depending on who uses them. The young people thus communicate not only by virtue of what they say or what they do, but also through who they are and who others perceive that they are. Skin color and religion are examples of markers that lay the groundwork for which stories are evoked, and thus to a large extent form the basis for rules in social practice.

A clear finding is that prejudices are tenacious structures that limit and suppress. Developing a reflective practice against prejudice is about seeing the power in the structures and at the same time acknowledging the power that exists in liberating moments.


About the Candidate

Solveig Moldrheim (b. 1973) is a lecturer with a history degree from the University of Bergen (1999). The doctoral thesis has been carried out at the Department of Archeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion (AHKR), under the project "School as an arena of opportunity", led by Professor Marie von der Lippe. The main supervisor has been Professor Svein Ivar Angell, with Professor Sissel Undheim as co-supervisor. Moldrheim is employed as a teaching manager in the Rafto Foundation.


Trial lecture:  21.10.2021 – 17.00-18.00

Defense: 22.10.2021 – 08.30–12.00

Jusbygget, Auditorium 3, UiB

We all wish Solveig good luck!