Research group


Our worldview marks our everyday lives, relations and understandings about ourselves, each other and the world we live in. It responds to questions such as: Who am I? What is significant to me? How should we interact? Where do I draw the line between 'us' and 'other'? What is of ultimate concern in the contemporary world? In the research group WorldViews, we are interested in exploring and reflecting critically about different set of values, worldviews, perceptions and understandings in the world, and investigate how these affect and are affected by children, youth and families.


Boy looking at a doll's house. Photo
Photo: Marit Ursin

The research group consists of researchers with background in education, sociology, anthropology, and interdisciplinary child and youth research, located at the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning, Department of Sociology and Political Science, and Department of Teacher Education. The researchers engage in ethnographic research with children, youth and families with minority background or in marginalised positions in Norway, Ghana, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile. What they have in common is a genuine interest for social justice as well as a desire to understand and reveal power structures and marginalisation processes in formal and informal contexts. Their research explores, amongst other topics, youth of minority background and their encounter with the Norwegian educational and social welfare system; refugee children's encounter with kindergarten and schools in Norway; Norwegian immigration authorities' imaginations of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers; Sea Sami children's encounter with the majority culture in a historical perspective; Norwegian and Brazilian children's reflections on and experiences of marginalisation and discrimination; and Ghanaian youth's contemporary perspectives and future aspirations.

Overall aims

  • Contribute to increased understanding and critical reflection surrounding social and cultural discourses, understandings and perceptions about childhood, youth, upbringing and family life.
  • Explore children’s, youths’ and families’ encounter with hegemonic, normative and taken-for-granted sets of values, worldviews and knowledge systems.
  • Identify and raise consciousness about different worldviews and epistemologies and explore how the power balance between them is challenges, maintained or reproduced in various contexts.
  • Reveal how children and young people’s everyday lives are shaped by diverse understandings connected to class, ethnicity, gender, generation, and so on.   
  • Examine processes and relations that create, preserve or reduce ‘othering’.
  • Contribute to a perception of the world and its human beings where diversity is valorized and recognized as a resource. 

Projects and publications

Projects and publications

Ongoing research projects

Visualizing youth narratives: Empower Youth, Broaden horizons, Enhance intercultural encounters (ViYouth)

Led by Marit Ursin

There are vital signs that the Norwegian welfare state is facing challenges in terms of inclusion and citizenship, and that global trends of populism are affecting the political climate. Research among ethnic minority youths show that many identify as foreigners even if born in Norway and report of racist encounters in school arenas. Formal education is pivotal in attending to diversity, promoting democracy and tolerance, and reducing social inequality and exclusion. ViYouth is an interdisciplinary, participatory and transnational research project that focuses on how sustainable, inclusive and equitable psychosocial learning environments can be informed by the participation of youth within and across various national and international settings. ViYouth aims to destabilize power hierarchies and dichotomies of Us and the Other and reduce ignorance, polarization, discrimination and xenophobia among youth populations. The primary objective is to enhance transformative learning and critical reflection among diverse youth populations (aged 15 to 16 years) in Norway, the Netherlands, Chile and Brazil. The secondary objective is to develop a dynamic model of inclusive transformative education, focusing on a sense of belonging, global citizenship and interconnectedness. The research design will be developed in collaboration with youth, benefitting from their creativity, interests, multimodal competence and digital arenas of identity work and socializing. It brings youth together to share their experiences and enlighten each other about their identities through artistic self-representations, digital and physical exhibitions, and real-life encounters. As such, ViYouth is a vehicle for intercultural learning and recognition across social, cultural, spatial, lingual and class divides, embracing the diversity of voices, worldviews, reflections and experiences of today’s youth. A pilot of ViYouth is funded by the Faculty of Social and Educational Sciences as a PhD project starting January 2021. In addition, WorldViews has applied for external funding.

Exploring narratives of ethnic minority women in Norwegian academia

Led by Carla C. Ramirez

Based on narrative inquiries with eight female foreign academics working in a Norwegian university, this study applies a posthuman, holistic, and intersectional approach to address how Western, naturalized assumptions of temporality, objectivity, progress, M/Otherhood and Race create fixed notions of how to be ‘a proper academic’ in Norwegian Higher Education. This project has resulted in two articles in review in Journal of Gender and Education, and a special Issue (Education and Grief) in Journal of Philosophy of Education.

Transformative learning in adult education – developing critical capacities and intercultural competence

Led by Carla C. Ramirez.

This pilot study seeks to implement a transformative teaching program for school professionals in adult education. The transformative program deals with contemplative education and transformative learning processes. This pilot aims to develop professional’s critical social engagement, interconnectedness, intercultural competence and social justice. The research design consists of 30 students in adult education undergoing a transformative teaching program using art based and contemplative methods, changing their worldview about self, others and their interconnectedness. Transformative learning is facilitated through processes of critically analyzing underlying premises of their privileges, social positioning and society. Contemplative methods and ‘disorienting dilemmas’ will trigger changes in their frames of reference by critically reflecting on their assumptions and beliefs, consciously creating new ways of defining their worlds and reformulating the meaning of their experience. The project will be conducted in autumn 2021.

“You can’t change everything in one year”. Exploring newly arrived students' encounter with Norwegian schooling

Led by Runa Bostad

This PhD project focuses on migrant youth in upper secondary school, who start in a special class for newly arrived minority students. The aim of the project is to explore how newly arrived students experience the learning environment in an introductory class, and to what extent they feel that their life experiences and various skills count in education. It also explores how teachers relate to students’ skills and life experience, and to what extent they make these experiences relevant when teaching. The project makes use of an ethnographic approach, combining observation and interviews.

Institutionalized care for unaccompanied minor asylum seekers: A case study of the institutionalized frames for care practices in the Norwegian Welfare state

Led by Aurora Sørsveen

This PhD project explores care practices for unaccompanied minor asylum seekers in the Norwegian asylum system and welfare state. By using guardianship as a case, the project seeks to gain new insight into how the welfare state organizes care benefits and care practices that are meant for unaccompanied minor asylum seekers.

Imagining Africa: Ghanaian youths' perceptions and aspirations

Led by Ida Marie Lyså

Dominant portrayals of African childhood and youth in academia and the global media have been argued to follow two particular narratives; one the one side, that of ‘the dark continent’ following a discourse of Afro-pessimism, preoccupied with constraint, adversity and ‘crisis childhoods’ – and on the other, an emphasis on a romanticized narrative, exoticizing ‘indigenous’ and ‘tribal’ childhood experiences. Such dominant narratives tell a certain story about the perceived potentials and possibilities for the African continent – but how do youth in Africa perceive and imagine such potentials and possibilities? This project explores youth's imaginations of their current and future lives, with attention to the link between such imaginations, global narratives, as well as the local or national context with which they engage. A four-month anthropological ethnographic fieldwork was conducted in Accra, Ghana (April-July 2019), using methods such as participant observation, qualitative individual semi-structured interviews, and focus group discussions.

The reproduction of Western supremacy through teaching methods – a blind zone in Norwegian Teacher Education?

Led by Carla Chinga-Ramirez and Kris Kalkman
This study draws on narrative interviews with 16 ethnic minority students, both girls and boys with non-Western background in four upper secondary schools in a region in Norway; two rural and two urban schools. The narratives focus on how students depict the encounter with Norwegian upper secondary school and experience teachers, subjects, teaching methods and classroom organization. This study reveals that Norwegian school professionals are embedded in unconscious and unintentional deficit thinking and Western subjectivation of ethnic minority students, reproducing White supremacy and Othering processes through Westernized teaching methods. This project is work in progress for Journal of Intercultural Education (2021).

School as an arena for everyday integration of students with a refugee background

Led by Kris Kalkman

This project focuses on children and youth with refugee background and their everyday integration, participation in and identification with the school community. The project is a collaboration between the research groups Education Policy, Diversity and Inequality (at the Department of Teacher Education, NTNU) and Worldviews (Department of Education and Lifelong Learning, NTNU).

Inclusive changes in teacher education

Led by Stine H. Bang Svendsen and Kris Kalkman

This is a research and development project that aims to develop research-based intervention in Norwegian teacher education (early childhood and care and school) with the aim to increase the success of students with an immigrant/ethnic minority background. The research project is a collaboration between NTNU’s Department of teacher education and Queen Maud College for early childhood teacher education and will look at students with a minority background, their motivations to become (day care or primary school) teachers and their experiences with teacher education

Better school start for all

Led by Maria Øksnes. Kris Kalkman is researcher.

This is an innovation project and collaboration where teachers in kindergarten and school together with researchers try out new measures that will contribute to a better transition from kindergarten to school and a better school start for all children. Trondheim municipality is the project owner, NTNU’s department for teacher education is the project manager and DMMH, Roskilde University and Linnaeus University are partners. The project's focus is that the transition from day care to primary school should be a positive factor that affects children's experience of good quality of life, understood as well-being, belonging, and the opportunity to establish friendships. According to research, children's opportunities for play in school are threatened by adult-led activities, increased learning pressure and emphasis on academic trajectories. This project will facilitate varied working methods, more play and exploratory learning activities in school, among other things through increased use of practical aesthetic subjects. Trondheim municipality wants to pilot better school start based on some of the recommendations from NOU 2019: 3 New chances - better learning. Gender differences in school performance and educational careers. The project is rooted in the municipality's overall strategy in the field of growing up "Stone, scissors, paper - a strategy for building strong children's communities".

Previous research projects of relevance that we have been involved in

Day Care as an Integrational and Inclusive Environment: Newcomer Migrant Girls’ Sociocultural Transitions and Negotiations of Identity, Home and Belonging

Led by Kris Kalkman

At an overall level, this PhD project positions itself within the tradition of social work, addressing day care as an integrational and environment for newcomer migrant girls holding refugee backgrounds. The research approach is anchored within the interpretivist/constructionist research paradigm and in line with the underlying principles of the sociology of childhood. The theoretical background draws on sociology, cultural studies and social psychology. Inspired by social and structural theory, the guiding research question is: What facilitates newcomer migrant girls’ integration and inclusion in everyday social reality in day care? Setting scope on the everyday lives of two newcomer migrant girls, (4 years old) in a Norwegian day care institution, the girls have been observed and interacted with over a nine-month period (September 2013–June 2014). Participatory observation and participatory methods are combined with open video observation for documenting and investigating the girls’ everyday sociocultural transitions, such as moving from an introductory group for children with a refugee background into a mainstream day care group. With interest on how, in everyday life, newcomer children’s personal problems are interlaced with structural issues, the research highlights the complexity of these two girls’ everyday social struggles, adapting to a highly dynamic and evolving environment. This thesis reveals the girls as being active participants in their multi-layered and complex transitions characterised by continuous negotiations of identity, home and belonging. 

Duties and Privileges: an Ethnographic Study of Discipline as Relational Practice in two Urban Chinese Kindergartens

Led by Ida Marie Lyså

This PhD project is an ethnographic study of discipline in two urban Chinese kindergartens. The study is based on 11 months of ethnographic fieldwork in two kindergarten classes in Shanghai the autumn of 2011 and the spring of 2012, using participant observation and qualitative research interviews with children and teachers. The project explored 1) in which ways disciplinarian practices were present in relationships between teachers and children in the kindergartens; 2) how the children experienced, related to and partook in such practices; and 3) how everyday disciplinarian practices related to contemporary views of, and future concerns with, children and childhood in the Chinese context. The conceptual pair duties and privileges serve as a useful representation of the daily experiences with discipline of children in two urban Chinese kindergartens, as well as reflect views of children and childhood, and the individual in the Chinese context.

The impact of the drug trade in the everyday lives of marginalized youth in urban Brazil

Led by Marit Ursin

This post doc project involves semi-structured interviews with 40 children and youth, aged 12 to 24, in addition to 10 parents and police officers in a poor community in Brazil. It is based on the notion that the presence of drugs has severe consequences for young people who live in deprived urban communities in Brazil. Underlying is the presumption that these consequences impact not only the lives of young people who are directly involved in the drug trade (consumption and/or distribution), but also those of millions of marginalised young people because of reasons they cannot control, such as relational or geographical proximity to people involved in drugs. The research seeks to frame and understand the multidimensional impact of the drug trade from marginalised youth’s point of view, and assess its effects on their lived experiences across four different levels: personal, relational, community, and societal/ structural. The research questions are: How do poverty and marginalisation affect the relationship between youth and drugs? How does young people’s involvement in drug trade and consumption perpetuate their poverty and marginalisation? What are the direct and indirect effects of drug distribution and consumption in marginalised young people’s everyday lives?

Understanding and supporting families with complex needs

Led by the University of Birmingham

This project was a comparative study, involving internationally distinguished scholars from Europe and Latin-America, and funded by EU-Marie Curie. Marit Ursin conducted three-month fieldwork at a Child Protection institution in Mexico, conducting focus groups with social workers, semi-structured interviews with relatives, participatory methods with children, and document analysis. It focused on diverse understandings of family and social work.

Qualities in Education

Led by Ellen Saur

Carla Chinga-Ramirez and Marit Ursin conducted narrative interviews of 25 students of ethnic majority and minority background at two upper secondary schools in rural Norway. The focus was on students’ experiences of and reflections on school life, local community and sense of belonging. The empirical material is discussed in the anthology Et mangfold av kvaliteter I videregående utdanning (Universitetsforlaget, 2020).

‘The school don't see me!' A Narrative and postcolonial study of social inequality in the Norwegian Upper Secondary, through the minority students’ experiences of being different.

This PhD is a study of minority students' experiences of attending the Norwegian upper secondary school. Chinga-Ramirez questions the Norwegian school's principle of equality, which is framed in a silent understanding of normality that hides its positioning in a Western, individualistic and middle-class mentality, often understood as 'pedagogical neutrality'.

Our publications of relevance

Abebe, Tatek; Dar, Anandini; Lyså, Ida Marie. (2022) Southern theories and decolonial childhood studies. Childhood. Volume 29 (3). Leder

Chinga-Ramirez, Carla. (under review). The paradoxes of being a female foreign faculty member in Norwegian academia. Journal of Gender and Education.

Chinga-Ramirez, Carla. (under review) M/Otherhood, race and non-western faculty women – contradictions and grief. Philosophy of Education.

Chinga-Ramirez, Carla. (2018) Om å være farget - Betydning av hudfarge for ungdom med ikke-vestlig minoritetsbakgrunn. I: Ungdom, danning og fellesskap. Samfunns- og kulturpedagogiske perspektiv.

Chinga-Ramirez, Carla. (2017) Becoming a "Foreigner": The Principle of Equality, Intersected Identities, and Social Exclusion in the Norwegian School. European Education: Issues and Studies, 49(2-3).

Chinga-Ramirez, Carla. (2015) Skolen ser ikke hele meg! En postkolonial og narrativ studie av sosial ulikhet i den videregående skolen gjennom minoritetselevers erfaringer av å være annerledes. PhD thesis.

Chinga-Ramirez, Carla and Kalkman, Kris. (work in progress). The reproduction of Western supremacy through teaching methods – a blind zone in Norwegian Teacher Education? Journal of Intercultural Education.

Ie, Judite; Ursin, Marit; Vicente-Mariño, Miguel. (2021) Foster children's views of family: A systematic review and qualitative synthesis. Children and Youth Services Review. volume 132.

Ie, Judite; Ursin, Marit. (2022) The Twisting Path to Adulthood: Roma/Cigano Youth in Urban Portugal. Social Inclusion. volume 10 (4).

Kalkman, Kris and Kibsgaard, Sonja. (Eds.). (2019). Vente, håpe, leve - Familier på flukt møter norsk hverdagsliv. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.

Kalkman, Kris and Clark, Allison. (2019). 'Here We Like Playing Princesses’ - newcomer migrant children's transitions within day care: exploring role play as an indication of suitability and home and belonging. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 25(2), 292-304.

Kalkman, Kris. (2018). Inkludering av nyankomne barn i barnehagen. In Vibeke. Glaser, Kari H. Moen, Sissel Mørreaunet & Frode Søbstad (Eds.), Barnehagens grunnsteiner - formålet med barnehagen. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.

Kalkman, Kris, Haugen, Gry Mette and Valenta, Marko. (2017). ‘They need to…’: Exploring practitioners’ attitudes in relation to newcomer migrant children’s needs in Norwegian day care. Childhood, 24(3), 366-380.

Kalkman, Kris, Hopperstad, Marit Holm and Valenta, Marko. (2017). ‘Do you want this?’ Exploring newcomer migrant girls’ peer reception in Norwegian day care: Experiences with social exclusion through the exchange of self-made artefacts. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 18(1), 23-38.

Langfeldt, Camila Caldeira; Ursin, Marit. (2021) Between bullying and other violences: Exploring the school experiences of immigrant and refugee children at elementary school Duque de Caixas (RJ). Inter-Ação. volume 46 (2).

Lorgen, Linn C.; Ursin, Marit. (2020) A children’s election—Dilemmas of children’s political participation. Children & society. volume 00.

Lyså, Ida Marie. (2022) Fra redaksjonen: Forestilt likhet i mangfoldige Norge. Barn – forskning om barn og barndom i Norden. volume 40 (1). Editorial (in Norwegian)

Lyså, Ida Marie. (2020). Managing risk and balancing minds: Transforming the next generation through ‘Frustration education’. In Ødegaard and Borgen (Eds.), Childhood Cultures in Transformation: 30 years of the UN Convention on the Rights of the child in action towards sustainability. Brill sense publishing.

Lyså, Ida Marie. (2020). Embodying discipline: Remembering bodies and cultural values in Chinese Kindergartes. In Alasuutari, Mustola and Rutanen (Eds.), Exploring materiality in childhood. Body relations and space. Routledge.

Lyså, Ida Marie. (2018). Duties and privileges: An ethnographic study of discipline as relational practice in two urban Chinese kindergartens. Department of Education and Lifelong Learning, NTNU.

Lyså, Ida Marie and Ursin, Marit. (2019). Migration and Mobility in Childhood (Norway). Bloomsbury Education and Childhood Studies.

Pedersen, Inger (2022) Language breaks and identity in Coastal Sámi families: An intergenerational approach with young people in focus, Nordisk tidsskrift for ungdomsforskning, 2, page 154-170 (in Norwegian)

Sørsveen, Aurora and Ursin, Marit. (2020). Constructions of ‘the ageless’ asylum seekers: An analysis of how age is understood among professionals working within the Norwegian immigration authorities. Children Society [early view].

Ursin, Marit. (2020). Militarized everyday lives, logics and responses among children and youth in a violent community in urban Brazil. Childhood, 27(3).

Ursin, Marit. (2019). ‘The meaning of my life will always be to defend our Motherland’ Raising and educating citizens in a child protection institution in Mexico.  Journal of Comparative Social Work, 14(1).

Ursin, Marit. (2018). Freedom, mobility and marginality: an interdisciplinary study of the historical roots of contemporary street youth in urban Brazil. Journal of Youth Studies, 21(1).

Ursin, Marit; Langfeldt, Camila Caldeira; Lyså, Ida Marie. (2022) Relational rights and interdependent wellbeing: Exploring the experiences of an ethnic minority girl with the Norwegian Child Welfare service. Global Studies of Childhood. volume 12 (1).

Ursin, Marit; Lorgen, Linn C.; Ortega Alvarado, Isaac Arturo; Smalsundmo, Ani-Lea; Chang Nordgård, Runar; Bern, Mari Roald; Bjørnevik, Kjersti. (2021) Promoting Intergenerational Justice Through Participatory Practices: Climate Workshops as an Arena for Young People’s Political Participation. Frontiers in Psychology. volume 12.

Ursin, Marit; Rizzini, Irene. (2021) Four Decades Of Brazilian And International Research On Street Children: A Meta-Narrative Review. Journal of Comparative Social Work. volume 16 (1).

Ursin, Marit and Skålevik, Mona. (2018). Volunteer tourism in Cambodian residential care facilities-A child rights-based approach. The International Journal of Children's Rights, 26(4).

Ursin, Marit, Oltedal, Siv and Munoz, Carolina. (2017). Recognizing the ‘big things’ and the ‘little things’ in child protection cases. Child & Family Social Work, 22(2).

Ursin, Marit. (2016). Contradictory and Intersecting Patterns of Inclusion and Exclusion of Street Youth in Salvador, Brazil. Social Inclusion, 4(4).

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