Journal of Intercultural Communication, Issue 21, October, 2009

Kjetil Fretheim

Witnesses of Wealth. Development Workers, Intercultural Communication and Norwegian National Identity


In this article the broader topic of communication and identity is addressed through a discussion of intercultural involvement and national identity in the case of Norway. The main research question is how Norwegian expatriate development workers discursively sustain, challenge and (re)construct Norwegian national identity. Discussing this I draw on material from a recent study where I interviewed twenty-three development workers (). In the analysis I identify three main types of contributions development workers make to the construction of a Norwegian national identity and label them according to three priestly roles: the prophet who criticises the powerful, the counsellor who comforts and strengthens his flock, or the priest as a unifying symbol of the group.

Key words: Intercultural communication, national identity, development aid, development workers, Norway

Back to Intercultural Communication
Back to the Immigrant Institute