The transnational orientations of members of ethnic and religious minority groups challenge traditional forms of political orientation and activity in western nation states. Our study builds on sociological and anthropological research showing how new tra nsnational networks and "social imaginaries" inform political thinking and organisation among young adults of minority background in Europe today. Theories on globalisation, race, youth, multiculturalism, politics of identity, democracy, and social movem ents are central references for our analytical starting point.
We develop two ideal-typical forms of transnational networks based in the immigrant position: Type 1-networks are directed towards the maintenance and strengthening of collective identity cat egories such as ethnicity, nationality and religion. Type 2- networks are based in ideas about universal rights, anti-discrimination and a critique of how ascribed collective identities of type 1 contribute to the exclusion of ethnic minorities within the nation state framework. Our main concern is how participation in different types of transnational networks foster different political and social imaginaries for the future.
Our methodological approach is qualitative and comparative, consisting in a co mbination of short-term fieldworks, qualitative interviews, and web-ethnographies. We will identify six transnational networks with branches in Norway (three of each type). Four of these will be studied by four senior researchers working part-time over a period of three years. Two networks will be studied by a phd-student working full-time for three years. The last part of the project includes a comparison between the six networks, and a small comparative study of how the Norwegian branches of the chosen networks differ/show similar traits to sister-/similar branches in London and Paris.