Where do immigrants and their children belong?

Nikielska-Sekula’s research focuses on belonging and identity of people with immigrant background settled in Norway. She is also investigating how immigrant minorities use the space of a city.


Karolina Nikielska-Sekula. FotoKarolina Nikielska-Sekula is a PhD candidate at the doctoral program in Culture studies at the University College of Southeast Norway.

– What is your research?

– Among other things, I investigate how people born in Norway to immigrant parents conceptualize their belonging and their idea of home. I demonstrate that they feel attached to local places of Norway, which they inhabit, and while they orally express strong commitments to the ancestral homelands, their feeling at home is localized in Norway. This shows that that they really do belong here. Another thing that I am investigating is how immigrant minorities use the space of a city. I am interested in how facilities run by minority members are designed and used, who frequent them and for what reason. Based on my findings I argue that these facilities, while having signs referring to minority tradition, are regulated by Norwegian rules and are closely linked to the Norwegian reality, not to the reality of ancestral homelands. My research group consists of people of Turkish ancestry settled in Drammen.

– Why do you do it?

– I have always been interested in the issues going around “the borders of culture” and “transmission of cultural values”. I found it fascinating how habits of people originating from different places in the world transform, being influenced by old and new circumstances such as climate, new technologies, migration, wealth et cetera. While doing these and previous research of mine I understood that cultures does not have borders and that humans have more in common than we have differences.

– What attracts you in your project?

– I think it is fascinating to see how people, claiming strong commitments to a particular ethnic group, blend with their practices into the Norwegian society and to observe how practices (traditions) of their ancestors are being influenced by new circumstances. In other words, it is fascinating to see in practice how “cultures” are processual, changing all the time, adapting new patterns, how flexible they are.