Research on the 22 July Attacks


27 November 2012

Research on the 22 July Attacks
The Research Council of Norway has just announced its funding from the SAMKUL programme. PRIO has received funding for a large-scale project on how Norwegian society has responded to the attacks of 22 July 2011.

The project will be led by Henrik Syse, who was interviewed by Aftenposten on the subject.

In confronting the attacks of 22 July 2011, Norwegian society has had to mobilize, negotiate, and re-think a number of core societal values.

By analyzing the communicative processes that took place in the wake of the attacks, this project studies core societal values that were drawn upon and shaped societal processes, and how tensions and contradictions between them are being negotiated in post-22/7 Norway. In doing so, we explore if and how their sense has changed, been reinterpreted, and renegotiated.

This renegotiation has particular implications for development processes of collective identities (such as the Norwegian we) and resilience (understood as a process of dealing with change and disruption).

The project takes as its point of departure seven core values, deep-seated within Norwegian society and identifiable over time in discourses and institutions, which were particularly evident in the days, weeks, and months following the terrorist attacks: 

  1. democracy,
  2. equality, 
  3. freedom, 
  4. justice, 
  5. openness, 
  6. responsibility, and
  7. solidarity.

Using the triad of values, identities, and resilience in the post- 22/7 context as a starting point, we study these questions:

  • How are key societal values formulated and discussed in public discourses?
  • How do key societal values feed into perceptions of collective identities?
  • How do values and emotions in public discourses reflect a process of societal resilience?
  • How does the interplay between values, collective identities, and resilience affect societal development?

We address the research questions from bottom-up and top-down, national and international perspectives using multiple data sources: media texts (print, TV, and internet), social media (Twitter and Facebook), interviews, and focus groups. The project collaboration is interdisciplinary, rooted in the humanities, and complemented by the social sciences. Continuous dialogue with multiple user groups is integrated in the project plan.

The project will be coordinated by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and carried out in cooperation with the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Oslo (UiO), the Department of Religion, Philosophy and History at the University of Agder (UiA), and the Department of Communication Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).