This article interrogates boundaries of the everyday nation, based on how young people in Norway experience and reflect upon first impressions. The data consists of 289 texts written by pupils and 33 focus groups with the same youth. First impressions are conceptualized as boundaries of the everyday nation, characterized by heteronomy and multiplicity, as embodied encounters with emotional dimensions. Perspectives from both the observed and the onlooker shed light on relationality here. Everyday encounters trigger both automatic reactions and conscious reflections, which may be managed by the individual. Visibility and race are crucial to the dynamics of first impressions as sites where boundaries are (re)produced, harboring potential for both recognition and exclusion. Beyond mere boundary-making instances, first impressions, as situated encounters, hold potential to be sites for normative reflection on the nation and its boundaries. Relationality, we find, may contradict or trump, visibility as a taken-for-granted boundary-making mechanism.
Erdal, Marta Bivand & Mette Strømsø (2018) Interrogating boundaries of the everyday nation through first impressions: experiences of young people in Norway, Social & Cultural Geography. DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2018.1559345.