Legitimacy Challenges

Project Team: Marit Skivenes, Siri Gloppen, Asgeir Falch-Eriksen, Elaine Sutherland, Neil Datta, Mathea Loen

The premise for the LEGITIMACY project is that the mobilization against the Norwegian child protection system is but one piece in a larger picture about mistrust in governments, politicians and the understanding of social and political movements in modern societies.

Read more about the project here.

LEGITIMACY is an ambitious project that will employ several innovative methodological approaches, multi-level and cross-country examinations and use multiple data collection methods, combining survey vignettes, network analysis, interviews, survey experiments, and textual analysis. The project is the most comprehensive cross-country study ever undertaken on this topic, and it is pioneering in its empirical and critical ambition to understand the rationale behind what seem to be a strong citizen driven mobilization against established welfare system in democratic states.

The empirical themes are child protection interventions into the family sphere, children’s rights and the debate about the Norwegian child protecting system. The project will analyse the arguments of the opponents and the proponents, the dialog between them, and the strategies applied to influence and convince in the meaning formation processes.

The Norwegian state and its institutions are categorized as a proponent of the ongoing practices. The project focuses on two supranational institutions, European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the Committee of the Rights of the Child (CRC Committee) as arenas for interpreting rights, setting standards and conflict resolution. The project will also provide insight into the role of online social network (OSN) in these mobilizations.

The project will examine the views and attitudes of a representative samples of the populations in six countries (the Czech Republic, Finland, Norway, Poland, Romania and the UK) on children’s rights and family interventions, and restrictions of freedom.

LEGITIMACY will provide insights into the rationale of grassroot critique against established systems, that will have impact beyond the field of child protection and into the discussion about the common good, legitimacy, public responsibility and solidarity in democratic societies.

Norwegian Research Council, WAM, 2020-2024

Project outputs

Public events

M. Loen, N. Datta, A. Falch-Eriksen, L-M. M. Selvik. Religious/Conservative Movements and Fake News. Bergen Exchanges 2021. CMI-UiB Centre on Law and Social Transformation.


Other outputs

N. Datta. “Under His Eye”: Poland inches closer to Gilead as it targets children and families.