Material manifestations of an evolving state identity : exploring Norway's relations with the international passport regime from 1920 to present day 2019, and 2020 onwards
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The initial idea for this thesis began with my interest in objects, and in their ability to say more than their primary function might suggest. An object that has intrigued me for a long time is the passport. Many IR studies have referred to the passport in relation to topics such as visa and mobility regimes, citizenship and identity, and securitisation. Several of these studies have used the term “regime” when discussing passports, but fail to go further to explain what the term “regime” means. A number of these studies have also used methods that bypass the very material nature of the passport as an object, presenting an inconsistency between the object of study, and the methods used for studying it. This inconsistency forms the point of departure in this thesis. It uses regime theory’s knowledge-based approaches, the concept of identity, and the material culture studies’ methods of object-driven and object-centred analysis, to explore the historical and contemporary development of Norway’s passport regime. The qualitative research methods of semi-structured interviews and archival research supplement a material analysis of Norwegian passports to create an assemblage of knowledge sources. The materiality of the Norwegian passport, in combination with contemporary and historical developments of both the national and international passport regimes, ultimately functions as a material marker of identity differences and similarities between states.