Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The occurrence of right-wing extremism is becoming more prominent in the social landscape of Western European countries, including Norway, and in the United States. Amongst these movements one will find groups that base and justify their racist behavior in religious beliefs. Odinism, a pre-Christian, Norse neopagan faith, has merged racist beliefs and violent behavior with religious creed and ideology, and is a prime example of these right-wing religions.

During the 1990s Odinism emerged as one of the most dynamic trends within the extreme right-wing milieu in the U.S. and Western Europe. The popularity of Odinism today is connected to the revival of paganism in general, which includes a back to the land ideology; which rejects modernism, capitalism, and commercialism. It offers a new grand narrative that is appealing to those marginalized by the globalized society. The penitentiaries of the U.S. have been noted as viable grounds for Odinist recruitment and it is currently the fastest growing religion behind prison walls.

This study provides an account for the social processes of which this ideology is a product. It attempts to depict the forces behind this right-wing religion and on those grounds emphasizes the importance for further research on Odinist prisoners in Norway. The main argument being that the prison culture in the U.S. have nourished the increase in Odinist prisoners and if Norway, being part of the global society, is heading the same direction this expansion might give insight to potential development of Odinism in Norwegian penitentiaries.