Browsing by Subject "Belonging"

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  • Koikkalainen, Saara (2019)
    Citizenship is defined in terms of national contexts, institutions, or practices. Apart from noting one’s membership in a certain polity, citizenship can be understood to have – at least – three meanings as follows: it can signify access, identification, and practice. This article examines these three dimensions based on the experiences of highly skilled Finns living in other European Union member states. Do they adopt the legal citizenship of the new country to gain access to legal and civic rights? Do they begin to identify with and assimilate to their new home country? Is citizenship played out in the everyday life as practice? The article concludes that thanks to European citizenship, all three interpretations are present at the same time.
  • Kuuttila, Iina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    In recent years, differences between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar, particularly between populations native to the state of Rakhine, have developed from intolerance to outright oppression. Historical tensions over identity are threatening the future of the nation; the outlook for the humanitarian crisis is very worrying. Rohingyas, an Islamic ethnic group in Myanmar, have been deemed by the government as “illegal immigrants” and widely perceived as Bangladeshis. The Rohingyas of Myanmar have become a stateless population fighting for their right to stay in Myanmar due to the Buddhist government's nationalist vision to unite and protect the nation from the existential threat posed by non-Buddhist outsiders. The purpose of this thesis is to shed light on the tensions between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar through the discourse and narratives of Rohingyas and Rakhine Buddhists interviewed for this study in 2016 and 2017. This thesis explores how Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar experience belonging to a nation that does not consider them nationals. In other words, how Rohingyas make sense of their feelings of belonging while being told they do not belong. The notion of belonging is central in defining an individual’s social identity. Membership to certain groups is essential in constructing a sense of belonging; bonding through social networks creates a sense of security and acceptance. This study is aimed to unpack the notion of belonging through the key concepts in which Rohingyas anchor their sense of social identity. In other words, through the theoretical lens of cultural belonging – from ethnic boundaries to nationalism – this study interprets Myanmar’s Rohingyas’ sense of belonging through their discourse on nationality and ethnicity. Analyzed using James Scott’s (1985) concept of everyday resistance, the objective is to understand how these markers of belonging translate into the everyday lives of Rakhine’s Muslim and Buddhist populations. The study found that, based on the discourse of the Rohingyas, their sense of belonging is anchored to their nationality and their ethnicity simultaneously. While nationality is unquestionable, ethnicity is more fluid. At first Rohingya participants upheld the notion that their ethnicity is tied to their identity, however if offered nationality without ethnic recognition, the Rohingya would give up their ethnic identity. Understanding how they manage to maintain these feelings while being oppressed and harassed comes down to resistance. Rather than rioting, demonstrating, or violently confronting the state, the participants of this study simply insisted that they are citizens and belong in Myanmar. The reoccurring theme of belonging suggests that nationalism is used as an everyday form of resistance. This practice is a way of attempting to achieve results without the risks of violence. Maintaining a balance between their national and ethnic identities silently resists the state's claims of Rohingyas being illegal migrants or stateless individuals, without adhering to the state's demands of renouncing their Rohingya ethnicity. Unfortunately, recent developments do not promise a brighter outlook for the Rohingya population: resistance has been met with punishment and it is unlikely that everyday resistance will be the sole method of opposition in the future. There is no end in sight to the affliction of the Rohingyas and further violence cannot be ruled out as a possible consequence. Passive resistance has not brought about a solution in the short term, nor has the attempts of the international community. My hope is, that by increasing knowledge about the plight of the Rohingya of Myanmar, this study prompts further research and action.
  • Löytty, Olli (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2017)
    23
    The article discusses Hassan Blasim’s precarious position in the Finnish literary field. Blasim is an Iraqi-born author who came as a refugee to Finland in 2004. Since then, he has become an internationally acclaimed author whose short stories, written in Arabic, have been translated into more than 20 languages, including Finnish. However, his inclusion in the Finnish literary field is questionable: while he has gained increasing recognition in the form of awards and grants, he cannot join, due to the original language of his work, either the national writers’ union for Finnish speakers or its Swedish-language counterpart. Blasim’s status as an immigrant makes him a stranger in Finland, part insider and part outsider. The article elaborates on the sociological concept of “stranger”, as explicated by Georg Simmel, in reference to writers like Blasim. It also examines the media reception of Blasim and his books in Finland. The analysed material consists of journalistic texts on Blasim as well as his books published in Finnish newspapers and magazines from 2009 to 2014, from the first articles about him in the Finnish media to the news of him receiving the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.
  • Saloranta, Sonja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    In this thesis, I analyse Helsinki’s city strategy for 2017-2021 through questions of community membership, social inequality and immigration. Building on Benedict Anderson’s ‘imagined communities’ I analyse the community building and citizen-making processes that the city strategy describes. The purpose of the study is to unveil the underlying values of the strategy, which functions as a guide for political decision-making and thus is sociologically interesting. Through the theoretical framework of critical discourse analysis I illuminate how the city image, the city community and its residents are imagined. I argue that Helsinki is imagined as an international metropolitan forerunner, where social inequality is pictured as an economic problem, and immigration is pictured as a source of unemployment. Growth is an important factor of Helsinki’s identity as a leading city, and it is recognised that growth may increase social problems. Helsinki’s way of handling social differentiation is used for identity construction, where economic productivity rises as a central factor beside social welfare. Immigration, which counts for the positively perceived growth, is, however, mainly described as a problem. Immigrants are discussed in a very generalising manner and mainly in terms of employability, and it is further underlined that the residents’ worth is measured in their economic contribution to the community. My conclusions are that there is a conflict between the welfare society and the idea of economic productivity in Helsinki, as the strategy aims to please audiences interested in both functioning welfare services and innovative business possibilities. I argue that the prejudiced idea of problematic immigration and of integration as employment only does not contribute to the picture of Helsinki as an internationally attractive city for immigrants, and it contradicts the previously mentioned welfare society aspirations.
  • Wickstrom, Alice; Denny, Iain; Hietanen, Joel (2021)
    In this essay, we explore the limits of marketized belonging through Kristeva?s theorization of melancholia and desire. This allows us to problematize ?joyful? accounts of societal re-enchantment and how ?belonging? through collectives of consumption (such as neo-tribes, subcultures of consumption, and brand communities) is generally seen as a natural response to modernist rationalization and increased individualization. Instead, we argue that the scholarly understanding of collective forms of consumption has been premised upon paradoxical ground due to the notion of the subject-as-consumer as lacking often being implicitly reproduced, albeit theoretically neglected, allowing for the reproduction of romanticized ideals of marketized ?communality.? We foreground how tensions between individuality and communality are negotiated within markets and argue that collective forms of consumption feed upon separation, fragmentation, and the suspension of ?joy? rather than relationality and belonging. We propose that this allows for a better understanding of the desire to become through collective consumption and direct further attention toward questions related to liminality, detachment, loss, and exclusion.