Browsing by Subject "ethnic identity"

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  • Könönen, Anna (2006)
    This is a study of the process of returning. It examines how returnees rebuild homes and social networks in Prijedor area, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Social networks were lost because of the collapse of the former Yugoslavia, war, internal displacement and fleeing. Returning to the area of Prijedor began spontaneously, and was intensive especially during the years 2000 and 2001. The study is based on fieldwork in Prijedor (October-December 2001). The methods were participant observation, writing notes and a detailed field diary, and conducting interviews. This study searches answers to the questions why anyone wants to return to a place from where he and his family, relatives and friends were evicted, and to where they are still not wanted to return. In the discussion about what 'home' means for the returnees, the starting point is Karen Armstrong's argument about 'home' referring to both a place and to social relations. Furthermore, this study examines how the social network is rebuilt, and what are the elements that encourage or possibly discourage it. This discussion is based on Elisabeth Bott's and Jeremy Boissevain's theories of social networks, and additional theoretical discussion is included as the analysis proceeds. The study suggests that the social network is a vital element in survival strategies and in that way also central in the whole process of returning. The emphasis is that the study about social networks is essential especially in an unorganized state or society. It is argued that the environment, the psychological as well as the physical environment, has a vital function in building a social network. Therefore, the larger discourse in this thesis is how violence and nationalism are connected in daily life, and what would be possible actions that might prevent the rise of violent nationalism, in this case, ethnonationalism (Stanley Tambiah) and constitutional nationalism (Robert Hayden). The returnees encountered various obstacles, and even though international organizations and local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) gave irreplaceable assistance, many challenges were left to tackle. The legacy of Tito's socialism and the 'transition' also influenced the work of the organizations. The study shows that one of the discouraging elements was bureaucratic ethnic cleansing, a term introduced by Robert Hayden. He considers both bureaucratic ethnic cleansing and direct violence as consequences of the same logic in different social settings. The discussion of ethnicity and Joel Halpern's analysis of the cyclical sense of time in which 'decades past become yesterday' gave additional body to the theory of 'transferred burden' (siirtotaakka) introduced by Martti Siirala and Sirpa Kulonen. Cyclical sense of time, this study argues, enforces the transfer of the 'burden'. Hence, it is concluded that due to the cyclical sense of time combined with the legacy of 'transition' and the 'transferred burden', self-repetitive historical structures exist producing such internal as well as external forms that create a fertile ground for endemic and external interference of violent nature. The outcome is discouraging elements or even blocks in the process of building new networks as well as in the process of ensuring sustainable peace and well-being. By applying Victor Turner's theory of social drama to the cases of disturbances in social life, it is suggested that grass-root mediators would be trained. They would collect detailed feedback from all sides of the schism, process it, and share it as constructive feedback, for all parties again. It is also shown that it would be possible for the government – later on the people – to change some of the disintegrative features of its ethnic sentiment. Those would especially be the features of constitutional nationalism, state chauvinism and bureaucratic ethnic cleansing.
  • Eskelinen, Anna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    The thesis discusses American Chinese ethnic identity and factors affecting it. The thesis also explores whether the American Chinese have assimilated into American society. The theoretical framework of the thesis is formed by Stuart Hall's theory of cultural identity and the theory of assimilation by Peter Salins. The thesis represents conceptual cultural research and its research method is a literature review. The source materials of the thesis are comprised of texts written by American Chinese researchers in which they discuss their experiences in the United States. The findings of the thesis are that the American Chinese ethnic identity is not unified, but within the group there are differences in the form and content of ethnic identity. The thesis reveals that the key features of the American Chinese ethnic identity are pan-Asianism, in which cultural identities based on nationalities are combined with a broader Asian identity, and a hybrid identity in accordance with Stuart Hall's identity theory, which simultaneously contains elements from two or more cultural backgrounds. The Americans Chinese consider it important to preserve Chinese cultural traditions. Factors influencing the American Chinese ethnic identity that arise in this thesis are American Chinese communities, the attitudes of the majority population, and representation, that is, how they are presented in popular culture and media. The study shows that the way of representation of the American Chinese has been stereotypical and scarce, which has affected their ethnic identity. Within the American Chinese group there is also dispersion in assimilation. It can be said that the American Chinese in general have assimilated into American culture and society at least at the level of behavior and adopted superficial aspects of it. Younger age groups have assimilated at a deeper level and embraced American values.
  • Khachaturyan, Maria; Konoshenko, Maria (2021)
    Aims and objectives: The paper studies Kpelle–Mano bilingualism in the broader context of local multilingual repertoires and assesses symmetry in the patterns of language use. Methodology: We combine natural speech sampling with ethnographic observations, interviews, sociolinguistic surveys, and elicitation tasks. Data and analysis: The data analyzed includes 62 questionnaire responses, targeted elicitation with 21 individuals, as well as corpus collection and ethnographic observations over the course of fieldwork from 2008 onwards. Findings: Neither Mano nor Kpelle has an overt prestige value. Marriage patterns and economic activity are symmetrical, and both languages can be in certain cases chosen as a means of interethnic communication. However, bilingualism is typically unreciprocated, and the Mano speak Kpelle more often than the other way round. Contact-induced change is almost exclusively unidirectional, with Kpelle influencing Mano. We suggest relative population size as the main explanatory factor. In contrast, both Mano and Kpelle are in an asymmetric relationship with Maninka, which is frequently used by urban Mano and Kpelle speakers. Even if some Maninka claim to speak Kpelle to a certain extent, they rarely use it in real life. Originality: This paper is a report on a previously unstudied multilingual setting. We stress the theoretical and the empirical importance of the patrilect. In addition to its being the defining identity feature, the patrilect is also the main predictor defining the language choice in communication and the volume of the repertoire. Significance: We applied long-term participant observation in various social settings to obtain a fine-grained account of the rules governing language choice, which a typical background questionnaire would overlook. We also sampled natural and elicited speech of L1 and L2 speakers of Mano and Kpelle, a method that yields better results than proficiency tests because it captures interference in grammar, which has far-reaching consequences for contacting languages.
  • Marizu, Obi (2007)
    It is common in nation states worldwide for the ethno-cultural relations of groups in their jurisdiction to be rife with tensions and conflict. The end of the cold war and the spread of globalisation have intensified and spread the social, political and economic changes that had already been evident for several decades. The result is that resurgence is now an even more visible and compelling theme for social scientists, particularly in the political domain. Ethnicity of itself does not cause violent conflict. For the most part, ethnic groups peacefully pursue their interests in society through political or other lawful channels. At times, however, acute social uncertainty and the fear of the future may make ethnic groups emerge as one of the major fault-lines along which societies start to disintegrate. Today ethnic pluralism, competitiveness and primordial antagonism appear to be the factors that most often cause ethnic conflicts and violence. The rate of increase of political or military interference in many parts of the world, and the escalation of ethnic and intra-ethnic strife, may be partly attributed to differences in ethnic composition. In some states like Belgium, Austria, Poland, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Cuba, China, Togo, Benin, Malawi or Tanzania this escalation may be less salient than in others such as Nigeria, the Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Peru, Colombia, Yugoslavia or the Mediterranean region (Cyprus-Greece-Turkey), where fragmentation of power is evident in weak and corrupt structures, some of them legacies of colonialism. This preface, however, is about the study of problems in Nigeria: protracted ethnic tension and the intermittent resurgence of disintegration. This study combines some key ideas and questions by looking at them from many perspectives, with the intention of informing or reminding readers about the ethnic problems in Nigeria. This task is complicated because there are many ways of studying, explaining and keeping up to date with this field of study. There are differences between frameworks and empirical realities that will be examined. The approach of my study is eclectic, but I have avoided presenting an ethnicity framework as a fixed or essentially primordial concept. Some of my explanations are related to the wider tradition of socio-biology, as described by van den Berghe, and to nationalism, which I presume to be inadequate to do justice to the political groupings of ethnic allegiances in Nigeria.
  • Audley, Andrew (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    This research explores the themes of identity, particularly Russophone identity in Kharkov, Ukraine. It explores the formation, salience, and gradation of this identity with regards to Social Identity Theory and Self-Categorization Theory. Furthermore this research explores the response and understanding of different events in Ukraine's recent history in relation to different identities. It also aims to explore potential futures of the Russophone identity in Kharkov, as well as aspects of Ukrainianisation. This research concludes that Social-Identity Theory and Self-Categorization Theory alone are not sufficient to explain the development and existence of Russophone identity in Kharkov. Finally, this research shows that there is a direct link between identity and understanding of the Ukraine Crisis, perceived threat, and future directions in Kharkov. This research further postulates that Russophone identity will increasingly be threatened within Ukraine, that could lead to further problems and division, and will likely lead to push-back.
  • Lapila-Marcus, Aino (Helsingfors universitet, 2010)
    The purpose of this thesis was to understand the experiences of the multiethnic people in Finland. This study explored the different aspects of the ethnic identity development process. Thesis was done in two phases. First phase studied the question of how is the ethnic identity developed in Finnish context and what aspects had affected their ethnic identity process. The second phase explored questions as what kind of ethnic identity form the multiethnic people have in Finland and do they have developed cosmopolitan global identities. The aim of this qualitative study was not to empirically measure or define the multiethnic identity, but to open new perspectives of the life and experiences through narrative research. Intention of this thesis was to give voice to 'small' stories of the minority people that are so often shadowed by the 'big' stories of the male of the majority. The first phase of this study included narratives from four multiethnic women. The narratives answered to questions who am I and where do I come from. The second phase data collection was made with narrative forms to 12 self-identified multiethnic persons. The multiethnic people were from three backgrounds: ones with parents from different ethnic backgrounds, Finnish who had lived long time abroad and people from non-Finnish background who had lived in Finland for a long time. The analyzing was made by analyzing the narratives with content analysis that based on the theory of the multiethnic people and by narrative analyzing where short narratives were created of each person. In conclusion the multiethnic identity was found to be a continuous process that lasted through lifetime. Different aspects affected the identification process, including family dynamics, social mirroring and belonging. The variety of different ethnic options in multiethnic person identity process, lacking family support for the both ethnic identities and the feeling of otherness experienced by the multiethnic people in Finland cause additional challenges to the ethnic identity process and results in some cases cultural homelessness. On the other hand the variety of cultural contexts brings flexibility to negotiate between different cultures and languages resulting to positive hybrid identity for some of the multiethnic people. Hybrid identity was sub grouped to cosmopolitan identity and multicultural identity.
  • Leppänen, Upu (2008)
    This is a study about communal self-perceptions and collective identities that are formed as a response, critique, or contestation to prepositionings from the level of state. The aim of this study is to investigate the way personal narratives are intertwined with accounts of national history. The theoretical contribution of this study is to the anthropological debates on morality and ethnic identity while the ethnographic data presented address Southeast Asian and minority studies. This investigation is based on independent ethnographic research conducted during a total of 20 months (2002-2003, 2006-2007) in Yunnan and Guizhou provinces of the People’s Republic of China. Miao/Hmong areas were also visited in Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Lao PDR. Chapter 1 (Locating the Field) contextualizes gathered ethnographic data while Chapter 2 (Methodology) expounds on anthropological research methods. The theoretical focus of this study is on the anthropology of morality (Ch. 3-5: themes of moral arenas and traditions) and ethnic identity (Ch. 6-9: themes on belonging, exemplarity, authenticity, and liminality). Questions of structure and agency are considered extensively in Chapters 10 and 11. Key anthropological sources are from White (1981), Urban (1996), the Comaroffs (1992), Schein (2000), Dawson (1978), and Teppo (2004). Primary sources stem from extensive participant-observation, autobiographical writings by two Miao women, and thematic interviews of Chinese minority as well as majority informants. The ethnographic data presented revolve around the lives of two young Miao women. Through this case study the process of narrativization is examined as an impulse to moralize reality. I argue that ethnic meta-narratives highlight where dialogics of othering are at play. The Miao are an external minority “Other” that function as a conceptual confirmation of the existence of the Chinese majority, or Han essence of the state. The Chinese “body ethnic” is conceptualized as an internal other and as a point of tangency where the Chinese state is contiguous with what lies beyond. Rhetoric of moral ethnicity is utilized by the state to implement and justify the process of nationalism as well as to evade or reinterpret it. This study indicates that a identities are at play within several distinct, occasionally overlapping, and, at times, contesting cultural spheres that constitute moral guidelines of “rites and wrongs,” or varying demands and definitions of one’s ethnic identity. Tämä opinnäytetyö koskee Kiinan miao-vähemmistön yhteisöllisiä omakuvia ja kollektiivisia identiteettejä, jotka rakentuvat reaktioina, kritiikkeinä tai vastatoimina valtiotason asetelmille. Tutkimus pohjautuu 20 kuukauden itsenäiseen etnografiseen kenttätyöhön, joka tehtiin Kaakkois-Aasian Kultaisen kolmion alueella (Kiina, Thaimaa, Lao PDR, Vietnam ja Myanmar). Aineisto etnisyyden moraliteeteista kontribuoi poliittisen antropologian, Kaakkois-Aasian tutkimuksen ja vähemmistötutkimuksen diskursseihin.
  • Fabritius, Nora (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    The ethnic diversity in Europe is increasing and targeted cultural rights for old and new minorities are today a hot topic of debate. Most studies of these debates have so far focused on public discourses. This thesis asks how ethnic and national identities gain function as arguments in these debates and takes the study of them to the grass-root level of a specific locality: Porsanger. Porsanger is a municipality in Northern Norway with three official cultures; Sámi, Kven and Norwegian. Lately, also new immigration has increased the local diversity. The specific objective of this thesis is to analyse 1) in what kind of discourses ethnic and national identities gain function as arguments, 2) what kind of versions of these identities they facilitate, and 3) what kind of norms and ideologies these arguments build on. The primary material of the study consists of thematic, qualitative interviews with 19 inhabitants from Porsanger, all with diverging backgrounds and ethnic affiliations. The analysis was done with Discourse Analysis and borrowed concepts from Argumentation Theory. The discursive contextualization was done with ethnographic material and 36 thematic interviews from Porsanger (from year 2015 and 2017), previous research, media material and governmental documents. The results show, that the utterances in which diverging constructs of ethnic and national identities gain argumentative function reflect two central ideologies. First off, the function of ethnic identities is especially prominent in utterances which build on the idea that cultural rights are a question of minority categorization and of being an “authentic” minority. Three legal categories with different ethnic criteria, which entitle to different levels of protection, form the basis for targeted minority rights today: indigenous peoples, national minorities and immigrant groups. Sámi are today recognized as indigenous peoples and Kven as a national minority. Three discourses are identified in the material. In discourses in which the status or the authenticity of a specific group is questioned, ethnic identities become a matter of debate. In the Discourse of sameness, groups are re-constructed as indistinguishable right claimants. In the Discourse of opportunism, existing rights are opposed by questioning the authenticity of specific group identities. The normative presuppositions in these discourses insinuate that those that are autochthonous and “authentic”; those traditional and genetically and culturally distinct, have the most right to cultural protection. Secondly, the utterances also reflect the public discourses in which cultural rights boil down to a question of national belonging: a question of who should receive protection by the state and whose culture belongs in the public sphere. Hence, also re-constructions of the nation gain function. Several pan-ethnic boundaries such as “western”, “indigenous”, “Muslim” and “refugee” are drawn in these negotiations of belonging. Those culturally most distant are constructed as having the least right to belong. In addition, and more surprisingly, also the region of Porsanger gains a clear function. I argue, that Porsanger takes form as a nation-like construct. In the Discourse of regional belonging, constructs of Porsanger and the Norwegian nation justify different standpoints on the inclusion of immigrant cultures. The Norwegian nation or Porsanger as multicultural functions as an argument for increased rights for immigrant groups, while Norway as mono-cultural, and Porsanger as part of it, functions for the opposite. Constructing everyone in Norway as ethnically “mixed”, functions both as an argument against exclusion of immigrants but also against targeted rights as such. Conversely, constructing the nation as built on several distinct peoples (Norwegian and Sámi or Kven) becomes an argument for targeted rights. This thesis shows that rights and identities are negotiated in plural and fragmented ways and in relation to other groups, the nation, and the regional community. The thesis shows that identity construction is a dialectic, context dependent, glocalised way of ordering the world.
  • Totti, Alina (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    Since the fall of the communist regime, the discussion on Hungarian autonomy in Transylvania has frequently been a bone of contention between the political representatives of this minority and those of the majority Romanians. At the same time, the debate inside the Hungarian elite of Romania as to how best to pursue this idea has created divisions even among the Hungarians of Transylvania themselves. This thesis uses Critical Discourse Analysis to observe how the two significant competing parties, the Democratic Union of Hungarian in Romania (UDMR) and the People’s Party for Magyars in Transylvania (PPMT), define autonomy and also formulate the arguments for its implementation in Transylvania. The starting point of the analysis is 2011, the date PPMT was created, moving the internal competition between UDMR’s different platforms to a party-to- party contest. The analysis combines literature on ethnic identity and autonomy, explaining how the two merge, inside the political discourse of the Hungarian elite, to create the main arguments for Hungarian autonomy. The results show that besides the concern for administrative efficiency, the plea for autonomy stems from the belief that such a form of organisation represents the institutional guarantee for the preservation of a certain Hungarian identity (Transylvanian, Szeklar etc.). As consequence, both Hungarian parties in Romania militate for decentralisation, juxtaposing the national government to the local and regional authorities in a discussion which disputes the legitimacy of the Romanian centralised state. To support their cause, the Hungarian elite references on many occasions other examples of autonomy in Europe, focusing on the Italian South Tyrol, Finland Åland region, Spanish Catalonia as well as the Serb region of Vojvodina, all of which obtained their status following agreements with the representatives of the majority population. Despite converging in their belief in the benefits of autonomy, the two Hungarian parties differ substantially in rhetoric and style of argumentation. While UDMR opts for a more nuanced discussion within the possibilities of the Romanian constitution, the People’s Party advocates a radical change which entails federalism and autonomous regions. In what can be regarded as a continuation of the inter-war ideology of Transylvanism, the People’s Party discusses autonomy in light of a perceived distinct Transylvanian identity while favouring and indicating strong relations with the kin-state Hungary and its current government. In order to bypass or speed up the negotiations with the Romanians counterparts, the Hungarian elite of Romania has turned its attention to the EU. Starting from the hypothesis that Romania’s accession in January 2007 to the status of EU’s member state has provided the Hungarian elite with new mechanisms of promoting their claims, the analysis follows the discourse referring to the possibilities as well as the limitations of the new context. The results shows that the Hungarian elite in Romania is generally dissatisfied with the tackling of ethnic minorities on European Union level and is determined to push forward for local, national, regional and European initiatives that would favour their cause.
  • Keskinen, Suvi; Skaptadóttir, Unnur Dís; Toivanen, Mari (Routledge, 2019)
    This book critically engages with dominant ideas of cultural homogeneity in the Nordic countries and contests the notion of homogeneity as a crucial determinant of social cohesion and societal security. Showing how national identities in the Nordic region have developed historically around notions of cultural and racial homogeneity, it exposes the varied histories of migration and the longstanding presence of ethnic minorities and indigenous people in the region that are ignored in dominant narratives. With attention to the implications of notions of homogeneity for the everyday lives of migrants and racialised minorities in the region, as well as the increasing securitisation of those perceived not to be part of the homogenous nation, this volume provides detailed analyses of how welfare state policies, media, and authorities seek to manage and govern cultural, religious, and racial differences. With studies of national minorities, indigenous people and migrants in the analysis of homogeneity and difference, it sheds light on the agency of minorities and the intertwining of securitisation policies with notions of culture, race, and religion in the government of difference. As such it will appeal to scholars and students in social sciences and humanities with interests in race and ethnicity, migration, postcolonialism, Nordic studies, multiculturalism, citizenship, and belonging.
  • Lurye, Polina (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    This Master’s thesis examines the history of Canadian immigration policies from the beginning of the 20th century until 2014, giving specific attention to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). This Area is currently the most popular destination for immigrants in the country and population of immigrant descent is expected to become the majority in this region. The increase in its’ population is connected with the growing number of immigrants from South and East Asia and the thesis research focuses on this group of immigrants. Social identity theory acts as the major theoretical foundation of the study. Canada is considered a country with one of the best immigrant integration policies in the world. Those policies mean that the country has chosen integration as the official immigrant acculturation strategy, thus, immigrants can retain their ethnic identity without being pressured to become more Canadian. They should be able to retain their language, culture, values and beliefs if they want. The results provided on the basis of the collected data show that the majority of immigrants retain their ethnic identity, which means that immigrant integration policies are successfully adopted in the GTA. Most questionnaire respondents also have either positive or neutral views towards immigrant integration policies, which supports Canada’s claim to deliver integration services to immigrants and preserve ethnic diversity of the country’s immigrant population. Using the material collected through the questionnaire answered by immigrants residing in the GTA and through 6 interviews with the employees working in multicultural centres in the GTA, this thesis studies the major factors that influence immigrant ethnic identity, its’ retention or loss. Altogether, the information from 45 questionnaire responses is analyzed. The interviewees work in the centres that have a significant number of clients of South or East Asian descent. The main factors influencing immigrant ethnic identity, according to the questionnaire, are language, culture, ethnicity, family ties, nationality, and education. The information provided by the interviewees supports this data. The interviewees also expain the role of gender and age in the integration process and the reasons why women and children of immigrant descent tend to integrate quicker into the society in the GTA. For children the main reasons are related to their intellectual abilities and a high degree of involvement in the social life through activities at educational institutions. Integration of women is connected with their empowerment and a higher level of gender equality than in South and East Asian countries. Other factors, including religion and race, according to the collected data, do not have a significant impact on immigrant ethnic identity or their integration despite the claims made by anti-immigration groups in the GTA. This research highlights the fact that a number of areas related to the implementation of multiculturalism policies are open for further research in order to enhance the success of immigrant integration both in Canada and abroad.
  • Holopainen, Eeva (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This thesis examines the notions of ethnicity, nation, and belonging in the context of South Korea, in order to investigate whether the scope of these notions will allow the reproduction of new South Koreans from multicultural subjects through education. South Koreans have traditionally considered themselves a strictly homogenous group: in order to stake a claim on Koreanness, one must meet the requirements of being Korean both in body as well as in practice. During the last two decades, the South Korean state has switched its national narrative into one of a multicultural nation, discarding the ethnonationalist definition of Koreanness. This thesis aims to answer the question of what kind of notion of Koreanness is present in the education of “multicultural” children. Does the educational process aim to transform these Othered children into Koreans? Is there even a potential for such transformation in the context of the South Korean society? How does the process work in practice? The data of this thesis was collected through participant observation during a three-month long fieldwork period at a South Korean afterschool educational institution catering to children with immigrant backgrounds. The data consists of descriptions of the centre’s educational programme and structure, and a field diary depicting the everyday interactions between the adult Korean staff and the Othered children, as well as among the children. The requirements of being Korean in body and in practice were both salient in the educational setting of the centre. Being Korean in practice presupposed a suitable command of learnable skills such as the Korean language and the proper Korean way of studying. The children each participated in the learning process from more or less peripheral localities, defined by the limitations of their relative competence. Their positionality in regard to Koreanness was dynamic and under constant change. Nevertheless, the explicit and implicit everyday practices of the adult staff upheld the requirement of having Korean blood or being Korean in body, which restricted the children’s positioning in the boundary-making process of defining Koreanness. Although the current national narrative of the South Korean state emphasises the notion of a multicultural nation, the ethnographic data of this study suggests that the traditional folk definitions of Koreanness have not changed. The requirements of being Korean both in body as well as in practice seem to still be dominant in everyday life. “Multicultural” children are unable to fulfil the former requirement but are nevertheless situated as subjects of the state and civil society’s multiculturalist educational project in regard to the latter. Through a social learning process, they may be able to approximate full membership in the Korean society, but reaching it seems ever elusive.