Browsing by Subject "racism"

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  • Malmberg, Mikko; Awad, Isabel (2019)
    Similar to the rest of Europe, multicultural programming in Finland has become risky for public broadcasting. Programs aimed at encouraging social inclusion may not attract sufficiently large audiences and may be attacked by ever louder anti-immigration voices. This article focuses on what seems to be an exception in this respect: Ali and Husu. Hosted by immigrants from Iran and Somalia ? a stand-up comedian and a politician ? this popular talk show aired on Finnish public radio between 2013 and 2016. Through interviews with the producers and the analysis of a selection of episodes, we examine Ali and Husu?s daring and unapologetic ethnic/racial humor as well as its combination of funny and serious talk. Our findings underscore specific ways in which multicultural programming can use humor strategically to engage relatively large and diverse audiences in discussions meant to humanize immigrants and challenge social prejudices, while minimizing right-wing criticism and unintended readings.
  • Nikunen, Kaarina; Hokka, Jenni; Nelimarkka, Matti (2021)
    The paper explores how visual affective practice is used to spread and bolster a nationalist, extremist and racist ethos on the public Facebook page of the anti-immigrant group, Soldiers of Odin. Affective practice refers to a particular sensibility of political discourse, shaped by social formations and digital technologies-the contexts in which political groups or communities gather, discuss and act. The study shows how visual affective practice and sharing and responding to images fortify moral claims, sense exclusionary solidarity and promote white nationalist masculinity which legitimizes racist practices of "soldiering." By examining both the representations and their reactions (emoticons), the study demonstrates how ideas and values are collectively strengthened through affective sharing and are supported by platform infrastructures. Most importantly, it demonstrates that instead of considering the affect of protecting the nation as a natural result of "authentic" gut feeling, we should understand the ways it is purposefully and collectively produced and circulated.
  • Velkova, Julia; Kaun, Anne (2021)
    The article constitutes a critical intervention in the current, dramatic debate on the consequences of algorithms and automation for society. While most research has focused on negative outcomes, including ethical problems of machine bias and accountability, little has been said about the possibilities of users to resist algorithmic power. The article draws on Raymond Williams’ work on media as practice to advance a framework for studying algorithms with a focus on user agency. We illustrate this framework with the example of the media activist campaign World White Web by the Swedish artist and visual designer Johanna Burai. We suggest that user agency in relation to algorithms can emerge from alternative uses of platforms, in the aftermath of algorithmic logics, and give birth to complicit forms of resistance that work through ‘repair’ politics oriented towards correcting the work of algorithms. We conclude with a discussion of the ways in which the proposed framework helps us rethink debates on algorithmic power.
  • Polynczuk-Alenius, Kinga (2021)
    This article contributes to a better understanding of the ‘anti‐immigration’ discourse that has prevailed in Poland following the electoral victory of the Law and Justice party in 2015 by theoretically engaging the category of ‘race’ in the examination of Polish nationalism. To do so, it employs the Foucauldian perspective on racism, understood as deployed in defence of one's own nation, which is imagined as "race". The article also contextualises this discourse by elaborating how three globally circulated racist themes (threat, unworthiness and otherness) are deployed to uphold three components of hegemonic Polish national self‐definition (vulnerability, deservingness and ‘Westernness’) against three aspects of the perceived liminality that destabilise this self‐definition (temporal, moral and spatial). The article concludes that in Poland, the ‘anti‐immigration’ discourse deploys racism as a device symbolically to ‘protect’ the imagined ethnically, religiously and culturally homogenous Polish nation from the belittlement and dilution of collective self‐definition under the conditions of globalisation.
  • Krivonos, Daria (2018)
    This article analyses the position of young unemployed Russian-speaking migrants in Finland as being both racialised and racialising Others. Young Russian-speakers’ claims to whiteness are analysed against the backdrop of their racialised position as well as the neoliberal reshaping of class relations in Finland. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork on young Russian-speakers’ employment in Helsinki, the article shows that young Russian-speakers’ racialisation of Others is a modality through which their own racialised class position is lived and narrated. Through such boundary-making processes young Russian-speakers resist being classified as ‘welfare abusers’, the unemployed and low-skilled workers. The article argues that young Russian-speakers’ efforts to be recognised as white should be understood as a struggle against classification, through which they generate alternative value as deserving citizens and respectable workers.
  • Kaukonen Lindholm, Olli Veikko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The focus of this thesis is on the recent changes in ethnic and class relations that have taken place in Bolivia since the beginning of the 21st century with the expansion of the economic middle class and the rise of the indigenous movements, Evo Morales and his socialist party to political power. This is approached through the medium of coca leaf, a key symbol of the Central Andean indigenous peoples, and its chewing that has recently been appropriated by all social layers of Bolivia. The recent popularity of coca challenges the race-based class structure of Bolivia, where prejudices on indigenous peoples have been epitomised in coca. The realities of social change are investigated by looking into the contemporary perceptions that Bolivians have towards coca, and how its increasing use reflects the changing identities and relations between different social layers. The city of Tarija was chosen as the primary field site as coca is commonly chewed there publicly. As previous anthropological research on coca has mainly been conducted in rural surroundings, this thesis illuminates how the leaf is used by the urban population of Bolivia. The principle research questions are: How is the chewing of coca leaf perceived and practiced by the different layers, of the contemporary society of Tarija, and how does this contribute to the production of separate ethnic and class identities, but also national and departmental unity? This thesis is mostly based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Bolivia between 3 December 2018 and 23 February 2019, of which two months were spent in the city of Tarija and it surroundings, while one month of supplementary research was conducted in other parts of Bolivia. In addition to participant observation, the material collected included 14 recorded interviews as well as 63 informal interviews. Besides ethnographic data, this thesis also analyses the history of coca leaf at the epicentre of racial and social relations of Bolivian society, which also includes its place as one of the main ingredients of the global drug trade. As the perceptions surrounding coca are linked to its possible narcotic qualities and medical applicability, an analysis of the medicinal value of the coca leaf is included to provide a background for the claims made by the interviewees. To approach the multiple meanings of the coca leaf, this thesis employs a locally engaged theory. Anthropological concepts and theories of multiple origins are employed and applied throughout the ethnographical analysis to build a multi-sited and encompassing understanding of coca chewing. The identities are approached from an intersectional perspective to show the complexity of identity building, where gender, age, race and class are in interaction with each other. The reasons that members of different groups give for coca chewing and how these reasons work to create differences between the chewers are analysed to demonstrate how the traditional upper and middle classes of Tarija do not partake in the key symbolism that coca has for the Central Andean indigenous peoples. Instead, they perceive coca as an ancient medicine, a national emblem that works to create unity between all Bolivians by connecting them to their shared indigenous roots, while the chewing of the leaf for work-related reasons, as a stimulant, is perceived to be practiced mainly by the rural population and the working class. By further differentiating the zones of coca production to traditional producers and narcotraffickers, and as also demonstrated with an analysis on the public chewing of coca, this thesis argues that through coca chewing, the traditional upper and middle classes are able to overpass the racism previously employed in demonstrations against Evo Morales and his socialist party. Their new rhetoric highlights national unity regardless of class or ethnicity in the name of democracy. The ambiguous relation that the people of Tarija have towards coca reflects the ambiguous relations that exist between the different social layers of the city. The increasing popularity of coca reflects the social change that has diluted the colonial race-based boundaries between social classes, but also the limits of this change, as many of the prejudices and stereotypes previously attached to race and coca, instead of disappearing, have been reassigned to low income levels and political affiliation.
  • Nieminen, Kati Marjaana (2019)
    Can human rights law adequately address implicit modes of racism and gender discrimination? This question is discussed in this article through the analysis of the European Court of Human Rights case S.A.S. v. France (2014) concerning the ban on the Islamic full-face veil. The so-called ‘headscarf cases’ have been thoroughly discussed by many scholars, yet they seem to offer an endless source of different points of view. Departing from the previous discussion on the headscarf and full-face veil cases, which have largely concentrated on the questions of personal autonomy, identity and subjectivity, this article approaches S.A.S. v. France from the point of view of discrimination. It is suggested that the Court’s procedural and de-contextualized approach to rights results in eroding the protection against discrimination. Procedural approach refers to the Court’s tendency to emphasize procedural aspects of the Convention rights and not to engage sufficiently with substantive analysis. The de-contextual approach to rights on the other hand refers to lack of sensitivity to empirical information concerning the facts of the case at hand. Together the procedural and de-contextual approaches inadvertently erode the protection against discrimination of vulnerable groups, such as Muslim immigrant women.
  • Hoegaerts, Josephine; Liimatainen, Tuire; Hekanaho, Laura; Peterson, Elizabeth (Helsinki University Press, 2022)
    This multidisciplinary volume reflects the shifting experiences and framings of Finnishness and its relation to race and coloniality. The authors centre their investigations on whiteness and unravel the cultural myth of a normative Finnish (white) ethnicity. Rather than presenting a unified definition for whiteness, the book gives space to the different understandings and analyses of its authors. This collection of case-studies illuminates how Indigenous and ethnic minorities have participated in defining notions of Finnishness, how historical and recent processes of migration have challenged the traditional conceptualisations of the nation-state and its population, and how imperial relationships have contributed to a complex set of discourses on Finnish compliance and identity. With an aim to question and problematise what may seem self-evident aspects of Finnish life and Finnishness, expert voices join together to offer (counter) perspectives on how Finnishness is constructed and perceived. Scholars from cultural studies, history, sociology, linguistics, genetics, among others, address four main topics: 1) Imaginations of Finnishness, including perceived physical characteristics of Finnish people; 2) Constructions of whiteness, entailing studies of those who do and do not pass as white; 3) Representations of belonging and exclusion, making up of accounts of perceptions of what it means to be ‘Finnish’; and 4) Imperialism and colonisation, including what might be considered uncomfortable or even surprising accounts of inclusion and exclusion in the Finnish context. This volume takes a first step in opening up a complex set of realities that define Finland’s changing role in the world and as a home to diverse populations.
  • Honkasalo, Marja-Liisa (2019)
    This introduction provides an analytical back ground for the notion of vulnerability as it is currently perceived mainly in social sciences, ethics, philosophy, queer studies and governmentality. Used both as descriptive and normative term, vulnerability, along with resilience and policy management, has acquired political dimensions, which are distant from those given by the philosophers Hannah Arendt and Emmanuel Levinas. In present day social and political discussions vulnerability has gained enormous popularity and seems to be a genuine 'sticky concept', an adhesive cluster of heterogeneous conceptual elements.
  • Omwami, Päiviö Maurice (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Racism continues to be both a widely discussed topic and continuing problem within many of our societies. Yet, most of the mainstream discourse on race lacks any reference to the actual concept of race itself. This has led to a situation in which racism is understood as systematic discrimination but race itself is generally treated as a neutral and unproblematized identity category instead of a political system of oppression. In this master’s thesis I will examine the ontological relationship between the concept of race and power. The main goal is twofold. Firstly, I will show that the relationship between race and power is an inherent one. Secondly, I will show that it is not only possible but necessary to take Whiteness as a vantage point as we examine this relationship. For while we are generally accustomed to approach the topic of racism and racial injustice through the experiences of people of color, Whiteness continues to remain in the margins of our political, social, and theoretical conversations. This, I claim, results from the normalization of Whiteness that has rendered White people unable to see how race functions and affects their daily lives. I will begin by briefly examining how the ideas of race and Whiteness were historically constructed and implemented as oppressive systems. This will help us establish that race was never discovered but constructed to serve a specific purpose. From here I move onto examine the relationship between race and power through the frameworks of class and state power. First, I look at Charles Mills’ argument for why racial power relations are distinct from and transcend those of class. After this I examine how Michel Foucault conceptualizes race as a necessary technology of power to the modern state. Then I move onto examine George Yancy’s method that not only forces Whites to see the workings of race but allows us to comprehend that there is no sense in making a distinction between “good” and “bad” White people. Finally, I present my own method of asking the ethically laden question: “Is there anything good about Whiteness?” I argue that any meaningful discussions on racism must theoretically examine the historical construction of race and the purposes that it has been used. For this reveals the ontological relationship between race and power as an inherent one. In addition, it is also crucial to comprehend that race is first and foremost a lived experience that affects the daily lives of countless people before any of our conceptual analysis. Thus, examining both the theoretical and the empirical level of race is a necessity for us to have any change to move beyond race. And I suggest that we start by asking “Is there anything good about Whiteness?” For an adequate answer to this question requires an understanding of what it is to be White. Which then necessitates a thorough theoretical understanding of the construction, history and workings of race.
  • Keskinen, Suvi (Routledge, 2022)
    This book provides an original approach to the connections of race, racism and neoliberalisation through a focus on ‘postethnic activism,’ in which mobilisation is based on racialisation as non-white or ‘other’ instead of ethnic group membership. Developing the theoretical understanding of political activism under the neoliberal turn in racial capitalism and the increasingly hostile political environment towards migrants and racialised minorities, the book investigates the conditions, forms and visions of postethnic activism in three Nordic countries (Denmark, Sweden and Finland). It connects the historical legacies of European colonialism to the current configurations of racial politics and global capitalism. The book compellingly argues that contrary to the tendencies of neoliberal postracialism to de-politicise social inequalities the activists are re-politicising questions of race, class and gender in new ways. The book is of interest to scholars and students in sociology, ethnic and racial studies, cultural studies, feminist studies and urban studies.
  • Seppänen, Juha-Matti (2002)
    This thesis focuses on slavery as an example of a past injustice and how the issue came up in the World Conference against Racism in Durban (WCAR), South Africa, held 31 August – 7 September 2001. The legacies of slavery, slave trade and colonialism and their implications almost ruined the whole WCAR conference as African countries raised the issue of slavery on the agenda of the conference. They wanted an apology for slavery and reparations for it. Not surprisingly, the issue was a red cloth for the United States and Western European countries with colonial pasts. The WCAR process and also the experiences from the national truth commissions and trials in transitional situations have showed that not only economic factors but also the issues of the past are important to people. As slavery and past injustices in general do seem to have consequences even today, in this thesis I will try to answer to the questions what has been done in order to amend the past wrongs, especially for slavery, and what other alternatives there might be available in solving the problem that such issues have presented. I will look at the slavery in the context of dealing with the past. In the last three decades there are several examples of states which after abuses of human rights or transitions to a more democratic regime have dealt with their difficult past. I will present a short overview of the practices from the reality, and look into the different ways to deal with the past. Two methods are taken into closer examination, i.e. trials and tribunal and truth commissions. From this point of view I will examine whether the methods and proceedings applied so far in the domestic use may be appropriate also on the global scale. A part of the scientific significance of this work arises in the connection of two, at least so far quite separate discourses, namely the discourse of dealing with the past and the discourse on global (distributive) justice. In the theoretical framework I will examine probably the most important work in the field of distributive justice, namely John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice, published in 1971. Distributive justice is about allocation of present and future recourses, but pays no attention to history and memory in its definition of justice. This is where this thesis brings something new to the field of global justice.
  • Sudenkaarne, Tiia; Blell, Mwenza (2022)
    The Nordic welfare state aims to offer universal healthcare and achieve good health, bar none. We discuss past and present moral blind spots in welfare state bioethics through reproductive justice and queer bioethics, particularly focusing on race and racism, based on ethnographic data from Finland. Globally portrayed as aspirational and mostly uninterrogated, it is crucial to have a thorough bioethical evaluation of a Nordic model informed by Black and queer perspectives. We have come to conceptualize the Finnish welfare state as haunted. We fear that the seemingly non-racial racial hygiene continues to haunt bioethics of the welfare state as structural racism. A key cause for this concern is the lack of racial awareness in public politics and the reluctance in discussing racism due to the national agenda of color-blindness. This crucially compounds to our findings that medical professionals prefer to think they operate on “purely medical” reasoning as opposed to nuanced ethical contemplation, the latter associated with “social issues” that allegedly cannot be resolved and are outside medical interest. We discuss how the bioethical aftermath of eugenics remains unresolved. Racist, classist, sexist, ableist, and cis- and heteronormative stratification of reproduction requires a nuanced moral compass for Nordic welfare state bioethics, not “strictly medical practice.” We suggest queer bioethics as a moral theory for recalibrating this compass, joining forces with other justice movements to tackle racism in healthcare and further to interrogate racism, sexism, ableism and cis- and heteronormativity in bioethics.
  • Maury, Olivia (Helsingfors universitet, 2015)
    This master's thesis examines extra-European international students as an important part of the migrant labour force in Finland. Student migration is one of the fastest growing forms of migration today. Student migrants have principally been discussed in relation to education policy, human capital and the unwanted brain drain has been underlined. Aspects outside of the education-related have been studied less and for example wage work done by non-European students with a student visa in Finland has been ignored to a large extent. This thesis builds over the gap between the administrative migration-categories student-migrant and migrant-worker. Accordingly, the main subjects in this thesis are named student-migrant-workers. Emphasis is also put on the racist structures these migrants are confronted with at work and in everyday life as well as on their social and legal position in Finland. The analysed material consists of seven semi-structured theme interviews with migrants from five different countries in Sub-Saharan Africa who came to Finland in order to study. The analysis departs from a critical perspective on borders that underline how borders, and extensions of these, function as control mechanisms within the migration administration. Today borders no longer constitute a clear dividing line between nation-states, but are instead flexible and located at the centre of the migrants lives. The extensions of borders the analysis emanates from, is the temporary residence permit the migrants have obtained and how it influences their possibilities of forming their life in a way they would want to. Since the residence permit implies certain requirements for the migrants and restricts their social and political rights, this scope is remarkably limited. The thesis illustrates how borders, in the form of the student s residence permits, produce a precarious labour force that is easy to exploit. As will be seen, most of those holding a student s residence permit have no other choice than wage working in order to avoid deportation. Because of the strict limitations, these migrants are produced as flexible workers that quickly can react to the demand on the labour market. The analysis also shows that boundaries are created on the basis of race , ethnicity and language and also influence the position on the labour market as well as the experiences of everyday life. The analysis is situated in a context of migration in contemporary capitalism and shows that borders produce new subjectivities that are possible to utilize in the current economic system. The temporariness the characterises the lives of the student-migrant-workers renders inclusion in society more difficult and questions in this way integration as analytical tool in contemporary migration research.
  • Keskinen, Suvi; Mkwesha, Faith; Seikkula, Minna Kristiina (Gaudeamus, 2021)
  • Keskinen, Suvi (Routledge, 2018)
    Routledge Critical Studies in Gender and Sexuality in Education
    This chapter focuses on how minority young people search for ways to build their lives, gain respectability and perform agency in a societal context characterized by the previously mentioned processes. It also focuses on the gendered and sexualized aspects of racism, as they are lived out by young people in a multi-ethnic suburb in Finland, and the different strategies they develop to question, ignore and disturb practices. The chapter examines the interviews with young people who have one or two parents born outside Finland. It also examines how gendered racism shapes the conditions in which racialized minority youth live their everyday lives and how the young people challenge, ignore and disturb such discourses and practices. The concept "territorial stigmatization" also rightly points to the importance of media coverage in the establishment of othering narratives of the residence areas where ethnic/racial and class-bound inequalities merge.
  • Ricardo, Madalena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Portugal seems to stand out among colonial empires – besides being the first European colonizer, Portugal was the last European empire, since its decolonization process unfolded later than in other European colonies. Only 20 years after the formal end of its empire, this study exposes how Portugal discusses its own colonial past today, how colonialism is framed in the current public debate and whether certain colonial narratives are still present in this discussion. Based on the findings, this thesis also discusses the impact of the debate on racism and immigration attitudes. The theoretical basis hinges on previous studies on Portuguese colonial narratives and myths, including Gilberto Freyre’s Lusotropicalism, research on the formation of national identities and theories on the construction of racism. The goal is to contribute to the existent research on Portuguese colonialism, providing a recent account of the public debate; to serve as a base for future studies on post-colonial attitudes; and to discuss the legacy of colonialism in Portugal, particularly, on racism. A media analysis is conducted. Two Portuguese newspapers were selected, Público and Observador. Only opinion articles were analyzed, and a case was chosen to represent this public debate – a controversial proposal on the construction of a museum in Lisbon about the colonial period, in the time frame from May to July 2018. Using frame analysis, the content of the opinion articles is examined, the characteristics of the authors are discussed, and frames are identified. The findings assert that colonialism is mainly framed today in two ways: as the pride of the nation and as a shameful event for the country. Fragments of a third, mixed frame could also be identified. Predominantly, it is framed as the national pride, as a key event in the history of the country. Portuguese colonization is largely described as a soft, intercultural encounter, while the atrocities tend to be dismissed. This thesis denounces the persistence of colonial narratives, myths and stereotypes and reveals their renewal into new terms. It also exposes the usage of colonialism as the foundation of the current Portuguese national identity, constituting one of its most long-lasting legacies. Finally, the thesis reveals a connection between colonialism and the dismissal of racism today. The study discusses how colonialism, the myths and narratives serve to construct a false image of tolerance of the Portuguese, which affects racism and immigration attitudes in the country. The legacy of colonialism is discussed to impact other areas, such as electoral results and the success or failure of far-right populist parties.
  • Haavisto, Anna Camilla (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)
    Approaches to Social and Inequality and Difference
  • Lehtola, Annika (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The purpose of this study is to investigate how race and racism are understood in the policy documents called Equality Plans of the Finnish language-based Universities of Applied Sciences. The research questions are 1) what is said about racism and other related concepts in the Equality Plans, and 2) where and in relation to what are they acknowledged? Moreover, the study examines how whiteness and other values of Finnish society are reflected in the Equality Plans and what types of solutions higher educational institutions offer to racism. The analytical reading of the Equality Plans is informed by the theoretical framework that includes perspectives of critical whiteness, intersectional postcolonial feminism, Nordic exceptionalism to racism and colonialism, and feminist and education policy studies that discuss interpretations and practices of equality in educational institutions. The research material includes Equality Plans in eighteen Finnish language-based Universities of Applied Sciences in Finland. The analysis utilises the tools of the abductive content analysis and Critical Discourse Analysis in identifying the explicit and implicit meanings connected to race and racism. The results of the study indicate that the understanding of race in Finnish policy documents is vague, and the synonyms such as “ethnicity” are connected to ethnic and racialised minorities. The solutions for racism are abstract and appeal to the attitudes of the university community instead of challenging the structures that maintain and produce racism. According to this study, whiteness remains unrecognised and unquestioned in higher education institutions. Thus, resisting racism and promoting equality and justice requires a systematic and profound analysis of institutional whiteness in higher education structures and practices. The results align with the previous research on policy documents in Finnish education institutions, contributing to the discussion with Universities of Applied Sciences.
  • Elmgren, Ainur (2020)
    Visual stereotypes constitute a set of tropes through which the Other is described and depicted to an audience, who perhaps never will encounter the individuals that those tropes purport to represent. Upon the arrival of Muslim Tatar traders in Finland in the late nineteenth century, newspapers and satirical journals utilized visual stereotypes to identify the new arrivals and draw demarcation lines between them and what was considered “Finnish”. The Tatars arrived during a time of tension in the relationship between the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland and the Russian Empire, with the Finnish intelligentsia divided along political and language lines. Stereotypical images of Tatar pedlars were used as insults against political opponents within Finland and as covert criticism of the policies of the Russian Empire. Stereotypes about ethnic and religious minorities like the Tatars fulfilled a political need for substitute enemy images; after Finland became independent in 1917, these visual stereotypes almost disappeared.