Ethnic Minority Identity in Contemporary Finland : A Case Study of a Somalian-Finn and a Finnish Romani

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Title: Ethnic Minority Identity in Contemporary Finland : A Case Study of a Somalian-Finn and a Finnish Romani
Author: Osazee, Nadya
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Sosiaalitieteiden laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Research
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för socialvetenskaper
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2015
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Sociology
Abstract: This Master’s Thesis examines ethnic identity in contemporary Finland by looking in detail at how this manifests in the everyday experiences of two persons – A Somalian-Finn and a Finnish Romani. Following Stuart Hall’s (2002) discussion on the cultural identity process – constant questioning and renewals of individual and diasporic identities – the thesis looks at how ethnic minority identities (both old and new ethnicities) in Finland, are formed and maintained in the everyday lives of the research participants. Methodologically, this research employs a wide selection of sociological and other social research literature that is both current and relevant to the core issues examined herein. The method used to conduct this research is the case study approach. The strength of the case study for this thesis is that it allowed me to examine closely the ways that day to day activities and ‘real-life’ events are experienced and told by my participants. The research itself is based on several themes and analyzed using thematic analysis. Findings from the case study reveal that being a member of the so-called new ethnic minority in Finland that has a history of immigration, refugee, and asylum, attached to how the minority is constructed and described – in this case Somalian – continues to have adverse effect on the ways members of that monitory understand their ethnic minority identity in relation to being a Finn. Similarly, being aligned to an old ethnic minority in Finland – in this case Romani – with a well-documented history of discrimination, marginality, language and cultural repression, also adversely influence the everyday negotiation of one’s identity and sense of belonging. This study provides an importantly and timely addition to current to sociological knowledge on the history, composition, and social positions of ethnic minority identities in Finland and shows the need for larger studies to look into the everyday lives of people whose constructs ethnic identities in Finland exist along the lines of the ‘Finnish’ and the ‘other’.

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