Intergroup Relations in Minority-Minority Contexts : A Discursive Approach

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Title: Intergroup Relations in Minority-Minority Contexts : A Discursive Approach
Author: Forsell, Erika
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Research
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2017
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Sosiaalipsykologia
Social Psychology
Abstract: This paper examines how ethnic minority youth in Finland discuss group relations, establish boundaries and construct difference in ethnic minority-minority contexts. Analytically this study draws on discourse psychology while examining mainstream social psychological theories on intergroup relations and identity formation. While these issues have traditionally been approached in majority-minority contexts, this has proven to be problematic, as it tends to ignore existing conflicts and diversity among ethnic minorities. By giving a voice to ethnic minority youth themselves, this paper demonstrates how these youth talk about their relations to other ethnic minorities. Although the core interest is group relations, these are strongly affected by the social identity as it plays a significant role when differentiating between in- and outgroups. The relevance lies in how the youth use language to construct difference, create boundaries, and distinct positively from others. The data consists of six ethnic minority youth with whom semi-structured interviews were conducted. Based on a detailed analysis of the material, five dominating discourses were identified that both intersect and contradict when minority youth struggle to construct belonging, distinction, and group relations. These discourses are: the biological one within which physical appearance played a significant role; the spatial discourse which emphasizes territorial groups and differences; the minority discourse within which struggles of belonging are explained; the ethnic discourse in which ethnic groups are differentiated from others, and, lastly, the multicultural discourse within which the youths moved flexibly between belonging to different categories while emphasizing the importance of integration.

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