Volume 23: Citizenships under Construction: Affects, Politics and Practices

 

'Citizenships under construction: affects, politics and practices' presents a selection of extended papers presented at the HCAS Symposium on Citizenship and Migration, held in October 2014. With contributions by Anne Marie Fortier, Bridget Byrne, Anu Koivunen and Olli Löytty, the volume aims to further interdisciplinary dialogue on citizenship in the context of increased global migration. It provides unique insight into the ongoing theorization of the complicated workings of power and affects in constructions of race, gender and class, in the shaping of narratives of history and nation, and in the creation of hierarchies of belonging and deservedness.

Recent Submissions

  • De Graeve, Katrien; Rossi, Riikka; Mäkinen, Katariina (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2017)
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  • Unknown author (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2017)
  • Unknown author (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2017)
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  • Löytty, Olli (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2017)
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    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.
  • Koivunen, Anu (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2017)
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    This chapter examines the contemporary revisiting and reimagining of the histories and memories of Finnish migrants in Sweden. Since 2000, a new generation of children and grandchildren of the Great Migration in the 1960s and 1970s has entered the public arena in Sweden, articulating new narratives in pop music, literature, theatre and film. While these “third-generation” Sweden Finnish artists themselves embody success stories of migration, enjoying positive publicity and the appreciation of Swedish mainstream audiences, it is argued that the new narratives are essentially stories about living with, managing and rejecting shame. To be either a cultural producer or an audience of new narratives about Sweden Finns is to engage with an affective legacy of shame, a sense of history and a repertoire of representations – and politics of pride as its rejoinder. Drawing from affect theories by Sara Ahmed and Margaret Wetherell, as well as Beverley Skeggs’ work on the production of class, this chapter investigates two novels, Svinalängorna by Susanna Alakoski (2006) and Ingenbarnsland by Eija Hetekivi Olsson (2012); two television programmes, Emigranterna SVT (2006–2007) and Kansankodin kuokkavieraat YLE Teema (2011); and a musical documentary, Ingen riktig finne/Laulu koti-ikävästä (Mika Ronkainen 2013). In this way, the study highlights an affective practice, a pattern in process and an economy of pride and shame mobilized for purposes of identity construction and community building.
  • Byrne, Bridget (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2017)
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    Citizenship ceremonies have been practiced for at least a century in the United States. This article explores what citizenship ceremonies – the rituals created to ‘make’ new citizens – can tell us about understandings of citizenship and the nation. Focusing on the case of the US, the paper asks who is being held up as the welcomed citizen and who is excluded in these public events. What does it mean to ‘welcome’ a new citizen and how are migration and national history imagined in these events? These questions become increasingly urgent in the context of securitization and given current debates about the withdrawal of citizenship from suspected ‘extremists’.
  • Fortier, Anne-Marie (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2017)
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    This article interrupts the linear narrative that posits the conferment of citizenship (legal naturalisation) as the ‘natural’ outcome of citizenisation. Where the scholarship on citizenship and migration privileges the institutional life of citizenisation – where naturalisation appears as a discrete event at the end of the ‘citizenisation’ continuum – the social life of citizenisation includes naturalisation as an ontological process but is not reducible to it. ‘Ontological process’ refers to the ways in which different categories or locales of existence (the self, society, culture, the state, the nation, histories, geographies) are combined to produce understandings of what citizenship ‘really is’. Drawing on critical policy studies, ‘the social life’ of citizenisation and naturalisation rejects a conception of policy as a coercive instrument of the state or as a fixed document. I then turn to feminist science and technology scholars Annemarie Mol’s (2002) ‘ontological politics’ and Charis Thompson’s (2005) ‘ontological choreographies’ as useful frameworks to work with for tracing ontological processes within practices of citizenisation and naturalisation. To illustrate, the article builds on the widely used opposition between ascribed (birthright) and chosen citizenship (naturalisation) to show how the distinction falls apart when we understand naturalisation as part of the normalisation of such assumptions and their effects on global inequalities. The analysis demonstrates how the proposed analytical framework puts into relief joint processes of ontologising, normalising, subjectification, and stratification. Understanding how citizenisation and naturalisation function in tandem institutionally and socially is important if we are to gain a fuller grasp of how old and new forms of inequalities are refigured in twenty-first century citizenship.
  • De Graeve, Katrien; Mäkinen, Katariina; Rossi, Riikka (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2017)
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