Becoming tolerable: Subject constitution of Roma mediators in Finnish schools

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Although Finnish politics relating to the Roma tend to be perceived internationally as fairly successful, several obstacles exist for the Roma in education and the labour market. Training of Roma mediators has been actively promoted in Finland to improve the school performance and equality of Roma pupils. This article, based on ethnographic research, focuses on exploring how the current discursive terrain around the topics of tolerance and prejudice functions in the everyday work of mediators. It is argued that the present discourses in school expose the mediators to unequal power relations of tolerance. The terms for being tolerated are set by the potential tolerating actors, the school community. The mediators aim to supply knowledge about the Roma and try to address prejudices as representatives of the Roma. The study identified three different strategies that the mediators used when encountering prejudice: making sure one does not seem too different, parody and feigning naivety. The analysis suggests that the present discursive terrain creates obstacles to addressing inequalities, discrimination and racism in educational contexts. The responsibility for tackling discrimination is placed on the shoulders of individual Roma - not the whole school community.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIntercultural Education
Volume30
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)51-67
Number of pages17
ISSN1467-5986
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences
  • Finnish school
  • Roma
  • Roma mediator
  • tolerance
  • ethnography
  • NATIONED-RELIGIONED SUBJECTS
  • BUTLER THINKING ALTHUSSER
  • PERFORMATIVE POLITICS
  • EUROPE
  • EDUCATION
  • MULTICULTURALISM
  • INTELLIGIBILITY
  • DISCOURSE
  • FOUCAULT
  • AGENCY

Cite this

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title = "Becoming tolerable: Subject constitution of Roma mediators in Finnish schools",
abstract = "Although Finnish politics relating to the Roma tend to be perceived internationally as fairly successful, several obstacles exist for the Roma in education and the labour market. Training of Roma mediators has been actively promoted in Finland to improve the school performance and equality of Roma pupils. This article, based on ethnographic research, focuses on exploring how the current discursive terrain around the topics of tolerance and prejudice functions in the everyday work of mediators. It is argued that the present discourses in school expose the mediators to unequal power relations of tolerance. The terms for being tolerated are set by the potential tolerating actors, the school community. The mediators aim to supply knowledge about the Roma and try to address prejudices as representatives of the Roma. The study identified three different strategies that the mediators used when encountering prejudice: making sure one does not seem too different, parody and feigning naivety. The analysis suggests that the present discursive terrain creates obstacles to addressing inequalities, discrimination and racism in educational contexts. The responsibility for tackling discrimination is placed on the shoulders of individual Roma - not the whole school community.",
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Becoming tolerable : Subject constitution of Roma mediators in Finnish schools. / Helakorpi, Jenni; Lappalainen, Sirpa; Sahlström, Fritjof.

In: Intercultural Education, Vol. 30, No. 1, 08.01.2019, p. 51-67.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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