Ethnic boundary making among Swedish migrants in Helsinki

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This is a study of ethnic boundary-making strategies promoted by Swedish migrants in Finland. The results are based on interviews with a sample of migrants in Helsinki without previous personal connection to Finland. The interviewees can be considered privileged migrants, and the study provides new information on the strategies of ethnic boundary making promoted by members of privileged ethnic groups. In Helsinki, the migrants from Sweden navigate a social field with local ethnic boundaries, including an autochthonous Swedish-speaking minority. Despite social integration in Finnish society, the migrants choose the strategy of boundary blurring, whereby the interviewees wished to question the importance of ethnic and national belonging. This choice of strategy can be explained by the ambivalence they experience in navigating the local ethnic categories and language policies. Thus, the results describe how societal structures shape individual strategies of ethnic boundary making.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number16
Pages (from-to)168-188
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5141 Sociology
  • ethnicity
  • ethnic boundaries
  • ethnic groups
  • ethnic relations
  • skilled migrants
  • social integration
  • boundary making
  • language minorities
  • blurring
  • boundary theory
  • 5171 Political Science
  • language policy
  • boundary making

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