Immigrant Associations in the Metropolitan Area: Forms of Mobilisation, Participation and Representation

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph

Abstract

This study examines the role of immigrant associations in the societal and political integration of immigrants into Finnish society. The societal focus is on the ability of immigrant associations to mobilise their ethnic group members to participate in the socio-economic, cultural and political domains of Finnish society and in certain cases even beyond. The political integrative aims are the opportunities of immigrant associations to participate and represent the interests of their ethnic group in local and national policy making. This study focuses on associations in the Metropolitan Area of Finland, (Espoo, Helsinki and Vantaa).The qualitative research consisted of 71 interviews conducted with members of immigrant associations and civil servants. These interviews were mainly semi-structured, including some additional open-ended questions. Additional data consisted of documents, planning reports and of follow-up enquiries. -- In the analysis of the data I categorised thirty-two immigrant associations according to the activity forms and the description of the goals by the members. The four categories consisted of integrative, societal, ethno-cultural and transnational immigrant associations. Most of the immigrant associations belonged to the integrative category (15 of 32 associations). On the one hand the aims of these associations are to provide access for their ethnic group members into Finnish society, while on the other to strengthen the ethnic identity of their members by organising ethno-cultural activities. The societal associations only focused on activities with the objective of including immigrants into the Finnish labour market and educational system. The goal of ethno-cultural associations was to strengthen the ethnic identity of their ethnic group members. The transnational associations aimed at improving the living conditions of women and children in the members' country of origin.

The possibilities for immigrant associations to mobilise their members depends partly on external financing. Subsidies have been allocated for societal activities in particular. There remains a risk of the crowding out of ethno-cultural activities: something which has already taken place in several European countries.

Immigrant associations aim to strengthen the identity of immigrants mainly by organising social and ethno-cultural activities. Another important target was to provide peer support and therapy courses. Additionally, immigrant women's associations offer assistance to women who have encountered violence by providing counselling and in some cases access to shelter. The data showed that there is an ever growing need to pay heed to the well-being of women, children and elderly immigrants.

The participation of immigrant associations in the municipalities' integrative issues takes place mainly through cooperative projects. Until the end of the 1990s there had not been much cooperation. The problem with the projects was that they had mainly been managed by civil servants, whereas members from immigrant associations had remained in a more passive position.

Representation of immigrant associations in councils has been fairly weak. Immigrant associations are included in the multicultural councils of Espoo and Vantaa, but only in the planning stages. The municipality of Helsinki does not include immigrant associations due to the large number of organisations which causes problems in finding fair, democratic representation. At the national level, the ‘Advisory Board for Ethnic Relations’ – ETNO didn’t chose its members based on membership of ethnic associations, but based on belongingness to one of the larger language groups spoken by the foreign population in Finland. Since ETNO’s third period (2005-2007), the representatives of immigrant associations and ethnic minority groups have been chosen from proposed candidates.

Key words: immigrant associations, integration, mobilisation, participation, representation, the Metropolitan area of Finland, immigrant (women), civil servants
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationHelsingfors
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-952-10-5203-3
Electronic ISBNs978-952-10-5204-0
Publication statusPublished - 2009
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

Fields of Science

  • 5141 Sociology

Cite this

Saksela-Bergholm, Sanna. / Immigrant Associations in the Metropolitan Area : Forms of Mobilisation, Participation and Representation. Helsingfors : University of Helsinki, Swedish School of Social Science, 2009. 335 p.
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Immigrant Associations in the Metropolitan Area : Forms of Mobilisation, Participation and Representation. / Saksela-Bergholm, Sanna.

Helsingfors : University of Helsinki, Swedish School of Social Science, 2009. 335 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph

TY - THES

T1 - Immigrant Associations in the Metropolitan Area

T2 - Forms of Mobilisation, Participation and Representation

AU - Saksela-Bergholm, Sanna

PY - 2009

Y1 - 2009

N2 - This study examines the role of immigrant associations in the societal and political integration of immigrants into Finnish society. The societal focus is on the ability of immigrant associations to mobilise their ethnic group members to participate in the socio-economic, cultural and political domains of Finnish society and in certain cases even beyond. The political integrative aims are the opportunities of immigrant associations to participate and represent the interests of their ethnic group in local and national policy making. This study focuses on associations in the Metropolitan Area of Finland, (Espoo, Helsinki and Vantaa).The qualitative research consisted of 71 interviews conducted with members of immigrant associations and civil servants. These interviews were mainly semi-structured, including some additional open-ended questions. Additional data consisted of documents, planning reports and of follow-up enquiries. -- In the analysis of the data I categorised thirty-two immigrant associations according to the activity forms and the description of the goals by the members. The four categories consisted of integrative, societal, ethno-cultural and transnational immigrant associations. Most of the immigrant associations belonged to the integrative category (15 of 32 associations). On the one hand the aims of these associations are to provide access for their ethnic group members into Finnish society, while on the other to strengthen the ethnic identity of their members by organising ethno-cultural activities. The societal associations only focused on activities with the objective of including immigrants into the Finnish labour market and educational system. The goal of ethno-cultural associations was to strengthen the ethnic identity of their ethnic group members. The transnational associations aimed at improving the living conditions of women and children in the members' country of origin. The possibilities for immigrant associations to mobilise their members depends partly on external financing. Subsidies have been allocated for societal activities in particular. There remains a risk of the crowding out of ethno-cultural activities: something which has already taken place in several European countries. Immigrant associations aim to strengthen the identity of immigrants mainly by organising social and ethno-cultural activities. Another important target was to provide peer support and therapy courses. Additionally, immigrant women's associations offer assistance to women who have encountered violence by providing counselling and in some cases access to shelter. The data showed that there is an ever growing need to pay heed to the well-being of women, children and elderly immigrants. The participation of immigrant associations in the municipalities' integrative issues takes place mainly through cooperative projects. Until the end of the 1990s there had not been much cooperation. The problem with the projects was that they had mainly been managed by civil servants, whereas members from immigrant associations had remained in a more passive position. Representation of immigrant associations in councils has been fairly weak. Immigrant associations are included in the multicultural councils of Espoo and Vantaa, but only in the planning stages. The municipality of Helsinki does not include immigrant associations due to the large number of organisations which causes problems in finding fair, democratic representation. At the national level, the ‘Advisory Board for Ethnic Relations’ – ETNO didn’t chose its members based on membership of ethnic associations, but based on belongingness to one of the larger language groups spoken by the foreign population in Finland. Since ETNO’s third period (2005-2007), the representatives of immigrant associations and ethnic minority groups have been chosen from proposed candidates. Key words: immigrant associations, integration, mobilisation, participation, representation, the Metropolitan area of Finland, immigrant (women), civil servants

AB - This study examines the role of immigrant associations in the societal and political integration of immigrants into Finnish society. The societal focus is on the ability of immigrant associations to mobilise their ethnic group members to participate in the socio-economic, cultural and political domains of Finnish society and in certain cases even beyond. The political integrative aims are the opportunities of immigrant associations to participate and represent the interests of their ethnic group in local and national policy making. This study focuses on associations in the Metropolitan Area of Finland, (Espoo, Helsinki and Vantaa).The qualitative research consisted of 71 interviews conducted with members of immigrant associations and civil servants. These interviews were mainly semi-structured, including some additional open-ended questions. Additional data consisted of documents, planning reports and of follow-up enquiries. -- In the analysis of the data I categorised thirty-two immigrant associations according to the activity forms and the description of the goals by the members. The four categories consisted of integrative, societal, ethno-cultural and transnational immigrant associations. Most of the immigrant associations belonged to the integrative category (15 of 32 associations). On the one hand the aims of these associations are to provide access for their ethnic group members into Finnish society, while on the other to strengthen the ethnic identity of their members by organising ethno-cultural activities. The societal associations only focused on activities with the objective of including immigrants into the Finnish labour market and educational system. The goal of ethno-cultural associations was to strengthen the ethnic identity of their ethnic group members. The transnational associations aimed at improving the living conditions of women and children in the members' country of origin. The possibilities for immigrant associations to mobilise their members depends partly on external financing. Subsidies have been allocated for societal activities in particular. There remains a risk of the crowding out of ethno-cultural activities: something which has already taken place in several European countries. Immigrant associations aim to strengthen the identity of immigrants mainly by organising social and ethno-cultural activities. Another important target was to provide peer support and therapy courses. Additionally, immigrant women's associations offer assistance to women who have encountered violence by providing counselling and in some cases access to shelter. The data showed that there is an ever growing need to pay heed to the well-being of women, children and elderly immigrants. The participation of immigrant associations in the municipalities' integrative issues takes place mainly through cooperative projects. Until the end of the 1990s there had not been much cooperation. The problem with the projects was that they had mainly been managed by civil servants, whereas members from immigrant associations had remained in a more passive position. Representation of immigrant associations in councils has been fairly weak. Immigrant associations are included in the multicultural councils of Espoo and Vantaa, but only in the planning stages. The municipality of Helsinki does not include immigrant associations due to the large number of organisations which causes problems in finding fair, democratic representation. At the national level, the ‘Advisory Board for Ethnic Relations’ – ETNO didn’t chose its members based on membership of ethnic associations, but based on belongingness to one of the larger language groups spoken by the foreign population in Finland. Since ETNO’s third period (2005-2007), the representatives of immigrant associations and ethnic minority groups have been chosen from proposed candidates. Key words: immigrant associations, integration, mobilisation, participation, representation, the Metropolitan area of Finland, immigrant (women), civil servants

KW - 5141 Sociology

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

SN - 978-952-10-5203-3

VL - 27

T3 - SSKH skrifter

PB - University of Helsinki, Swedish School of Social Science

CY - Helsingfors

ER -

Saksela-Bergholm S. Immigrant Associations in the Metropolitan Area: Forms of Mobilisation, Participation and Representation. Helsingfors: University of Helsinki, Swedish School of Social Science, 2009. 335 p. (SSKH skrifter; 27).