national identity

(Late) CfP: Public opinion and (media) representations of “the other”, for 12th Annual IMISCOE Conference (25-27/06/15 Geneva, Switzerland); DL: 14/01/15

Part of the 12th Annual IMISCOE Conference Rights, Democracy and Migration (25-27 June 2015, Geneva, Switzerland), the workshop titled Public opinion and (media) representations of “the other” is organized by Anders Hellström (MIM, Malmö University); anders.hellstrom[at] and Ov Cristian Norocel (CEREN, University of Helsinki); cristian.norocel[at] We are very glad to announce that Gregg Bucken-Knapp will act as discussant again.

There are terrorist attacks against e.g. cartoonists in Paris, mass demonstrations against Islam in several German cities and almost a re-election in Sweden due to the behavior of the anti-immigration party, the Sweden Democrats (SD), something which was abandoned in the last minute. “The other” is in our face. And the population is divided.

While ethnic and demographic diversification are welcomed by some, there is a growing concern about the effects of immigration on the economy and on welfare, beside a preoccupation that relates to what is seen as the cultural impact of migration on national identity. These positions often translate into a demand for political response and action targeting asylum-seeker and refugees and in general the number of migrants entering the country.

Within this context, popular xenophobic sentiments show different and more dangerous faces. In this workshop we will further develop on the crucial dynamic of representations of “the other” in relation to the natives – in the media, the public sphere and/or the field of party politics – and public attitudes of “the other” in a similar set of spheres.

Different kind of outbursts against people of non-native background (or members of minority groups) are part of the everyday experiences of many minorities in Europe today, e.g. Jews, Muslims and Roma; these groups are subject to various forms of discrimination, exclusionary practices, deprivation and unfair treatment as a result. It is by appealing to anti-immigrant attitudes and to general concerns about immigration among the population that anti-immigration parties across Europe endeavor to mobilize those voters who are more ‘receptive’ to these issues.

But increasingly harsh immigration restrictions, regulations and exclusionary practices are not only advocated by extreme and populist radical right wing parties. Outside the party political sphere, there are a multitude of movements in civil society who mobilize (and counter mobilize) on these issues. On a top down level, European governments and elites have tried to limit both the access to the nation-states and to the welfare benefits by introducing or strengthening hierarchies of stratifications between groups deemed to be entitled/deserving in opposition to those not-entitled and undeserving.

The ongoing economic recession and the steadily growing levels of unemployment have triggered social mobilization of anti-immigration movements, as well as anti-austerity and Euroskeptical activities despite the governments’ attempt to control the situation.

The panel welcomes papers that deal with the consequences of ever-changing socio-economic circumstances and recent dramatic events in Europe in e.g. terms of changing patterns of party-political preferences and/or people´s attitudes towards immigration and the welfare state. We encourage comparative analyses of commonalities and differences between reactions and mobilizations in particular regions, but also in a wider European perspective. We welcome papers that deal with for instance representations of “the other” in terms of voting behavior, with analyses of anti-immigration policies and public discourses and representations and also large-N studies in terms of e.g. popular attitudes towards immigration and the welfare state.

Please, send your abstract (approximately 250 words) to the organizers at anders.hellstrom[at] and cristian.norocel[at] by January 14 2015. The participants will get to know if their papers have been accepted soon after the IMISCOE board has made their decision.

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Thursday, January 8th, 2015 Research No Comments

Call for Papers: Moulding Identity, Trust and Commitment in the Nordic Countries, at XLIII Annual FPSA (20-21.01.2011, University of Jyväskylä); DL: 03.12.2010

The 43rd Annual Politiikan tutkimuksen päivät/ Meeting of Finnish Political Science Association Conference will be organized at the University of Jyväskylä, January 20-21 2011. The theme of the conference is Epäluulo ja demokratia/ Distrust and democracy.

The potential participants may send their abstracts (max. 150 words) to the workshop coordinator until 3 December 2010. The email address of the coordinator is listed at the end of the workshop’s description below.

Moulding Identity, Trust and Commitment in the Nordic Countries:
Balancing between Assimilation and Accommodation in the (Post)Multicultural World?

On October 17 2010, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel argued that the “[multicultural] approach has failed, utterly failed.” This is just one example among many other political developments that shape the debate around the discursive projection of “Us” and “Others” and the perceived need for forging a common national project around issues of common identity, trust and commitment. Among the Nordic countries, Denmark is oftentimes given as the most drastic example of change in its approach to immigration, while Sweden for quite some time was considered a progressive and liberal acme of immigration and integration policies. In Finland, despite the low level of immigration, an increasingly critical discourse to multiculturalism is monopolizing the public attention. Across the Nordic region, conflicting discourses highlight a desire for a further tightening of immigration control and assimilative demands at the same time with attempts for accommodative efforts. These discourses erect competing hierarchies of citizenship and valorization, underpinned by categories of gender and sexual identity, ethnicity, “race” and religion, in which “Others” are perpetually contained to a second class status.

With this in mind, authors are encouraged to submit papers assessing critically the emerging political climate and the calls for assimilation or for accommodation in the Nordic countries. Are the present demands for the tightening of integration policies or the outright call for more assertive assimilative efforts the signs of an imminent end of multiculturalism? Which political entities articulate such demands for action and how are these met by those groups they are aimed at? Analyses of how gender and sexuality, ethnicity, religion and “race” contribute or undermine the national(ist) projects in the Nordic countries in the new context are particularly welcomed.

The language of the workshop is English.

Keywords: accommodation and/or assimilation policies, immigration, (post)multiculturalism, national(ist) identity discourse(s), Nordic countries.

Ov Cristian Norocel
Department of Economic and Political Studies, University of Helsinki

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Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 Uncategorized 1 Comment

UPDATE: Workshop at XLII Annual FPSA (11.03.2010 University of Helsinki, Helsinki/ Helsingfors Finland)

The workshop titled Can Others Become Part of Us? Questions of National (Im)Purity,  which I have organized for XLII Politiikan tutkimuksen päivät/ XLII Annual Meeting of Finnish Political Science Association (FPSA, conference web-page in English, here), will be taking place at the University of Helsinki on 11.03.2010 in Helsinki/ Helsingfors Finland. The workshop is scheduled to take place at the University of Helsinki main building, Fabianinkatu 33/ Fabiansgatan 33, Room 4 (3rd floor).

The following papers are scheduled to be presented within the workshop (the language of the workshop panel will be English):

1. Indigenous Subjectivity Challenging Ethnic Particularity
Tanja Joona (University of Lapland) (details in English, here)
Sanna Valkonen (University of Lapland) (details in Finnish, tässä)

The Sámi have constructed national unity since 1950’s by creating their own political institutions and by defining the Sámi symbols and cultural features. Since 1970’s the Sámi unity and subjectivity have been constructed as an indigenous people. The indigenous Sámi discourse is connected to the crowing awareness and political activity of the indigenous peoples globally and to the strengthening of their international position. Nowadays the Sámi of Finland have a constitutionally recognized position as an indigenous people, and they have a cultural autonomy in an area situated in the Northernmost Finland, e.g. Sámi Homeland. The cultural autonomy is implemented by the Sámi parliament. A Sámi definition of the Sámi Act defines the legal Sámi subjects legitimate for instance to vote in the Sámi elections. However, striving to define the Sámi subjects has caused protection of Sámi cultural purity in a situation in which most of the Sámi don’t live in a traditional Sámi way anymore.

Our presentation deals with the problematic related to the indigenous subjectivity both from the viewpoint the ILO convention no. 169, which is the most important international treaty concerning the indigenous peoples, and also from the “Sámi viewpoint”. We examine the ambiguous practices of ethnic and indigenous lining and labeling in regard to an empirical example of so called “Lapp discussion”. The concept “Lapp” refers to people who are no longer recognized as Sámi among the Sámi but who descent from the original/indigenous inhabitants of the region and are thus potential indigenous subjects and right holders according to national and international law.

Keywords: Sámi, Lapp, ILO Convention, subjectivity, ethnicity, indigenous people.

2. Orchestrating Integration into Finnishness. Top-down Representations of National Identity through Discourses of Othering in Media, Parliamentary Debates and Legislative Documents
Niko Pyrhönen (CEREN, University of Helsinki) (details in English, here)

European regimes of immigration law, especially in the Nordic welfare countries, are often understood as being increasingly constrained by the international discourse of human-rights and free mobility stressed in treaties of the European Union. I argue, however, that nation-specific identity constructions and the subsequent considerations for political prudentiality play a major part in the formulation and evaluation of policy programmes for regulating immigration and organizing immigrant integration. This is particularly true in Finland, underlined by the fact that a markedly heated political debate has evolved over the phenomenon, even though the country has experienced levels of immigration significantly below that of EU-15 countries.

In my paper, I examine the Finnish Integration Acts of 1999 and 2009 and the Foreigner Act of 2004 in order to assess how Finnishness is reconstructed through a legislative discourse of Othering as presented on three different levels.

Keywords: immigration, integration legislation, national identity, othering.

3. Defending Romanianness and Heteropatriarchy. Masculinity Metaphors in Romanian Radical Right Populism
Ov Cristian Norocel (University of Helsinki)

The present paper investigates the recent history of the Romanian family as a heteropatriarchal matrix for metaphors of masculinity at the beginning of the 21st century, as it is heralded by the main radical right populist party Greater Romania Party (Partidul România Mare, PRM). Focusing on Greater Romania Magazine (RRM, Revista România Mare) – the party’s main media outlet- the analysis focuses on PRM leader’s editorials during a well defined timeframe in recent history of Romanian radical right populism, from the preparations for presidential elections in 2000, which witnessed PRM leader’s surprising run off, through the subsequent presidential elections in 2004, and up EU Parliamentary elections in 2009, that enabled PRM to send three representatives to European Parliament.

The staunchly restrictive definition of the family, portrayed as the exclusive heteronormative domain of the Romanian male, has developed across time with the help of the NATION IS A FAMILY and the STRICT FATHER conceptual metaphors to proscribe the existence of family narratives including ethnically diverse or any sexually different Others. The article accounts for the discursive (re-)definitions of Romanianness enabled by conceptual metaphors so that to accommodate centrally located heterosexist masculinities, and underlines the need for further explorations of the radical right populist narratives of Romanian purity.

Keywords: conceptual metaphors, heteropatriarchal family, masculinities, radical right populism, Romanian purity.

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Thursday, February 4th, 2010 Research No Comments