Meanings Given to Counter Action Against Anti-Immigration Racism. an Intersectional Analysis of Accounts By Activists in Finland

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:45
Location: Hörsaal 31 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Minna SEIKKULA, University of Turku, Finland
In the early fall of  2015 Finland has witnessed a turmoil of outright racist activities, as several groups and politicians have responded to the increase in the number of people seeking asylum in Finland by publicly defending their anti-immigration racist stands. The current events can be seen as a product of a longer term development. In Finland anti-immigration mobilization began as a separate movement that was then incorporated in to the right wing populist party (The Finns) supporting traditional conservative and Christian values. The Finns gained momentum in the municipal and in the parliamentary elections 2008 and 2011, and after the election 2015 they rose to the ranks of government. However, politicians from more established and older parties have also appealed to anti-immigration racist sentiments.  Further, while anti-immigration racism has been rife in parliamentary politics, also non-parliamentary far-right groups have made (at times violent) outcomes in public. At the same time, Finland differs e.g. from the neighboring Sweden in the sense that there is no generally recognized story of a historical commitment to anti-fascism nor to antiracism.  

The presentation focuses on emerged counter action against anti-immigration racism that is spread by both parliamentary and non-parliamentary far-right. The paper explores accounts by people who have actively challenged different forms of anti-immigration racism and fascism outside of parliamentary politics either as individuals or as members of grassroots groups. Theoretically and methodologically the paper is informed by critical research on race and racism as well as by feminist discussions on intersectionality. The paper is based on an interview-data and bears a two-fold objective. First, it explores gendered, classed and racialized underpinnings that shape the understanding of racism in counter-activities to anti-immigration racism. Second, it explores how the interviewees from varying intersectional positions narrate their engagement in and motivation for counter action.