Postethnic Activism in the Neo-Liberal Era: Antiracist Feminist and Queer of Colour Mobilizations in the Nordic Region

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Suvi KESKINEN, University of Helsinki, Finland
During the last decade, retreat from multiculturalism and othering narratives of Muslims and non-western minorities have characterized media and political discussions in many European countries. Racialized minorities have been framed as problematic outsiders claimed to separate themselves in ‘parallel societies’ and enhance illiberal cultures. Simultaneously, profound changes have occurred in conditions for political action. Neoliberal political rationality implies an emphasis on individualization and entrepreneurialism, but has also brought fore a call for civil society actors, such as NGOs and political subjects seen to embody diversity, in the public sphere.

This presentation examines postethnic activism in which people mobilize on basis of their racialized minority position in the society rather than on ethnic group membership. Based on interview, observation and media data gathered in Sweden, Denmark and Finland, the presentation explores the new forms of organizing that antiracist feminists and queer of colour activists have developed in these countries. Several newly established networks and social media platforms have mobilized especially young people, who are born and raised in the Nordic countries but not accepted as part of the national (white) community. Young feminists and queer of colour activists have established platforms developed ‘by us for us’, often using separatist strategies in relation to gender, sexuality and/or race/ethnicity. But several of them also write in mainstream media, creating new public spaces as journalists, columnists or commentators (often on temporary basis). This presentation discusses the variety of strategies that antiracist feminists and queer activists of colour have adopted, as well as the neoliberal, gendered and racialized power relations within which this activism navigates.