Suvi Keskinen studies emerging postethnic activism in Finland
Few people are as knowledgeable on the topic of post-ethnic activism in the Nordic countries as Academy Research Fellow Suvi Keskinen. She is interested in what activism beyond multiculturalism signifies for Nordic societies.
In 2015 Koko Hubara started the blog Ruskeat Tytöt (“Brown Girls”) with the aim to create a platform where she herself could define what racism was and how she felt about it. She wanted to create a community for people like herself, Finns of colour, where one could discuss topics such as racism and identity. The platform expanded and grew into a media portal where brown girls write for other brown girls. Through the portal, Koko Hubara has given a face to racialised persons.
This is an example of the type of post-ethnic activism that Academy Research Fellow Suvi Keskinen studies in her research. This autumn, Keskinen was appointed professor of ethnic relations at the Swedish School of Social Science, but due to her project Postethnic Activism in the Neoliberal Era. Translocal Studies on Political Subjectivities, Alliance-Building and Social Imaginaries, she will hold the post of Academy Research Fellow until the end of August 2019. The project has received funding from the Academy of Finland for the period 2014–2019.
“Today, we have generations in their twenties and thirties who were born here and yet are regarded as ‘others’ by the white majority population because of their looks or their name. They want to define their place in society themselves and not be labelled or categorized by the majority population,” says Keskinen.
Academy researcher Suvi Keskinen at the Swedish School of Social Science has been granted €480,000 by the Academy of Finland for her project “Intersectional Border Struggles and Disobedient Knowledge in Activism”.
Questions of gender, migration and racism have become central matters in current welfare societies.Suvi Keskinen’s research project examines everyday border struggles and collaborative knowledge production in antiracist, feminist and migrant rights activism, with a special focus on how these struggles are shaped by gender, ethnicity, race, class and age.
The project investigates the ‘disobedient knowledge’ arising from social movements and the incorporation of the knowledges of migrants and minorities living their life at the border. By doing so, it aims to identify alternatives to exclusionary nationalism and the now embattled liberal multiculturalism of the public sphere.
The project combines several kinds of qualitative and quantitative data: participatory workshops, interviews, observation, texts, autoethnography and survey. Its major methodological contribution comes from elaborating tools for participatory action research.
Videos on antiracist feminism in Finland
The video Five questions on antiracist feminism (38 min) has been produced as a collaboration between documentarist Carmen Baltzar and Suvi Keskinen, PI of the research project Postethnic Activism in the Neoliberal Era. Translocal Studies on Political Subjectivities, Alliance-building and Social Imaginaries. The video is available for watching and sharing on Youtube in English and Finnish (a Swedish version will follow soon).
In addition to the full-length video, there are also shorter videos introducing each of the five questions. You can watch all the videos at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3sW1wOraKEy_FonFP4M-Jw
The interviewed activists are: Aurora Lemma, Ajak Majok, Hai Nguyen, Victoria Odum, and Arvind Ramachandran.
New book on activism by those racialised as ‘others’ in the Nordic countries out!
The book Mobilising the Racialised ‘Others’. Postethnic Activism, Neoliberalisation and Racial Politics (2022, Routledge) by Suvi Keskinen is out and can be read in Open Access format through the link.
This book provides an original approach to the connections of race, racism and neoliberalisation through a focus on ‘postethnic activism,’ in which mobilisation is based on racialisation as non-white or ‘other’ instead of ethnic group membership.
Developing the theoretical understanding of political activism under the neoliberal turn in racial capitalism and the increasingly hostile political environment towards migrants and racialised minorities, the book investigates the conditions, forms and visions of postethnic activism in three Nordic countries (Denmark, Sweden and Finland). It connects the historical legacies of European colonialism to the current configurations of racial politics and global capitalism.
The book compellingly argues that contrary to the tendencies of neoliberal postracialism to de-politicise social inequalities the activists are re-politicising questions of race, class and gender in new ways. The book is of interest to scholars and students in sociology, ethnic and racial studies, cultural studies, feminist studies and urban studies.