Publications / Julkaisut


Kurki, Tuuli (2021) Valkoisen etuoikeuden tunnistaminen on avain valkoisen ylivallan purkamiseksi: Kirja-arvio: Layla F. Saad (2020) Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World. Sukupuolentutkimus2021(2), 63-67.

Kurki, Tuuli & Brunila, Kristiina (Accepted/In press). Colonial imaginaries and psy-expertise on migrant and refugee mental health in education. In J. McLeod, & K. O’Connor (Eds.), Temporality and place in educational research: Looking beyond local/global binaries. Routledge.

Education has become, rather unproblematically, a site for mental health management, with policies and educational implementation strategies that identify and support students’ mental health. When it comes to migrant and refugee students, school-based therapeutic and psychologically oriented support is increasing both in the Global North and South. Not surprisingly, teachers are said to be on the front line in identifying mental health issues and recommending treatment pathways for migrant and refugee students.

Through an investigation of workshops provided for in-service teachers on migrant and refugee students’ mental health, we critically examine the emergence of psy-expertise in education in Finland. We ask 1) in what ways educational discourses are underpinned by ‘colonial imaginaries’ that shape the subjectivities of migrant and refugee students and their mental health; 2) how colonial imaginaries, that are profoundly racialised, are maintained in education; and 3) how silence on racism can actually further racialise and pathologise the very students, education intends to support.

Our analysis shows that mental health support enacted in educational settings – regardless of its good intentions – can actually maintain colonial imaginaries held about people of colour and, as such, be problematic from the perspective of migrant and refugee students’ mental health. The chapter challenges also the silence around racism and mental health, as, regardless of migrant and refugee students experiencing racism and Islamophobia in school, the support provided for them focuses on individual- and group-based pedagogical solutions, such as emotional pedagogy and developing skills and competencies, such as resilience and self-esteem.

Previous publications discussing racism and young people

Kurki, Tuuli & Brunila, Kristiina & Lahelma, Elina (2019) Constituting immigrant care workers through gendering and racialising practices in education. Nordic Journal of Migration Research9(3), 329-345.

The focus of this paper is to examine how immigrants become constituted as ideal care workers in educational settings. By analysing the everyday practices in two educational contexts in the Helsinki metropolitan area, Finland, the authors explore how these practices that are influenced by the national and transnational immigration and integration policy, regardless of their well-meant actions, can gender and racialise students with immigrant status.

Suomeksi: Tutkimme artikkelissa kuinka oppilaitosten arjessa maahanmuuttajastatuksella opiskelevista opiskelijoista rakennetaan “ihanteellisia hoivatyöntekijöitä”. Analysoimalla arkisia käytäntöjä kahdessa pääkaupunkiseudulla sijaitsevassa oppilaitoksessa, tarkastelemme miten nämä käytännöt, joihin vaikuttaa kansallinen ja kansainvälinen maahanmuutto- ja kotouttamispolitiikka, voivat hyvää tarkoittavista toimistaan huolimatta sukupuolittaa ja rodullistaa maahanmuuttajiksi nimettyjä opiskelijoita.

Kurki, T. (2019). Immigrant-ness as (mis)fortune? Immigrantisation through integration policies and practices in education. University of Helsinki.

The dissertation examines how integration policies and practices in education function and participate in the making of immigrant subjectivities. Drawing on two ethnographic studies from a lower secondary school and pre-vocational training for immigrants (MAVA programme) in the Helsinki metropolitan area, Finland, it asks: how does integration function in education as a form of policy and practice; how do integration policies and practices in education designed to enhance integration of immigrants serve to constitute immigrant subjectivities and with what consequences; and how do gendering and racialising dynamics intersect in integration policies and practices in education.

The data produced include interviews with 20 students (named as immigrants by the education system and beyond) and 14 education professionals working with them, observation notes, over 90 policy documents related to immigration, integration and education, and other data, such as teaching and learning materials and media texts. Methodologically, the dissertation both builds on and challenges feminist ethnographic research. Theoretically, it relates to the postcolonial and poststructural theoretisations and utilises the concepts of subjectification and racialisation with intersectional frame. The dissertation arrives at four main findings.

The dissertation argues that while the official, well-intentioned aim of integration is to make people named as immigrants active and equal members of Finnish society, to prevent their social exclusion, and decrease their unemployment, integration measures actually reinforce rather than redresses marginalisation and exclusion of people named as immigrants. For example, despite the investment in integration, the employment situation of immigrants remains chronic and racism is a constant part of everyday life of racialised people. Second, the dissertation argues that education officially promotes multiculturalism and tolerance, and aims to achieve equality. In practice, however, education participates in creating racial and gendered segregation both in education and in the labour market. For example, pushing immigrants in general, and young immigrant women in particular, to the care sector regardless of their personal interests, experiences and needs, simply because they are considered to be immigrants (and young and women), is interpreted in the dissertation as exploitative racism. Third, the dissertation shows that while policymakers and the majority population, including education professionals, do not consider the term “immigrant” insulting but a neutral term, simply capturing people from “other cultures”, people named as immigrants interpreted the term as stigmatising and equivalent to inferiority: in oftentimes to be named as an immigrant meant to be worth less than. This injurious naming was resisted, for example, by naming the self and others in the “inner circle” with self-chosen terms in order to escape the racialised subject position as immigrants. Fourth, the dissertation develops a concept of immigrantisation to describe how through integration policies and practices in education a group of people from various backgrounds, experiences, interests and needs become constituted and treated as one, as immigrants. The process of immigrantisation can be, however, resisted and troubled to open ways to act against the expected, “suitable”, gendered and racialised integration routes, and as such, against the racist integration policies and practices.

Kurki, T., Masoud, A., Niemi, A-M., & Brunila, K. (2018). Integration Becoming Business: Marketisation of Integration Training for Immigrants. European Educational Research Journal17(2), 233-247.

Today, education is massively affected by marketisation and the drastic demands of the global economy. Integration training for immigrants has fallen prey to that; immigrants are employed to serve market needs, which has been attributed to the creation of “integration as business”. In the article, the authors examine how integration training for immigrants becomes organised within the current market-oriented policies and practices; which kinds of discourses are represented and utilised through which one becomes an “integrated immigrant” and; what kinds of consequences this orientation has on the subjects involved in integration training. By bringing examples from their ethnographic data on integration training for immigrants, the authors investigate the ways in which marketisation of integration training implies and elicits certain kinds of immigrant and teacher subjectivities, and analyse the ways in which these subjectivities become produced through the plural and contingent discursive practices across different sites of integration.

Suomeksi: Markkinoituminen ja globaalin talouden vaatimukset vaikuttavat tänä päivänä massiivisesti koulutukseen. Maahanmuuttajien kotoutumiskoulutus on tullut osaksi tätä muutosta, mikä on johtanut kotoutumisen muuttumista liiketoiminnaksi käyttäen maahanmuuttajia palvelemaan markkinoiden tarpeita. Tarkastelemme artikkelissa, kuinka maahanmuuttajien kotoutumiskoulutus järjestetään nykyisten markkinalähtöisten politiikkojen ja käytäntöjen puitteissa, millaisia ​ diskursseja markkinoilla edustetaan ja hyödynnetään, ja joiden kautta muokataan ”kotoutuneita maahanmuuttajia”; millaisia ​​seurauksia tällä markkinoitumissuuntauksella on kotoutumiskoulutukseen osallistuviin yksilöihin. Tuomalla esimerkkejä etnografisesta aineistosta ​​maahanmuuttajien kotoutumiskoulutuksesta tarkastelemme tapoja, joilla kotoutumiskoulutuksen markkinoille saattaminen merkitsee ja rakentaa tietyntyyppisiä maahanmuuttaja- ja opettaja-subjekteja, ja analysoimme tapoja, joilla näitä subjekteja tuotetaan ehdollisina diskursiivisia käytäntöjen kautta kotouttamisen eri osa-alueilla.