Anti-racist contentions in the Baltic Sea region – a study of anti-racist activists' interplay with politicians and civil servants


The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies

Project type


The on-going refugee crisis and recent years’ electoral successes for right-wing parties with anti-migration stances have in many European countries led to an increase in antiracist mobilizations. Anti-racist activists have rallied for refugees’ rights and taken part in voluntary work with newly arrived immigrants.

This project investigates the interplay between anti-racist activists, politicians, and civil servants during significant campaigns of the anti-racist movement in four countries of the Baltic Sea region: Finland, Germany, Poland, and Sweden. While Germany and Sweden both have a tradition of extensive immigration, Finland and Poland have had more restrictive immigration policies.The study’s main goal is to contribute to a better understanding of the relation between contemporary social movements and established actors within the political system. In particular, the project aims to describe the key factors that promote or discourage contacts and collaboration between activists and politicians/civil servants.

Four types of actors will be analysed: politicians, civil servants, ‘moderate’ activists, and ‘radical’ activists. While ‘radical’ activists tends to be sceptical towards contacts with state representatives and prefer more conflict-oriented strategies, the ‘moderate’ activists tends to see contacts with institutionalized politics as necessary.

The project will generate new knowledge and theoretical insights about why interplay between civil society actors and institutionalized politics sometimes occur and other times do not. The project will also deepen our knowledge of the relation between state and civil society in contemporary democratic societies in the Baltic Sea region and in Eastern Europe, and cast light on contemporary conflicts about minority groups’ conditions and rights in this region.

Grzegorz Piotrowski - Forskarassistent
School of Social Science

Mari Kuukkanen - Postdoktor
School of Social Science

Jan Jämte
(Örebro University)

Research area / geographic area

Social Sciences Sociology Politics, Economy and the Organisation of Society Social sciences Baltic Eastern Europe

Project time

2017 — 2020


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