Public defence of thesis with Nina Carlsson
Nina Carlsson defends her thesis “One Nation, One Language? National minority and Indigenous recognition in the politics of immigrant integration”.
Subject: Political Science
Research area: Politics, Economy and the Organisation of Society
Graduate School: Baltic and East European Graduate School (BEEGS)
External reviewer: Anna Triandafyllidou, Professor in sociology, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
Policies regulating immigrant integration constitute a core element of nation-building through the compliance they prescribe with cultural and linguistic norms. The recognition of multiple national belongings in states with national minorities and Indigenous peoples nevertheless challenges majority-centred notions of what integration should entail. Research on connections between integration and recognition, however, has mainly focused on minority substates such as Quebec and Catalonia, where local integration policies align with the respective minority nationalist project, leaving other contexts of recognition largely unexplored.
By employing critical and interpretive approaches to the study of politics, this study aims to explore connections, separations, and synergies between policies of national minority recognition and immigrant integration in Europe. Using a combination of document analysis, interviews, and ethnographic observation, it asks how integration policy produces or counters expressions of majority nationhood in states with recognized minorities, how colonial or imperial legacies shape such policies, and what normative tensions can be identified between the promotion of majority and minority identities. Theoretically, it draws on scholarship on liberal multiculturalism, settler colonial studies, and theories on belonging and boundary-making.
The four articles of this compilation dissertation combine empirical findings with normative questions. States with recognized minorities in EU27 are shown to reproduce majority nationhood through integration, which clashes with minority protection and with some migrants’ aspirations. In Finland, where the Swedish-speaking minority enjoys equal linguistic recognition with the majority, the minority and migrants are shown to mobilize to ensure the implementation of minority elements in the predominantly majority-centred integration. In Indigenous Swedish Sápmi, state-led integration is found to largely reproduce colonial practices, which are nevertheless also occasionally challenged especially through implementation. In Bulgaria, Turkish-speaking, Muslim minorities are othered in society and marginal within integration, even though post-Ottoman Muslim institutions have come to function as spaces of belonging for recent refugees in the state that offers minimal support for integration.
Integration policies are shown to misrecognize minorities and thereby fail to represent the actual heterogeneity faced by migrants. Past and present linguistic, religious, racial, and societal contestations are shown to intersect in complex, layered ways that contemporary monolingual, territory-based models of minority recognition and integration fail to capture. The study’s findings have normative implications for research on minority recognition and integration and call for contextually sensitive perspectives to rethink present policies that serve the goals of majority nation-building rather than mirror actual societal belongings.