‘As a Native Person, Why Should I Adapt?’: A Multimethod Approach to Majority Finns’ Attitudes Towards Multiculturalism



Multiculturalism is a controversial concept and a debated topic. To develop scientific analysis and inform political discussions, it is important to study how lay people evaluate it. Previous research has mostly regarded attitudes towards multiculturalism as unidimensional. This research often relies on the operationalisation offered by the Multicultural Ideology Scale (MIS), in which minorities’ cultural maintenance and acceptance of cultural diversity are central. In this multimethod study, we take a critical perspective on such operationalisation and examine majority of Finns’ responses to MIS in a survey and in focus group discussions. By approaching evaluation processes as social interaction, we challenge the unidimensionality assumption of attitudes towards multiculturalism. We show how cultural essentialism and nationalism are used in arguing for and against multiculturalism, and in negotiating its boundaries so that the majority can keep its dominant position. This conflicts with recognition and equality that are widely considered as cornerstones of multiculturalism.


MulticulturalismAttitudesQualitative methodsAcculturationIntergroup relationsLay discourse
  • Year: 2020
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 2
  • Page/Article: 20–35
  • DOI: 10.33134/njmr.135
  • Submitted on 1 Apr 2020
  • Accepted on 1 Apr 2020
  • Published on 28 May 2020
  • Peer Reviewed