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Invisible Immigrants, Visible Expats?: Americans in Finnish discourses on immigration and internationalization

Author:

Johanna Leinonen

Turku Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Turku, FI
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Abstract

This article examines contemporary immigration discourses in Finland using experiences of immigrants originating from the United States as a case study. This research shows that the notion of an “immigrant” (maahanmuuttaja) is a highly racialized and class-based category in Finland. The difficulties of finding work that fits Americans’ educational qualifications and their discouraging experiences of speaking “broken Finnish” reveal the fluidity of the division between foreigners who are seen as immigrants and those who are not. A specific lens through which these questions are tackled is immigrant visibility, which is defined not only in visual terms but also in audible terms through language use and as “non-sensorial” visibility at the level of discourses. The study argues that the politics of visibility is an important mechanism of labeling foreigners as “immigrants” in Finland.
How to Cite: Leinonen, J., 2012. Invisible Immigrants, Visible Expats?: Americans in Finnish discourses on immigration and internationalization. Nordic Journal of Migration Research, 2(3), pp.213–223. DOI: http://doi.org/10.2478/v10202-011-0043-8
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Published on 01 Sep 2012.
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