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Reading: Language and Negotiation of Identities Among Young Kurds in Finland

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Language and Negotiation of Identities Among Young Kurds in Finland

Author:

Mari Toivanen

Department of Social Research/Sociology, University of Turku, FI
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Abstract

This study looks at the role of language in negotiations of identity among a generation of Kurds, who have grown up in Finland. What strategies and emotional attachments does the use of different languages entail? How are identities constructed through linguistic repertoires? The data consists of twenty-three thematic interviews conducted with Kurds from the Kurdistan region of Iran, Iraq and Turkey, as well as observation data. Language forms a central component for feeling “Kurdish”. Belonging to Finland is constructed through mastering the Finnish language, whereas identification with “Finnishness” seems to be out of reach due to racialized notions of physical difference. These (non-)belongings are strategically performed and produced by combining multilingual repertoires with culturally justified codes of behavior.
How to Cite: Toivanen, M., 2013. Language and Negotiation of Identities Among Young Kurds in Finland. Nordic Journal of Migration Research, 3(1), pp.27–35. DOI: http://doi.org/10.2478/v10202-012-0010-z
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Published on 01 Mar 2013.
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