Integrating a traditional minority into a Nordic society: Elite discourse on the Finnish Roma


  • Camilla Nordberg


Contemporary citizenship studies have been more concerned with the theory and philosophy of citizenship than with empirical studies. The general objective of this contribution is to broaden the understanding of how notions of citizenship are constructed and re-valued in the social world. The study draws on a qualitative analysis of political elite discourse on Romani issues in the Finnish Parliament from 1989-2003. How issues concerning the Roma are debated elucidates the dilemmas of universal rights and duties within the Nordic welfare model, and the possibilities for cultural diversity within this framework. While the Finnish parliamentary debate accentuated tolerance and the acceptance of difference as strengthening factors for Finnish social citizenship, it was not before the new millennium that the political discourse changed to increasingly stress notions of discrimination and structural inequalities in relation to the incapability to provide for a full an inclusive citizenship as regards the Romani minority.