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Bridges over the Åland Sea: Identity and transnationalism among Sweden’s Ålanders
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5123-1357
2008 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Åland Islands are an archipelago in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland that belongs to Finland but has a significant degree of autonomy (e.g. its own legislature) and is officially monolingual Swedish. Ålanders have a unique identity within Finland, separate even from the finlandssvenskar (Swedish Finns) on the mainland. Because of the shared language, Ålanders have always migrated to Sweden in search of work, education, or a new life (and sometimes all three). While statistical data is available that reveals the numbers of Ålanders who have moved to Sweden historically, little is known about their experiences in Sweden and the extent to which their identities as Ålanders change over time. To what extent do they attempt to preserve their connections to Åland and their sense of themselves as Ålanders? To what extent do they actively seek to assimilate into Swedish society and minimize their cultural differences from native-born Swedes? This study investigates the experiences of Ålanders who have moved to Sweden and live in three areas: Stockholm/Uppsala, Göteborg (Gothenburg), and Norrland (northern Sweden). In depth interviews with Ålanders in these three regions explore questions of identity, culture, feelings about and connections to Åland, and assimilation or adaptation. The study pays particular attention to gender differences in the experiences of these migrants and their attachment to their “homeland.” This study contributes to the literatures on migration, transnationalism,  and hybridity, and also facilitates a consideration of the appropriateness of the framework of “whiteness” in this context.

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Human Geography
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-287534OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-287534DiVA: diva2:922891
Multi-Ethnic Studies/Europe and the Americas Annual Conference
Available from: 2016-04-25 Created: 2016-04-25 Last updated: 2016-04-25

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Jansson, David
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Department of Social and Economic Geography
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