New kinds of activism has emerged in the Nordic countries, in which mobilisation occurs on basis of being racialised as ‘other’ or non-white (by the surrounding society) instead of organising around ethnic group membership. This ‘postethnic activism’ has developed through social media platforms, local action groups, residence area based activities and art movements. In societies where the racial formation has been based on white hegemony the response in the public sphere has been divided: while some media sources have provided space for the activists to contribute with texts and programmes, the challenging of taken-for-granted notions of nation, race and gender has also led to harsh attacks on individual activists and (what is perceived as) identity politics. Based on interview, observation and media data gathered in Sweden, Denmark and Finland, this presentation examines how the activists through a development of autonomous spaces with their own rules/focus and interventions to mainstream media platforms are changing the racial politics and the politicisation of the social in the Nordic countries. While there is a tendency, in the neoliberal post-racial era, to de-politicise and individualise social inequalities, the activists are creating knowledges that re-politicise questions of race, class and gender. Simultaneously they are developing social imaginaries of alternative futures, building on ideas of the ‘past in present’ and the ‘future in present’.
Suvi Keskinen (University of Helsinki ) is Academy of Finland Research Fellow and Professor at the Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki in Finland. Her research interests include postcolonial feminism, critical race and whiteness studies, politics of belonging, political activism, welfare state and violence. Keskinen has published several books and edited Special Issues, as well as journal articles in for example Social Politics, Ethnicities, Nordic Journal of Migration Research, Social Identities and Journal of Intercultural Studies. She is co-editor of the books Complying with Colonialism. Gender, Race and Ethnicity in the Nordic Region(2009, Ashgate) and Undoing Homogeneity in the Nordic Region. Migration, Difference and the Politics of Solidarity(2019, Routledge).