History, Place and Belonging on a Swedish-speaking Island in Finland



This article brings together the themes of identi cation, belonging, and community. Based on ethnographic research on a small island in Finland with a majority of Swedish-speakers, it provides a distinctive approach to the research on the minority, which has often focussed on quantitative measures of identity and ethnicity, positioned against the Finnish- speaking majority. The article carefully unpicks markers of identi cation and commonality, while illuminating contradictions and tensions within the community. The article contributes to theoretical debates on identity, belonging, and community, by bringing them together, thus illuminating the way in which identi cations, commonalities, connectedness, and groupness shape how participants view themselves and others. It also provides a knowledge contribution to existing conceptions of Swedish- speaking Finns, by providing a case study of a subset of the minority that challenges the often uncritical use of the word identity in debates about the minority. It demonstrates the importance of grappling with the complexities of identi cation, not content with stating that the minority is diverse but showing how this diversity can be manifested.

Keywords: belonging, identification, Swedish-speaking Finns, community, connectedness

Jun 9, 2021

How to Cite

Terje, A. (2021). History, Place and Belonging on a Swedish-speaking Island in Finland. Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 45(3), 4–29. https://doi.org/10.30676/jfas.v45i3.95586