The Integration Spectacle: Migration, politics, and multiculturalism in a Finnish suburb

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Abstract: Migration politics in Finland are centered around “social integration” and “multiculturalism.” While the stated aims of such politics are equality and social mobility, the results are oft en contradictory, perpetuating the hierarchies and inequalities they propose to overcome. Utilizing Guy Debord’s notion of the “society of the spectacle,” I argue that there is a neoliberal Integration Spectacle that projects the appearance of societal change but is, in reality, an immobilizing force that works to obscure a particular racialized social order. I draw on my fi eld-work in and around Varissuo, an international working-class suburb on the edge of Turku, western Finland, to analyze how both migrant residents of the area and the professionals within the so-called integration economy engage with, reproduce, and deal with this discrepancy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalFocaal - Journal of global and historical anthropology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 May 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Finland
  • migration
  • politics
  • social immobility
  • spectacle

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


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