Measuring acceptance? - Intermarriage levels as an indicator of tolerance in the Finnish context of integration

Article English OPEN
Maaria Ylänkö (2000)
  • Publisher: Population Research Institute of Väestöliitto
  • Journal: Finnish Yearbook of Population Research (issn: 1796-6183, eissn: 1796-6191)
  • Subject: Social Sciences | H | Demography. Population. Vital events | HB848-3697

Beyond surveys on racist prejudices there are always underlying assumptions about what are the worsening factors of rejection. The influence of these presuppositions on interpreting the results only comes up when an alternative approach is introduced. lt would seem that national traditions do have a role to play in this: the Anglo-Saxon approach of the Chicago School is marked by pragmatic interests on the mechanisms of rejection by racist motives. Especially the negative image of a Black person occupies a central methodological role. Elsewhere, within the Durkheimian tradition of French sociology; neither "race '' nor "ethnicity" has been accepted as the basic constructive unit of society. In other words, the ultimate source of social cohesion - and exciusion - cannot be reduced to an issue of "ethnic relations ". Therefore it is not enough to fix ones interest on measuring negative ''ethnic attitudes" and rejection without paying attention to the coexisting mechanisms of inclusion. The approach briefly introduced in this article stems from the Durkheimian tradition of sociology and anthropology of viewing the integration of immigrants as a gradual process towards assimilation or isolation, eventually segregation. The Durkheimian preference on assimilation is not understood within the Anglo-Saxon tradition of research which gives priority to respecting ethnic differences. As a new recipient country of immigrants from the Third World, Finland pro vides an example where the prospects of integration of immigrants at times show contradictory tendencies depending on what is examined: integration to the labour market may be difficult but there seems to exist no equivalent obstacle in Finnish attitudes towards intermarriage. The prospects of integration of stigmatised minorities is therefore also a matter of an ideological perspective.
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