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Navigating whiteness from the margins: Finnish, Somali, and Arabic speakers' experiences of racialization, (in)visibility, and (im)mobility in Gothenburg, Sweden
Institute for Language and Folklore, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8583-7499
University of Gothenburg, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0117-9458
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Swedish Language.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5539-739X
University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
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2024 (English)In: Multilingua - Journal of Cross-cultural and Interlanguage Communication, ISSN 0167-8507, E-ISSN 1613-3684, Vol. 43, no 1, p. 119-150Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper examines the relationship between language, (in)visibility, and (im)mobility in racialized spaces, focusing on Finnish, Somali, and Arabic speakers in Sweden. Using a theoretical framework based on hegemonic whiteness and intersectionality, the study explores how multilingual practices and subjectivities intersect with race, religion, gender, and class to shape social visibility and mobility. The research draws on linguistic ethnographic data, including interviews, linguistic landscape documentation, and an analysis of the media discourse. The study finds that while Finnish speakers have become invisible due to assimilation policies, Somali and Arabic speakers are hypervisible in Swedish public spaces and discourse, although Arabic speakers are sometimes, and in relation to other migrants, nearing Swedish whiteness. However, all three languages and their speakers are constrained by a white normativity that reproduces inequality. The paper challenges simplistic notions of mobility/immobility and visibility/invisibility in the context of a changing racial order in Sweden, where whiteness serves as a binary sorting mechanism that perpetuates inequality. Overall, this research sheds light on the complex entanglement of language, visibility, and mobility in white spaces and contributes to a more nuanced understanding of the intersectional dynamics of race and language. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Mouton de Gruyter, 2024. Vol. 43, no 1, p. 119-150
Keywords [en]
migration, mobility, multilingualism, visibility, whiteness
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-52919DOI: 10.1515/multi-2023-0075ISI: 001113127700001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85179061450OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-52919DiVA, id: diva2:1822405
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2018-01169Available from: 2023-12-22 Created: 2023-12-22 Last updated: 2024-01-15Bibliographically approved

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Wojahn, Daniel

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • vancouver
  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
  • apa-old-doi-prefix.csl
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