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Suburban encounters: super-diversity, diasporic relationality and everyday practices in the Nordic context

Publication Illustration
Huttunen, Laura & Juntunen, Marko.
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Year of Publication

Grounded in long-term ethnographic fieldwork, this paper discusses the micropolitics of diversification in Varissuo, a suburb in south-western Finland, from the point of view of three resident groups: the ‘Finns’, the ‘diasporans’ and the ‘second generation’ migrant youth. The specific character of the suburb has emerged from its rapid transition from a Finnish-populated working-class suburb to a multicultural milieu, and because of the contacts that many of its inhabitants have with the conflicts that plague the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and Central Asia.

The paper’s main argument is that the analysis of super-diversity and everyday multiculturalism benefits significantly from an engaged analysis of the ways in which active transnational or diasporic relations, maintained by migrant populations, feed into group formation in countries of settlement in the West. Political tensions, conflicts and contestations in migrants’ countries of origin travel into communities in countries of settlement through interactions enabled by new technologies, visits to countries of origin, and new cohorts of asylum seekers and other immigrants who arrive fresh from these crises. Such processes feed into the diversification and create important lines of differentiation within groups that are often understood as ‘ethnic’ or ‘national’.