Immigration and ethnic diversity in Finnish and Dutch Magazines (Pehmeäkantinen kirja)

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Immigration and multicultural societies are debated all over the Western world nowadays. As a result of globalisation people are expected to move more and faster than ever. At the same time, when actual individuals move and new groups of people and ideas encounter each other, the more the 'old' or the 'already existing' paradigms within a society are challenged. Within societies, this social insecurity most often leads to ponderings concerning the society itself: what are the constructions of the society and who are its members? Which new members is the society willing to let in and on what conditions? How is the society to treat those minorities already forming part of it?

This research discusses how popular and organisational magazines in Finland and in the Netherlands are taking part in this debate in 2003-2006. Discourses of immigration and ethnic diversity and articulations of immigrants and people belonging to ethnic minorities in general news magazines Suomen Kuvalehti and Elsevier, construction trade union magazines Rakentaja and Bouw, women's magazines Me Naiset and Libelle and seniors' magazines ET and Plus Magazine are analysed. When writing about these issues, magazines are articulating representations of people, including ideas of who they are and what kind of qualities they have.

These articulations offer subject positions to immigrant and ethnic minority actors: selections of socially defined identity categories and qualities that are ascribed to people in the texts and that carry an idea of to which group people belong. Magazines not only aim at strengthening a national community, but also or especially the community that consists of their readers. In so doing, magazine texts construct symbolic communities that can be inclusive or exclusive towards immigrants and ethnic minorities. This has real effects on the lives of the people, since the role of the media is important in how these people are treated in encounters outside the media, as well as in the wider public opinions on these groups.

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