Migration, multiculturalism and borders
Migration is one of the key processes transforming today's world. It challenges established concepts of cultural borders and ethnicity and creates new forms of inclusion and exclusion. Increased immigration has brought questions of ethnicity and multiculturalism into the spotlight of social discussion in Finland as well. The focus areas of migration research include the everyday lives of transnational families; various methods and processes of transnational attachment and integration; and the control of migration. The study of transnational phenomena and processes is itself transnational as regards its methodology and premises, and frequently comparative, challenging the methodological nationalism of social sciences.
Social research in the multiculturalisation of everyday life focuses on the methods with which families, educational institutions, working life, recreational communities and the settings of civic life meet and resolve questions related to the cultural diversification of everyday life.
Migration research also studies the capabilities of Finnish welfare policy and the institutions that execute that policy to face the challenges created by multiculturalisation. Areas of interest include questions of immigration, integration, education and youth policy as well as citizenship. The subjects of migration research also include issues of equality between the sexes and generations as well as between social, religious and ethnic groups, and the interweaving of questions of equality.
Racism research focuses on everyday conflict, institutional forms of racism, the discriminatory practices of authorities, attitudes suspicious of multiculturalism, and prejudices. The study of the significance and consequences of international mobility for everyday social relations, institutional structures and in the context of education, work and relationships between the genders and generations is a traditional strength of the department's academic subjects.
Several borders and border regions of the European Union, Eastern Finland included, are particularly affected by the challenges related to work and welfare and service systems. These challenges are built on a complex and extensive web of underlying economic, social and regional developments, including social questions related to the environment and natural resources.
The research on migration, multiculturalism and borders is integrally linked to the top-level international field of research of Borders, Mobilities and Cultural Encounters.