Doing equality and difference: representation and alignment in Finnish identification

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Abstract

Using tools from critical discourse analytic approaches informed by systemic functional linguistics, this paper is an examination of how social values – specifically equality values in Finland – are given meaning by differently socially positioned Finnish citizens, and how those meanings are positioned in constructions of identities. The focus of my examination is on how respondents align with different meanings of equality using linguistic resources of engagement and graduation (James R. Martin and Peter R. R. White [2005], The language of evaluation. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan). I conduct my analyses on written texts that were elicited in response to open items on a questionnaire. Respondents include individuals recruited through a national random sample, and individuals with transgendered life experiences and/or Asperger’s diagnoses. I consider how being positioned in the margins by institutionalized norms may interact with representation and alignment of Finnish equality in identification. I also pay attention to how individuals strategically reconcile meanings of equality with other important yet potentially conflicting values, such as national identity, sameness and moderation. I discuss the implications of the study in relation to the historical path of equality, and in terms of how particular formulations of equality may contribute to building and maintaining relations of domination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-755
Number of pages23
JournalText & Talk
Volume36
Issue number6
Early online date20 Sept 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016

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