Immigration, multiculturalism and biopolitical projects on ‘difference’: negotiating intersecting social divisions from positions of privilege and disadvantage

Rusten Menard, Jukka Törrönen

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Informed by Foucault’s concept of biopolitics, in this study we examine how lived experiences of privilege and disadvantage may be at play in respondents’ negotiations of Finnish discourses on immigration, multiculturalism and ‘difference’. The main research material was produced by Finnish citizens whose practices around sociability and gender/sex have been formally marked as ‘abnormal’ by welfare state and health care institutions: Asperger’s diagnosed persons and persons with transgender life experiences. We analyse the research material – which was elicited using vignettes – using tools from critical discourse analysis that we implement through an intersectional lens. In their negotiations of the vignettes, participants partly identify with conflicting views. On the one hand, they approach discourses and practices on and around ‘difference’, immigration and multiculturalism through homogenising and subjugating categorisations, viewpoints and assumptions. On the other hand, they also question some of them, leaving potential openings for social transformation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Number of pages23
JournalNordic Journal of Migration Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2023


  • intersectionality
  • critical discourse analysis
  • biopolitics
  • representation
  • psychopathologization

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