Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
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The ideological (re)construction of the position of Swedish in Finland is examined as it took shape during a major year-long debate about the role of Swedish in Finnish education. Data were collected through archival research of the leading national newspapers in the two official languages of Finland: Helsingin Sanomat (Finnish) and Hufvudstadsbladet (Swedish). Circulating and intersecting discourses in newspaper texts are traced in order to examine how these discourses facilitate the negotiation of tensions about the status of Swedish in Finland. Analysis demonstrates how ideological space was opened for destabilizing dominant perspectives about the relative value of languages in Finland. Moreover, it is shown that (re)interpretations of the discourse of ‘Swedish as mandatory’ in education became a fulcrum for leveraging a wider debate about the ‘Finland as bilingual nation’ discourse, which has long been part of the national consciousness.


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