SEMINAR: Re-framing gender and sexual equality in Finnish online discussion on immigration

SEMINAR: Re-framing gender and sexual equality in Finnish online discussion on immigration

The Power, Discourse and Society Research Cluster @UL and CUES present a joint seminar on Tuesday November 18th at 1pm in F0130

Re-framing gender and sexual equality in Finnish online discussion on immigration

Dr. Tuuli Lähdesmäki, (Visiting Scholar from the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland) 

Abstract: 
In recent decades, European societies have faced the rise of extreme right-wing activity, populist movements, and anti-immigrant or 'culturally racist' political parties. In Finland as elsewhere in Europe, the populist discussions on multiculturalism and immigration have become harder as the debates have intensified, particularly in the social media. In these debates, anti-immigration-minded, xenophobic, Islamophobic, heteronormative, homophobic, and misogynist opinions commonly mingle. The populist discourses on gender and sexuality include, however, contradictory elements. On the one hand, the populist discourses are often deeply conservative in fostering the idea of nuclear family, traditional gender roles, and hierarchical gender binarity. On the other hand, gender equality and gay rights can be explicitly supported when the values promoted in the populist discourses are facing 'bigger threats': immigration and Islam. In the paper, the populist articulations of the gender and sexual equality are investigated by focusing on the contradictions in the online debates on gender, sexuality, and immigration. How are sexual and gender equality re-framed in nationalist anti-immigration-minded online debates, and how are the notions of sexuality and gender fixed in order to object immigration? The investigation focuses on an article on Muslim homosexuals, published in the leading Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat in March 2013, and the discussion that followed in blogs and online discussion fora. The paper indicates how the subjects of sexual and gender equality are produced, and illustrates the ability of populist rhetoric to adopt topics, agendas, and ideologies from other discourses and re-frame them for promoting its political aims.

All are welcome

Enquiries to eoin.devereux@ul.ie