The Challenges of Ethnic Diversity: Is Multiculturalism Successful in Sweden?
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Multiculturalism is a diverse body of knowledge which can still be recognized as a philosophy. Ethnic diversity is one of the crucial concerns in nations across the globe. Culture forms what people do, the manner things are done, and the manner people appreciate what others do. Ethnicity is associated with the prevalence of multiculturalism. Diminished to something eternal, ethnicity is associated with the immigrant cultures and tradition-bound immigrants. In Europe, the word `multiculturalism` has no permanent definition, either in scholarly and cultural discourse, or in daily political debate. Sweden is a lenient nation with a considerate conduct of immigrant problems in the press. The swing to authorized approval of ethnic pluralism as well as the comparatively sudden change from an assimilationist civilization to a “multiculturalist” one during the periods around 1970 matched with other transformations that were not, and could not likely be, perceived by the legislators. The completion of cultural pluralism has occurred in the tradition of Swedish welfare policy, which encompassed comprehensiveness. The Multiculturalism Policy Index is designed to observe the expansion of multiculturalism rulings in over 21 Western states as well as to provide this information in a standardized arrangement that allows comparative study and adds to the awareness of state-minority associations. This paper seeks to determine success of multiculturalism in Sweden.
Multiculturalism is a diverse body of knowledge which can still be recognized as a philosophy (Ellingson, 2009). Multiculturalism is distinguished as a commemoration of ethnocultural diversity, encouraging people to recognize and accept the panoply of traditions, customs, cuisine, and music that is present in a multiethnic community (Kimlycka, 2012). Ethnic diversity is one of the crucial concerns in nations across the globe. Such diversity is the result of the augmenting influx of global factors, goods, as well as knowledge which promoted the global interfaces and collaborations happening within an increasingly varied number of individuals. As globalization increased, the conventional unicultural labor segment has slowly weakened into obscurity. As demographic shifts and technological innovations have now changed the economic landscape in which organizations manage business, globalization has in the same way impacted the current diversified society.
Culture forms what people do, the manner things are done, and the manner people appreciate what others do. Culture dictates that the directions of people`s lives are not merely recognized by individual determination or even individual power. Human beings are formed by long-term methods of transformation and by arrangements such as gender, class, ethnicity, religion, and so forth. Culture makes up the language, cuisine, language, social habits, arts, religion, and music of a group of individuals living together in the same place. Multiculturalism has become extensive in everyday as well as institutional settings in Europe (Alund, 1998). Ethnicity is associated with the prevalence of multiculturalism. Diminished to something eternal, ethnicity is associated with the immigrant cultures and tradition-bound immigrants. Thus, immigrants are recognized as deviant and are linked with discrimination and segregation in every social sphere such as work and housing, education and child care, health care and social services (Alund, 1998). The emphasis on ethnic and cultural differences forms ethnically defined groups as well as distinct social positions. The collection appropriation develops on and reinforces a hierarchical dichotomy between Swedish and ethnic, modern and conventional (Alund, 1998). The idea of integration is related to modernization or development. Cultural diversity is associated with ethnocentric manner to a superior Swedish culture, thereby signifying a natural order. Multiculturalism has recently declined at the level of policy and theory (Christensen, 2012).
In Europe, the word `multiculturalism` has no permanent definition, either in scholarly and cultural discourse, or in daily political debate (Runblom, 1994). Multiculturalism is often employed to refer to an event characterized by a number of cultures, ethnic groups, languages and religions. However, the term likewise has a normative purpose. In this regard it pertains to an ideal event of diplomatic coexistence among groups or individuals of different origin (Runblom, 1994). In the Swedish contention, this concept usually has a positive implication, whereas in Germany, the introduction multiculturalism (Multikulturalismus) has not been accepted in the same manner (Runblom, 1994). European nations differ in the manner they describe themselves as immigration nations. There has been a subconscious propensity to overlook or hold back the reality that immigration has transpired for many years and put its footprints on culture and population.
In several nations, Sweden is viewed as a social laboratory as well as a model welfare country with practical social solutions (Runblom, 1994). In the United States, Sweden obtained such standing in the 1930s, majority to the advantage of Marquis Childs, who issued Sweden: The Middle Way in 1936 (Runblom, 1994). In Swedes` sense of self, Sweden is a lenient nation with a considerate conduct of immigrant problems in the press (Runblom, 1994). Nevertheless, no one is pleased with the way relations among immigrants and greater number of population have emerged. There is unemployment, a propensity toward separation in housing and schools, an augmenting income gap, as well as signs of open hostility (Runblom, 1994).
Throughout history, is there really success in multiculturalism in Sweden? To answer this question, this paper traces the history of multiculturalism Sweden, the developments that have transpired in recent years, and the ongoing multiculturalism situation in the country. In delving deeper into the historical context of multiculturalism in Sweden, this paper seeks to uncover how immigration and other factors contributed to the ethnic and cultural diversity in the country. The use of past and current studies from different researchers will be used to provide evidence as to whether or not there is success in multiculturalism in Sweden over the years. What are the patterns of transformation in multiculturalism policies as well as integration policies in Europe? Is there a sudden bend in the course of European history? Or is transformation happening mainly through a growth process signified by conversion, drift, and layering?
This paper`s focus is not mainly on the impacts of multiculturalism guidelines, but on the more fundamental question which is how policies been in retreat or change greatly at the rhetorical level than in the policy level. Specifically, has the increase of civic incorporation policies come at the cost of multiculturalism policies? Using the Multiculturalism Policy Index, decline in multiculturalism will be studied in two ways. First, an argument will be made concerning the retreat from multiculturalism in Sweden, if any, and second, an argument surrounding the persistent growth of multiculturalism policies that is not essentially irreconcilable with civic incorporation.
The study of Multiculturalism in Sweden is based on the theory and practice which suggests that MCPs or multicultural policies can add to citizenization (Kymlicka, 2012). However, the historical record postulates that certain events must be in place for it to have its designed impacts.
In the past, Sweden has not been an immigration nation but a country of emigration, because over one million Swedes transferred to North America from the middle part of the19th century to 1930 (Premat, 2010). In 1930, Sweden was still a very homogeneous nation. The 1930 Swedish survey documented less than 1% “foreign stock” however this figure incorporated Lapps and Finns (Premat, 2010). The picture shifted from World War II.
Immigration to Sweden can be categorized into five stages: From 1938 to 1948, immigrants came from adjacent nation, including Norwegian and Danish Jews, and a number of refugees from the Baltic nations (Premat, 2010). From 1949 to 1971, there was work immigration from Finland as well as southern Europe including Greece and Yugoslavia (Premat, 2010). Sweden formally stopped work immigration from nations that are non-Nordic in 1972, as majority of European nations did (Premat, 2010). From 1972 to 1989, on the other hand, immigration surges persisted due to family reunification. In addition, asylum seekers hailed from developing nations and from Eastern Europe (Premat, 2010). From the 1990`s to 2008, immigration was made up of asylum seekers from southeast as well as Eastern Europe and of the free movement of EU individuals in the European Union (Premat, 2010). In 2008, Sweden has opted to re-open doors to work immigration. The new system is somehow generous than other European nations. Merely based on management needs for competency, it will enable workers from nations aside from European to be given a permanent residence license after four years of employment (Premat, 2010). In 2008, based on Statistics Sweden, 17.9% of the population had international origins and 6.1% were foreigners and about 20% of the population “have origins in another country and another culture” (Premat, 2010).
From 1851-1930, 1 million to 5 million Swedes left the country in the hope of achieving a better life, almost wholly in the USA (Opper, 1983). The number of expatriates can be proportionate to Sweden`s overall population of 6-1 million during the 1930 of 6-1 million (Opper, 1983). Immigration to Sweden in the 1930s led mainly from the arrival of a number of Swedish Americans. Further, in the 1940s, immigration increased significantly due to the arrival of political immigrants, particularly from the Baltic States. Work force immigration became significant during the 1950s, and it persisted until it hit the highest point at the end of the 1960s (Opper, 1983). Notwithstanding the reality that Swedish companies recruited actively in nations including Greece, the biggest groups of immigrants that migrated to seek employment in Sweden were from other Nordic nations (Opper, 1983). In addition, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway have had a universal labour market ever since 1954. Political immigrants increased work force immigration during the 1950s-1960s and persisted into the 1970s after the number of individuals coming to work in Sweden loosened significantly. In 1967 Sweden submitted a law that necessitated all non-Nordic people to have obtained work permits as well as accommodation prior to entry into the country. Labour force immigration almost ended in 1971 as labour groups became strict with work licenses (Opper, 1983). Refugees migrated to Hungary to avoid the conflicts in 1956 and to Czechoslovakia in 1968 and to a degree from nations in Africa. Migration of political immigrants from Latin America and Asia has been more apparent during the 1970s (Opper, 1983). The effect of these patterns was such that by 1975, out of 8-2 million in Sweden, 550,451 of the people had been born in other nations (Opper, 1983). Almost 50% of them had come from Scandinavian or European nations. In 1975, a legislative commission was assigned to amend the Immigration Act of 1954 because the latter does not prove successful in directing immigration. In 1980, another legislative commission had to be assigned with approximately the same directive. It issued its final statement in 1982 (Opper, 1983).
Global postwar immigration has made pertinent the question on how to offer good situations for the coexistence of civilizations in European nations. This is applicable for both Western as well as Eastern Europe (Runblom, 1994). In Northern and Western Europe, first intra-European work migration, followed by the invasion of immigrants from Latin America, Africa, and Asia have altered the ethnic mix (Runblom, 1994 Opper, 1983). Immigration has resulted to the opening of new religions as well as opened opportunities for languages barely spoken previously in the receiving nations. The great number of nationality groups is remarkable. Sweden has obtained immigration on a worldwide scale and counts over 100 citizenship groups (Runblom, 1994). This is a comparatively high figure, however immigration has significantly altered the situation in almost all European nations. This likewise holds true for the Baltic nations and other past nations in the Soviet Union (Runblom, 1994). Proportionally, Estonia has recorded the biggest immigration, primarily Russians and Slavic groups, and has almost certainly experienced the biggest population turnover of the entire European nations following the postwar era. In Latvia and Estonia, the impact of Soviet migration policy has led to a radically declining share of the national people (Runblom, 1994). In Western Europe, despite the fact that, the merely demographic impacts of immigration have not been excessively spectacular, since, migration failed to notice the European inhabitants has roughly had zero expansion during the last years. As an alternative, the significant changes have instead to do with the national, human, as well as cultural contents of the people (Runblom, 1994). The proportion of foreigners is an approximate measure of the transformations. The percentage of noncitizens is a flawed appraise of the heterogeneity, although, due to immigrants who have turned out to be established should also be taken into consideration. This figure is comparatively high in Sweden, which has a somewhat active view of nationality (Runblom, 1994).
In elucidating how Sweden has been able to put into practice such across-the-board economic and social reform in the past decades, it is frequently emphasized that the nation took pleasure in the advantage of one race, one language, and no religion in offering a wide consensual ground for policy formulation (Opper, 1983). The state of affairs has now changed on all counts. Regarding verbal communication, a current parliamentary commission has discovered that the major language groups among minorities in Sweden are Serbo-Croatian, Finnish, Greek, Estonian, Lappish, Polish, Spanish, Hungarian, Italian and Turkish (Opper, 1983). English cannot be taken as a minority language as there have been concentrated attempts rendered since the middle of the1940s to bring Sweden to a bilingual circumstance with Swedish and English (Opper, 1983). Foreign individuals have established mainly around Sweden`s major cities of Gothenburg, Stockholm, and Malmo, all of which are situated in the southern third of the nation. Finns are an exemption as they have likewise selected communities in the north (Opper, 1983). For the purpose of comparison, it must be stated that over 50% the entire population in Sweden resides in the southern third of the nation (Opper, 1983).
According to Opper (1983), in spite of the urban concentration of overseas individuals in Sweden, there are foreign individuals in each of the nation`s twenty-four regions. Compulsory students signify a bigger percentage of the entire foreign inhabitant population in Sweden than is the situation for native Swedes. The biggest group among foreign individuals in Sweden is made up of children as well as adults who are under 40 years of age (Opper, 1983). The proportion of Swedes in every age category below 40 years is lower compared to the equivalent migrant group and in every single two categories for 40 years and older, the Swedish percentages are higher (Opper, 1983).The reality that a bigger percentage of foreign individuals compared to the Swedes are of major working age is the basis why the proportion of foreign inhabitants aged 16-74 years who are working is greater than the proportion of working Swedes in similar age-span (Opper, 1983).
Through their employment, immigrants are not only contributing to the country`s productivity they are paying the taxes that support numerous social services as well. This strengthens the argument to cope constructively with Sweden`s multiculturalism for the good of the whole country. The greatest number of foreign citizens in Sweden works in manufacturing industries, often in dirty, noisy environments of monotonous activity
The nature of the employment which foreign inhabitants in Sweden acquire does not always match up with their educational surroundings. The occurrence that exceedingly educated immigrants should take lower skilled works is customary in Sweden just as it is in several other immigrant nations (Opper, 1983). Approaches to diminish the occurrence with which such disparities happen, as well as to persuade adult immigrants with merely a few years of education to increase this, are at present being encouraged by educational systems (Opper, 1983). According to Opper (1983), in the research conducted, among adult immigrants from nations outside Scandinavia, the incidence of highly educated individuals is overrepresented, when considered in opposition to the Swedish standard. Extremes are greatly signified among migrant groups compared among individuals who have arrived in Sweden to be with their family members (Opper, 1983).
Within the group of migrants from Nordic nations, the percentage of Finns with a low level of education is great, while Danes and Norwegians are generally highly knowledgeable. In concluding the current overview, most of the statistics which have been employed to sketch the character and dimensions of multiculturalism in Sweden are from the last part of the 1970s (Opper, 1983). This period was selected due to the fact that it is the most current period at that time for which documentation is comprehensive for a wide variety of economic sectors. Another basis is that statistics from the last part of 1970s offer fundamentally the same ground for continuing investigatory commission work as well as other research and development activities (Opper, 1983).
The creolisation of the global culture is mirrored in its global cities in which distinctions are formed thus stirring images of new opportunities. Hence, cultural fusion as well as boundary crossing represents Sweden, as they do other multicultural European societies (Alund, 1998). The connection between cultural resistance, social subordination, and the development of new solidarities and cultural expressions is a persistent theme. In Sweden`s communities which are culturally diverse and politically charged, one can expect to experience a broad range of ethnical developments with political connotations, stated in tone, image, and text. The Swedish dimension can be perceived as representation of the inverse issue including the present problem of multiculturalism – normatively, politically, and socially – at the junction between the transformative method of national identity as well as transnational forms of belonging. Types of identity as well as belonging discover themselves in a method of transmutation since societies are being greatly multi-ethnic, while multiculturalism is highly encountered and argued as an unrealistic, impossible, and even conservative form of resolution.
The Multiculturalism Policy Index, on the other hand, is designed to observe the expansion of multiculturalism rulings in over 21 Western states as well as to provide this information in a standardized arrangement that allows comparative study and adds to the awareness of state-minority associations (Banting and Kymlicka, 2012). The format offers three indices, one each of three types of minorities: one index relating to immigrant groups, one relative to historic national minorities, and one relative to indigenous individuals (Banting and Kymlicka, 2012). To capture change over time, the Index offers all three indices at three points in Europe`s time: 1980, 2000, and 2010.
The eight indicators that is employed to build the MCP Index for refugee minorities are: (Banting and Kymlicka, 2012)
1. Legislative, constitutional, or parliamentary assertion of multiculturalism, at the essential and/or municipal and regional levels
2. The implementation of multiculturalism in school program
3. The addition of ethnic sensitivity/representation in the command of media licensing or public media
4. Exclusions from dress codes, either by decree or by court cases
5. Permission of dual citizenship
6. The financial support for ethnic groups to assist in all cultural activities
7. The financial support for bilingual education
8. Confirmatory act for disadvantaged migrant groups.
Is Multiculturalism Successful in Sweden?
The swing to authorized approval of ethnic pluralism as well as the comparatively sudden change from an assimilationist civilization to a “multiculturalist” one during the periods around 1970 matched with other transformations that were not, and could not likely be, perceived by the legislators. First, the events to meet orders from a number of immigrant groups were introduced in an event when the ethnic merge appeared to be given. Immigrants came from several countries in North America and Europe and signified a considerable number of languages. Furthermore, all groups apart from a small number of migrants from Yugoslavia and Turkey represented Christian practices. The greater part of these groups mirrored “European values” (Runblom, 1994). Second, certified cultural pluralism was launched in Sweden when the Swedish financial system was progressing and the nation was still among the top five gross national product countries across the globe (Runblom, 1994). A radical change came at the start of the 1970s, when the expansion rate declined and Sweden slowly, more rapidly than most witnesses realized, reached a time when the expansion of generous reforms supported by the state were no longer cheaply reasonable. Sweden, like all Western European nations, attempted to prevent the large-scale migration in the early part of the 1970s. As was characteristic of the European understanding, this “aversion” had restricted impacts. Immigration grounded on family reunion was permitted, and the refugee migration, which was not impacted by the immigration aversion, which augmented during the 1970s and 1980s.
There is likewise a tendency toward a new class civilization in Sweden with the non-Europeans creating a largely unemployed underclass (Runblom, 1994). In addition, the completion of cultural pluralism has occurred in the tradition of Swedish welfare policy, which encompassed comprehensiveness. This has likewise resulted to an analysis of the way in which Swedish civilization has received and treated its refugees and immigrants. Majority of Swedish model thinking can be demonstrated by the manner in which Sweden accepted immigrants during the 1980s. The escalating number of immigrants pressed the nations to seek new solutions, disseminate the “loads” of reception, and pay attention to the immigrants (Runblom, 1994). The immigrant reception program, applied during the middle part of1980s, was a characteristic Swedish manner of solving a social difficulty: a consistent explanation and an all-Sweden approach, whereby nearly all municipalities ultimately were to offer appropriate means for immigrants, leaving restricted room for private undertakings and non-governmental groups (Runblom, 1994). The unpredictable issue was, certainly, an augmentation in the number of individuals who are finding refuge in the country, which greatly exceeded all expected values. The extensive integrative objective was not accomplished, and the execution was in practice a compromise between the “paternalist” social administration, employment agency, school, etc., in the individual municipalities as well as the National Immigration Board (Runblom, 1994).
Through the use of Multiculturalism policy index, Banting and Kymlicka (2012) found out that there has not been a general retreat from Multiculturalism since 2000. In addition, there has been a considerable decrease in the Netherlands, and modest ones in Italy and Denmark. However the past years has also perceived a strengthening of multiculturalism policies in a number of nations, including Greece, Ireland, Belgium, Finland, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and Sweden. In other nations, the scores have augmented marginally or continued to be stable. In general, the record of multicultural policy in Europe is one of modest strengthening (Banting and Kymlicka, 2012)
Throughout Swedish history, immigration has been the most significant factor that helped establish multiculturalism in the country. Through immigration, policies were formed and educational system had to be restructured by inculcating bilingualism. Multiculturalism in Sweden based on the Multiculturalism policy index has not declined but policies concerning multiculturalism have been strengthened by the government.
The principle of multiculturalism as citizenization must remain the most important option in democracies, laudable of serious deliberation by lawmakers. On the other hand, it should be recognized that there are key obstructions to the multiculturalist development: not all efforts to accept novel models of multicultural residency have succeeded in accomplishing their projected impacts of promoting citizenization. Multiculturalism is basically pertaining to the treatment of settlers after they have established themselves, instead of being about who is admitted. Nevertheless, multiculturalism for settled migrants is more contentious in events where people fear that they have insufficient power over their borders, and therefore lack power over who is admitted.
Multiculturalism possibly functions best when it is indisputably multicultural, that is, when migrants come from various diverse source nations, instead of coming greatly from a single source nation. Multiculturalism is perceived as part of a parcel of shared rights and accountabilities, in which the situation makes good-faith attempts to contain migrants, and migrants offer good-faith attempts to incorporate, so as to coproduce relations of self-governing citizenship.
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The Challenges of Ethnic Diversity: Is Multiculturalism Successful in Sweden?