Language as a Ground of Discrimination: Example Swedish Finns A Critical Discourse Analysis of Swedish Minority Politics

University essay from Lunds universitet/Mänskliga rättigheter

Abstract: Language is a protected ground for discrimination internationally, but not in Sweden, although minority politics recognize language as a human right. This thesis focuses on Swedish Finns, one of Sweden's national minorities. As minority rights exist internationally, nationally, and locally, this thesis will analyze official documents from the Council of Europe, the Swedish state, and the Equality Ombudsman from the local case in Västerås Municipality. Using the theory of the Linguistic Human Rights Approach and the theoretical method of Critical Discourse Analysis, this thesis investigates the research problem in light of previous research on Finland-Sweden power relations, Swedish Finns, and language as a human right through the political and human rights discourses. The analysis identifies discursive and social practices, as well as how the Council of Europe, governmental investigators, and the Equality Ombudsman discuss minority rights in relation to human rights, language as a ground for discrimination, and the stakeholders' role views play in the discussion. The results show that language is not treated as a human right and that there is political resistance to extending prohibited grounds of discrimination to include language. Moreover, the results show that international human rights actors are powerless in the situation; ultimately, sovereign Sweden decides. Results confirm previous findings that political injustices towards Swedish Finns and broader national minorities are not taken seriously.

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