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Title: The return of the Ingrian Finns : ethnicity, identity and reforms in Finland's Return Immigration Policy 1990-2010
Author: Prindiville, N. J. B.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 1240
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis investigates the construction of Finnish identity by Finnish policymakers when discussing the Right to Return Policy for Ingrian Finns. This policy, which existed from 1990 to 2010, granted Finnish residency to citizens of the Soviet Union, and subsequently Russia and Estonia, who descended from seventeenth century Finnish émigrés to the region around St Petersburg. The thesis critically analyses the discursive constructions of Finnish identity presented in the language of lawmakers on this policy, and argues that lawmakers established an ideology of Finnishness initially predicated on ideas of language, religion, ancestry, and historical relations to Finland’s neighbours Sweden and Russia. I further argue that lawmakers’ calls for an end of the policy in the late 1990s and 2000s used some of the same discursive constructions of Finnishness initially employed to justify Ingrian inclusion to now exclude Ingrians from their idea of Finnishness. To a large extent, the history of the Ingrian Return policy therefore presents a renegotiation of Ingrian, but not Finnish, identity by Finnish lawmakers. The thesis contributes to the study of identity construction on two levels. Firstly the policy presents the tension between constructions of Finnishness as an ethnic identity and as a community of Finnish citizens, and shows the relative resilience of ethnicity-based identity constructions in Finnish immigration policy at this time. Secondly, the Ingrian Finnish Return policy provides a case study of how essentialising discursive constructions of identity can be strategically used in political discussions. Analysis of this policy contributes to the broader study of identity theorisations as an example of establishing identity norms through public policy, using essentialising identity constructions that ignore alternative views of the nation as a diverse community, particularly in a period of increasing migration.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available