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Somebody Else, Somewhere Else: Racisms, Racialized Spaces and the Popular Geographical Imagination in Sweden

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In conjunction with recurrent economic dislocations and the restructuring and melting of national capitalisms into one another, there has been a resurgence of racisms in Europe; even in Sweden, a country long stereotyped as an international champion of equality and economic and political justice. An array of concrete and racialized spaces has emerged and contributed to the further spread of racism. Deeply enmeshed in this process is a disjuncture between racist attitudes and behaviors, and a widely held image of the self and the nation as altruistic and just. Confronted by such internal dissonance, many, if not most, Swedes resolve matters through denial and projection: believing or asserting that the country's only racists are either skinhead youths or right-wing extremists, “somebody else.” The contradiction between the racisms and national identity is also commonly culturally reworked through projecting upon other locations as well as other groups. To demonstrate the complexities and internal contradictions of this popular geographical imagination, this paper provides a detailed depiction and critique of one of its elements—the municipality of Sj√∂bo.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of California, Berkeley

Publication date: October 1, 1997


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