Identity construction and dialect acquisition among immigrants in rural areas–the case of Swedish-language Finland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The study focuses on how transnational migration affects the socio-political peripheries of communities. Specifically, we focus on identity construction and on how identities are worked out among second-generation immigrants from Bosnia, whose parents came to the Swedish-language countryside in Finland as refugees in the early 1990s. We analyse the Bosnians’ small stories and their use of linguistic traits from the different varieties in the rural community where they have settled. The framework is narrative analysis coupled with Bhabha’s notion of identity as a third space and how this is manifested in the way the immigrants position themselves in their small stories and how realizations of their third positionings are related to their attitudes and use of the local dialect. The third position is realised as clusters of experiences and attitudes, suggesting different prototypical identity-constructional positions, three of them being the immigrant (i) as a mediator between the traditional local population and immigrants, expressing solidarity to both groups; (ii) as a generic immigrant, belonging neither to the local population nor to his/her ‘own’ ethnic group but affiliating with immigrants in general; and (iii) as an identification of oneself as a permanentemigrant aligning oneself with other adolescents in the diaspora.


External organisations
  • University of Helsinki
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • International Migration and Ethnic Relations
  • Specific Languages


  • Bhabha’s third space, dialect acquisition, Identity, migration, narrative analysis, rural concerns
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020 Jan 31
Publication categoryResearch