The Terms of Ethnoracial Equality: The Swedish Courts' Reading of Ethnic Affiliation, Race and Culture

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This article initially accounts for the discussions concerning the notions ‘ethnic origin’ and ‘race’ that have taken place in the Swedish legislative context and places these within a wider European context. Next follows a mapping of the ways in which Swedish courts, in cases of alleged ethnic discrimination, read the notion of ‘ethnic affiliation’ – defined as ‘national or ethnic origin, skin colour, or other similar circumstance’ – and decide whether a statement or an act is related to it. The purpose, to borrow Michel Foucault’s words, is to ‘make visible precisely what is visible’. By bringing together, arranging and connecting what the courts have said about ‘ethnic affiliation’, the conclusions they have reached and the circumstances that they have ignored, three observations are made: (a) ethnic affiliation is treated as an authentic and stable personal individual attribute, (b) ethnic affiliation is seen as a question about body types and bloodlines solely and (c) discriminatory acts are connected to ‘ethnic affiliation’ only if related to visual appearance or accompanied by ‘incriminating words’. The article discusses and analyzes the significance and implications of these observations in engagement with theorists such as Barnor Hesse and David Theo Goldberg.
Sidor (från-till)616-635
Antal sidor20
TidskriftSocial & Legal Studies
Tidigt onlinedatum2017 aug 4
StatusPublished - 2018

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Samhällsvetenskap
  • Juridik


  • Allmän rättslära
  • Etnisk tillhörighet
  • Ras
  • Kultur
  • Barnor Hesse
  • Etnisk diskirminering
  • David Theo Goldberg
  • Diskriminering


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