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Cultural racism without race : an exploratory insight into the discrimination and self-perception of the Sweden Democrats

  • Michael Bossetta
Publishing year: 2012
Language: English
Document type: Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


This study presents a fresh, humanistic perspective into the worldview of a rarely studied group: The Sweden Democrats. Having entered the Swedish Parliament in 2010, the Sweden Democrats are a controversial nationalist-populist party, and they are currently the only major party in Sweden rejecting the country’s famed multiculturalism model. The Sweden Democrats, and other Swedes who are openly critical of their country’s immigration and multiculturalism policies, are often stigmatized as ‘racists’ by a number of actors across Swedish society. This essay interprets such stigmatization, as well as other processes of exclusion, as forms of discrimination.
Through analyzing the first-hand experiences of these ‘immigration-critical’ Swedes, this study explores who they perceive as actors of discrimination, as well as the specific processes through which these actors enact discrimination. By adopting theoretical and methodological approaches from previous studies of ‘cultural racism’ while avoiding appeals to ‘race’, this paper posits the existence of a ‘cultural racism without race’ in Sweden towards those holding an ‘immigration-critical’ standpoint.
The term posited for this relatively unexplored form of discrimination is ‘intra-cultural ethnicism,’ where interpretations of national identity and one’s role in the world take center stage. This study contends that opposing interpretations of ‘Swedishness’ by the two groups lead to incongruous ‘parallel subjective realities’, hindering effective public debate on Sweden’s immigration policies.
The study offers an exploratory first step towards understanding how immigration-critical Swedes perceive themselves in relation to their social context. The underlying motivation is that the subjective reality constructions of these Swedes, and those of nationalist-populist party sympathizers in other countries, must be understood and addressed before they are to be merely stigmatized. In the case of Sweden, bridging the gap between the incongruous ‘parallel realities’ of the pro-multiculturalist and immigration-critical Swedes is a necessary condition for effective debate on issues of immigration and multiculturalism.


  • Social Sciences
  • political correctness
  • reverse racism
  • immigration
  • new racism
  • cultural racism
  • racism
  • populism
  • Sweden
  • nationalism
  • Sverigedemokraterna
  • Sweden Democrats
  • censorship
  • media
  • politics of migration
  • politics of difference


  • Johan Dietsch