Roundtable in the D.Rad hub on Ethnonationalism and Colonialism in Europe

The D.Rad hub on Ethnonationalism in Europe culminated in a roundtable discussion about Ethnonationalism and Colonialism in Europe

The D.Rad hub on Ethnonationalism in Europe culminated in a roundtable and film viewing as part of the international workshop on populism, social contract, Global North and South and multimodal media in hegemonic struggle event at the Naava Centre at the Pyhä-Luosto National Park, on 16 December. The roundtable discussion was dedicated to Ethnonationalism and Colonialism in Europe. Participants (Alexander Alekseev, Alina Mozolevska, José Javier Olivas Osuna, Sabine Volk, Laura Junka-Aikio, and Emilia Palonen as a moderator) discussed hegemonic struggles and mechanisms of populism, social contract and contemporary media. They reflected questions relating to ethnicity, nationalism, colonialism and discrimination in the context of Sápmi and the Arctic region, as well as the broader European context. 

The discussion covered various topics related to internationalism and colonialism in Europe, focusing on nationality, ethnicity, and the relationship between Nordic countries and the indigenous Sámi population. Land use is an important issue in the Finnish north; Professor Laura Junka-Aikio (University of Lapland) stressed the NATO fighter jets patrolling the Finnish Lapland. 

The conversation also delved into the current border issues with Russia and the impact on immigration policies in Finland and Europe. Alexander Alekseev (University of Helsinki) explored the concept of extractivism, noting how human beings are treated as objects in situations such as the Russian border conflict and hybrid warfare. The global extractivist theme extended to migration and government responses, with parallels drawn to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its effects on Europe post-pandemic. The changing landscape in Europe was examined, highlighting the construction of new goals and increased openness to communities accepting others. Solidarity and acceptance were acknowledged, but concerns were raised about potential marginalisation, particularly in right-wing responses to refugees. 

Alina Mozolevska (Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University, Ukraine) touched on the theme of invisibility, emphasising the importance of bringing marginalised voices into public discourse. The speakers emphasised the need to discuss those often overlooked and make them visible in public spaces. Participants discussed ethnic relations, highlighting researchers' moral responsibility in conflict contexts. Dehumanisation in war and its role in justifying conflicts by portraying the enemy as non-human were explored. The conversation shifted to the dehumanisation of immigrants amid the war and Europe-Russia confrontation, expressing concerns about Russia's hybrid weaponisation heightening dehumanization. The resurgence of ethnonationalist forces in Europe raised questions about regression to ethnonationalism dominance. The importance of contesting hate speech targeting Russians, notably uncontested in Finland, was emphasized as a potential threat to European societies. The discussion recognized provocative questions' role in examining nationalism-related issues. 

An intriguing perspective on ethno-Europeanism or European civilizationism was presented by Sabine Volk (University of Passau, Germany), emphasizing its internal inclusivity but external exclusionary nature. The exploration delved into the concept of an inclusive Europe against the rest of the world, shedding light on the acceptability of anti-Russian sentiments in specific circles. Reference was made to the study of far-right mobilization, emphasizing the contradictory nature of European civilizationism. 

The conversation explored contradictory visions of Europe during the Ukraine war, contrasting an open Polish-Ukrainian border with violent pushbacks at the Polish-Belarusian border, illustrating complex migration policy dynamics. An intriguing perspective on ethno-Europeanism highlighted its internal inclusivity but external exclusionary nature, exploring an inclusive Europe against the world and the acceptability of anti-Russian sentiments. Reference was made to far-right mobilization, emphasizing the contradictory nature of European civilizationism. The importance of critical examination, particularly in studying the EU's southern border, the Mediterranean, was emphasized, underscoring the tragic reality of human loss during migration. The evolving significance of borders, focusing on Finland-Russia in the context of the Ukraine war, challenged the notion of a border-free Europe. The impact of national borders on minorities, especially in the north, was discussed, with a focus on understanding how minorities like the Sámi perceive and are affected by these borders. 

Drawing from the diversity of cases enabled Dr José Javier Olivas Osuna (National Distance Education University, Spain) to cover the intersection of internationalism, colonialism, and regional nationalism. Here Catalonia was an example. It explored the dynamics of minority empowerment and exclusionary discourses, delving into the intricate relationship between immigration and regional nationalism, including the impact of colonialism on Spain's political movements. Shifting to Brexit, the conversation addressed the connection between sentiments and a nostalgic longing for a historical empire, impacting attitudes toward the European Union. The discussion then delved into genocidal ethnic nationalism, drawing parallels between Rwanda and Laos, and explored the unique nature of ethnic politics in Europe rooted in colonial legacies. 

Dr. Susan de Groot Heupner (Deakin University, Australia) touched on ongoing protests in Australia against the U.S. military presence, emphasizing indigenous views on the symbol of big empires' return. The panelists were prompted to provide insights into the emotional dimensions associated with demands for open borders and historical legacies. 

The panel developed on the thematic fish-bowl sessions on the social contract and populism, media and the hegemonic struggles in the North of the international workshop that the researchers had been intensively involved the previous day.