Color that Matters : A Comparative Approach to Mixed Race Identity and Nordic Exceptionalism book cover
1st Edition

Color that Matters
A Comparative Approach to Mixed Race Identity and Nordic Exceptionalism

ISBN 9781138050143
Published September 4, 2018 by Routledge
206 Pages

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Book Description

This book examines the ways in which mixed ethnic identities in Scandinavia are formed along both cultural and embodied lines, arguing that while the official discourses in the region refer to a "post-racial" or "color blind" era, color still matters in the lives of people of mixed ethnic descent. Drawing on research from people of mixed ethnic backgrounds, the author offers insights into how color matters and is made to matter and into the ways in which terms such as "ethnic" and "ethnicity" remain very much indebted to their older, racialized grammar.

Color that Matters moves beyond the conventional Anglo-American focus of scholarship in this field, showing that while similarities exist between the racial and ethnic discourses of the US and UK and those found in the Nordic region, Scandinavia, and Norway in particular, manifests important differences, in part owing to a tendency to view itself as exceptional or outside the colonial heritage of race and imperialism. Presenting both a contextualization of racial discourses since World War II based on documentary analysis and new interview material with people of mixed ethnic backgrounds, the book acts as a corrective to the blind spot within Scandinavian research on ethnic minorities, offering a new reading of race for the Nordic region that engages with the idea that color has been emptied of legitimate cultural content.

Table of Contents


Series Editor’s Preface

1. Introduction

Part I: Methodology and Theory: Towards Grounding the Book

2. Research Horizons: Inspirations and Tensions

3. Theoretical Inspirations and Methodological Tools

Part II: Epistemic Documents, Racialized Knowledge and Mundane Language

4. From Race to Ethnicity: The Purification of a Discourse; UNESCO and Norway’s Western Others

Part III: In Living Colour; The Lived Life of Mixed Colours

5. Discourses of Race And Ethnicity: A Difficult Deployment Of Colour

6. Performing Mixed Ethnic Identities: Colours That Matter

Part IV

7. No Guarantees, Just Paradoxes to Offer: In Lieu Of The Typical Conclusion

Appendix: List of Peopled Interviewed



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Tony Sandset is Junior Research Fellow at the University of Oslo, Norway.


"This book is of a significant contribution to the global mixed race literature, being the first Norwegian contribution in the field. The book consists of rich theoretical discussions with empirical material. The book is recommended to all scholars and students interested in the question of not only race and ethnicity in the Nordic context but also mixed identity and experiences in a global perspective." - Sayaka Osanami Törngren - Malmö University, Sweden