1st Edition

Race in Sweden Racism and Antiracism in the World’s First ‘Colourblind’ Nation

    Race in Sweden is an introduction to, and a critical investigation of, the Swedish relationship to race in the post-war and contemporary eras. This relationship is fundamentally shaped by an ideology of colourblindness, with any kind of race talk being taboo in public discourse and everyday language use, and in practice forbidden in official and institutional language.

    A study of a country which was until recently strikingly white but has become extremely diverse, yet where the legacy of Swedish whiteness co-exists with a radical, colourblind, antiracist ideology, Race in Sweden will appeal to scholars across the social sciences and humanities with interests in race and ethnicity, whiteness and Nordic studies.

    Chapters 2 and 3 of this book are freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF at http://www.taylorfrancis.com under a Creative Commons [Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND)] 4.0 license.


    Tobias Hübinette, Catrin Lundström and Peter Wikström

    1. The modern history of Swedish whiteness and Swedish race relations

    Catrin Lundström and Tobias Hübinette

    2. The emergence and development of the world’s first colourblind nation

    Tobias Hübinette and Catrin Lundström

    3. The Swedish N-issue, Swedish N’s and white transracial identifications

    Tobias Hübinette and Peter Wikström

    4. Non-white adoptees and a new relationship between race and Swedishness

    Tobias Hübinette

    5. Swedish whiteness as white terror and non-white rage in antiracist Sweden

    Tobias Hübinette

    6. When colourblindness runs amok: The Swedish debate on equality data

    Peter Wikström and Tobias Hübinette


    Tobias Hübinette, Catrin Lundström and Peter Wikström


    Tobias Hübinette has a PhD in Korean studies and is a reader in intercultural education and a senior lecturer in intercultural studies and Swedish as a second language at Karlstad University, Sweden. He is engaged with Korean adoption studies and critical adoption studies, migration studies and Asian Swedish studies and Swedish critical race and whiteness studies, and he has published several books and other publications within these research fields in Korean, English and Swedish.

    Catrin Lundström is associate professor of sociology and professor designate in ethnicity and migration studies at the Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society (REMESO) at Linköping University. She holds a PhD in sociology from Uppsala University and has been a visiting researcher at the University of Arizona and the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of several books and articles within the fields of transnational migration, critical race and whiteness studies, ethnography and gender studies.

    Peter Wikström is associate senior lecturer in English Linguistics at Karlstad University, Sweden. He is a discourse analyst specialising in online and social media discourse, as well as in the areas of language and gender, language and politics and language and ideology, in both Swedish-language and Anglophone contexts. His research has touched on topics such as race and racism, political correctness, public apologies and metadiscourse. In addition to publishing in these areas, he teaches courses in applied linguistics and discourse analysis.

    'Europeans claim that racial thinking ended in the continent after WWII, the Holocaust and decolonization. Hübinette, Lundström, and Wikström challenge this myth by examining the most extreme case of racial innocence in Europe – Sweden. Relying on an impressive array of sources, cases, and historical material, they convincingly show that behind the Swedes’ self-proclaimed color-blindness lies a white racial regime. This book serves as a clear, empirical correction to the color-blind nonsense so many in Sweden believe in.' - Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Professor of Sociology, Duke University, USA

    'Race in Sweden is a major contribution to comparative racial studies, whiteness studies and European critical race studies. This groundbreaking book belongs to and represents the new racial studies in Europe and should be required reading for academics, activists, policy makers and anyone who is interested in understanding the complex politics of racism and antiracism in contemporary Europe. The authors provide a much needed case study of the histories, ideologies and challenges that Sweden and the Swedes are juggling with when it comes to reworking the meaning of race, racism and antiracism in a new, multiethnic and multiracial country.' - France Winddance Twine, Professor of Sociology, University of California at Santa Barbara, USA