InRights comprises a platform that focuses various aspects of institutions, norms and policies in the area of inclusion and rights of migrants and minorities.

The currently funded research projects include:

Indigenous Rights and the Global Politics of Resource Extraction: The Case of Mining in Sápmi

Conducted by Rebecca Lawrence, funded by Formas, with start in Autumn 2013

Over the last two decades there has been a growing global acknowledgement of Indigenous land and resource rights. At the same time, there has also been a dramatic increase in extractive activities and infrastructure projects on traditional Indigenous lands. Using the case of mining in Sápmi, this research project investigates the increasingly complex politics of resource extraction on traditional Indigenous lands emerging from these two contradictory trends. Two theoretical questions will structure the research project. The first concerns the rights of Indigenous peoples to land and natural resources: how are we to understand the international recognition of Indigenous resource rights in relation to national legal systems? The second concerns the constitution of governing practices: how are shifting laws, rules and norms concerning Indigenous rights to resources changing negotiations between Indigenous peoples, states and corporations? What new co-management models are possible? The project will use a comparative legal analysis across Sweden, Norway and Finland, addressing also    international law pertaining to Indigenous peoples? land and resource rights. In addition, the project will build on empirically detailed case studies of mining conflicts in all three countries. The project aims to identify practical proposals for the recognition of Saami rights to land and resources through legal reforms and through institutional models for the comanagement of natural resources.

Indigenous Rights to Self-determination: The Institutional Design and Policy Process of the Swedish Sámi Parliament

Conducted by Ulf Mörkenstam, funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond

In the contemporary political debate the Swedish Sami Parliament (Sametinget) is considered to be the main body to ensure Sami self-determination. Ever since its inauguration, however, the institutional design of the parliament has been severely criticised by the parliament itself, Sami organisations and NGO’s for not meeting the requirements of the right to self-determination in international law. However, there is no extensive research conducted on if and how the Sami Parliament actually works to safeguard the publicly recognised Sami right to self-determination. The purpose of this project is to analyse the capacity of the Sami Parliament to safeguard the Sami right to self-determination.

The project has three parts: (i) a comparative analysis of various institutional arrangements to safeguard indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination; (ii) an analysis of the policy process within the Sami Parliament in its role as representative body of the Sami people; (iii) a normative analysis, evaluating the institutional design of the Parliament in relation to the meaning of the concept of self-determination in international law and contemporary political theory. What are the possibilities of the Sami Parliament to initiate political issues and to influence the actual outcome on a national level? To what extent does the Swedish state’s interpretation of the right to self-determination differ from the interpretation in other states, and from international law and political theory?

The Sámi Parliaments as Representative Bodies: A Comparative Study of the Elections in Sweden and Norway 2013

Conducted by Ulf Mörkenstam, together with colleagues from Norway and Sweden, funded by Formas

The last two decades we have witnessed a growing global acknowledgement of indigenous rights, for instance manifested in the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Nordic countries have all responded to Sámi right claims by establishing popularly elected Sámi parliaments to serve as representative bodies of the Sámi people. Research on the parliaments’ position and function within the Sámi communities is, however, rare. The aim of this project is to analyse and compare the Sámi parliaments’ position and function within the Sámi communities in Sweden and Norway.

The comparative approach will generate new knowledge on both the Sámi parliaments’ position in respective country and on the impact of different institutional arrangements on the political mediation and representation of Sámi interests. A contemporary perspective is, however, not enough in order to understand the differences between the parliaments - a historical analysis of the Sámi movements’ political mobilisation and the political strategies chosen are decisive for our understanding of contemporary politics and the Sámi parliaments’ position today. The project thus consists of three parts: (i) to gather and make available information/statistics connected to earlier elections to the Sámi parliaments; (ii) to carry out an election study of the elections to the Sámi parliaments in Sweden and Norway in 2013; and (iii) to accomplish historical analyses of the political strategies of the Sámi movements in Sweden and Norway.

Equal work-places in a world of inequality: A study of the factors that promote gender equality and ethnic equality at Swedish work-places

Conducted by Kristina Boréus, funded by the Swedish Research Council (Research project funded by the Swedish Research Council, 2011-2014)

Project group:

  • Kristina Boréus (project leader) and Soheyla Yazdanpanah, Dept. of Political Science, Stockholm University
  • Alireza Behtoui, Dept. of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University and Dept. of Social Sciences, Södertörn University
  • Anders Neergaard, REMESO, Linköping University

Swedish as well as international research shows that women, as compared to men, and immigrants, as compared to natives, tend to earn less in the same or similar jobs and that the former groups have poorer chances of promotion and poorer access to advantages at workplaces. Although this pattern in the Swedish labour market is well researched, we know little about how such inequalities are generated and perpetuated at a local level.

In this project several workplaces in the geriatric care sector are studied with the purpose of generating knowledge about what it is that promotes equality at workplaces. We study the importance of individual employees’ access to cultural capital (e.g. education and language skills) and to social capital (i.e. useful social contacts outside of as well as inside the workplace) within the social organisations that the workplaces constitute. Individual access to such capital is related to social structures at the workplaces.

Furthermore, we also investigate whether it is easier for certain employees and not others to have their useful skills – such as language skills – ‘capitalised’ in the form of higher wages and promotion and whether it is easier for certain employees and not others to gather social capital – to become part of workplace networks.

Finally, we study whether local discourses that produce and perpetuate ideas as to what is male and female, Swedish and non-Swedish, contribute to the inequalities found.

The methods used are a survey, individual interviews with employees, participatory (participant?) observation and discourse analysis of what is said and written at the workplaces.

Globalisation and New Political Rights. The Challenges of the Rights to Inclusion, Self-Determination and Secession

The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council. The project team includes Ludvig Beckman (director), Ulf Mörkenstam and Jouni Reinikainen.

Recent years have witnessed an increasing emphasis of political rights in international law and global political norms. In membership policy, various NGO’s and international organisations push for political inclusion of permanent resident non-citizens; in minority policy, there is a similar trend in several states towards recognition of self-determination for indigenous peoples; and, in international politics, the recent recognition of the independence of Kosovo by a large number of Western states puts pressure on other states to accept a right to secession. If these trends are further reinforced, we may actually be witnessing the nascence of new rights to inclusion, self-determination and secession, that challenges the nation-states’ far-reaching discretion in interpreting and institutionalising political rights.

The purpose of this project is to investigate—empirically as well as normatively—the afforcement of the rights to inclusion, self-determination and secession. Two research questions will structure the study. The first is descriptive and concerns the extent to which a new set of political rights have been institutionalised, politically and legally, by contemporary nation-states. The second question is normative and concerns if and when rights to inclusion, self-determination and secession ought to be recognised.

Diversity and Inclusion in Party Organisations DivPol

Maritta Soininen is responsible for the Swedish part of this European project (2013-2014), involving seven member states. Funded by the European Commission (851 900 euro). 

In Europe the portion of the population made up of migrants, including those from third countries (TCN), is rising continually. This development presents political parties with new challenges. The parties are important players in the process of integrating migrants, as they are instruments of political integration and provide opportunities for political participation. Party-political influence is not just exercised through the right to vote, but also takes the form of possibilities for engagement in political parties and involvement in shaping their programmes. Party organisations are central venues and gate-keepers for mainstream political activity and representation. In a European perspective, moving towards a form of citizenship at the European level furthermore challenges the democratic deficit produced by the traditional, restrictive linkage between political citizenship and nationality. DivPol project analyses therefore the possibilities open to persons with migrant background for accessing, making career in and influencing major political parties, and the measures which the party organisations take to advance ethnic diversity in their own organizations. The study is carried out in seven member states seeks to identify contextual and institutional factors facilitating or hindering political inclusion and careers of migrant origin citizens in party structures and activities.