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FSD3193 Barometer for Swedish-speaking Finns, Spring 2002

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Authors

  • Herberts, Kjell (Åbo Akademi University. Social Science Research Institute)

Keywords

Swedish-speaking Finns, cultural identity, identity, language, leisure time, mass media, minority groups, minority language users, national identity, politics, press, radio, social systems, television, values

Abstract

This study charted the identity of Swedish-speaking Finns and their opinions on various aspects of everyday life, such as politics and society, the use of mass media, leisure time activities, values, identity and the sense of belonging. The study was funded by the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland (Svenska kulturfonden).

The first questions revolved around language. The respondents' and their families' Finnish and Swedish language skills were surveyed. It was examined whether the respondents had used Swedish, Finnish or both in different types of situations within the previous year, such as doctor's appointments, vehicle inspections, and visits to the city council, libraries or tax offices. The respondents were also asked whether they preferred not to use Swedish with authorities because they were afraid of receiving hostile service, and if they felt that their errands had not been taken proper care of in the past due to an official's lack of Swedish language skills. The next questions concerned mass media, the press, radio, and television. The respondents' preferred newspapers, radio stations and television channels were surveyed, as well as their internet use.

After this, the respondents were asked if they felt a sense of belonging in various lands and regions, such as Finland, Swedish-speaking Finland, Sweden, the Nordic, and the European Union. The survey also examined the strength of the respondents' cultural identity as a Finland-Swede in different groups of people and situations. It was also asked if the respondents felt a sense of belonging in various groups. The next theme concerned the respondents' political orientation and party preferences. The respondents were asked if they had participated in or discussed politics in different ways within the previous year. The respondents' views were surveyed on democracy within the EU, Finland, the respondent's region of residence, and the respondent's municipality of residence.

The final theme concerned the respondents' values and ways of life. They were asked to evaluate which factors bring happiness to their lives and to estimate how likely the people around them would help in different situations or if they would act in a selfish or even illegal manner. The respondents were also presented with a variety of activities and asked if they had participated in them within the previous 12 months (e.g. playing a sport, going to the movies, working overtime, praying to God, visiting a summer cottage). Finally, the respondents were presented with a set of attitudinal statements about current issues that they were asked to evaluate. The statements concerned, among other subjects, nuclear power, fur production, NATO, adoption rights for same-sex couples, and Swedish as a mandatory school subject.

Background variables included e.g. region, age group, gender, education level, economic activity and occupational status, marital status, and household composition.

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