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FSD3201 Barometer for Swedish-speaking Finns 2009

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Authors

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

Keywords

Swedish-speaking Finns, cultural identity, identity, language, leisure time activities, 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, 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 contexts, e.g. at home, at school, with friends, at bureaus and banks, and at work. 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 respondents were presented with a set of statements about bilingualism and using the Swedish language in Finland, and they were asked if attitudes toward the Swedish language in different contexts -- such as at work, in politics, and in media -- had changed within the previous year. It was queried whether Swedish-language service offered by the state and municipality had improved or worsened within the previous year, as well as Swedish-language service in the private sector.

The next questions covered media, the press, radio, and television. The respondents were asked if they listened to radio or watched television in the morning, and their choice of radio station or television channel in the morning was queried along with the topics of particular interest to them on morning television. In addition, it was examined which newspapers the respondents read, either printed or online, and if they had downloaded radio or television programmes, films, books, video games, magazines or newspapers from the internet within the previous 12 months. It was also queried whether they had written or read blogs or used social media services designed for Swedish-speaking Finns or other social media services. Finally, opinions were examined on reading newspapers and books exclusively on digital devices.

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, and whether or not the respondents felt a sense of belonging in various groups. They were also asked to estimate how likely the people around them would help in a variety of situations or if they would act in a selfish or even illegal manner.

One set of questions pertained to the environment and climate change. The respondents were asked what they already did to reduce their carbon footprint (e.g. sorting waste, cycling or using public transport instead of driving a car), what they would be willing to do for a better environment (e.g. paying more taxes, lowering their personal standard of living), which sources of carbon emissions should be controlled more harshly, and what factors they deemed as the most significant threats to the seas. Finally, the respondents were asked which aspects they deemed important in their personal well-being, e.g. health, steady personal finances, friends and family, a person's appearance, nature, a meaningful job, and politics.

Background variables included, for instance, region of residence, age group, gender, education level, economic activity and occupational status, marital status, and household composition.

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