Routings: "Race," African Diasporas, and Swedish Belonging

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Abstract

This paper discusses the fissures and disjunctions in calls for African diasporic community in Stockholm, Sweden and shows how the "local" (which in this case is formulated as national) is tinged with a particular Swedish moral discourse in relationship to racism. A disjuncture expresses itself in stories of the national past and people. This is a past described as homogeneous and which strategically "routes" racism to specific transnational spaces and time periods that are outside of the Swedish community. Following the work of anthropologist Jacqueline Nassy Brown (1998,2000), I suggest that such "routings" push us to consider the specific manners in which "the global" is used to negotiate "local" power relations. The relevance of "routings" emerges in two manners in this paper: in how informants' narratives of the Swedish past are used strategically to comment upon and debate the historically tabooed topic of racism in Sweden, and in how a variety of African diasporic meanings get created and negotiated by Swedes of African ancestry when they discuss belonging and racism.

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