Sarita Friman-Korpela, Ph.D. Candidate

Funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation


The Political Agency of the Finnish Romani People

Sarita Friman-Korpela's dissertation examines the political agency of the Finnish Romani people in the 20th century. Her point of departure lies in the difficulties and special circumstances of a cultural minority in a parliamentary democracy, in which votes are counted as opposed to weighted. Many cultural, linguistic and other minorities feel powerless in terms of their own political agency. And, like other minorities, the Roma have constantly been obliged to defend themselves within Finnish society. Friman-Korpela's aim is to study how the Roma have succeeded in promoting their interests and aims without traditional political representation. Her thesis is that the Romani institutions – as organisations/instances following quasi-parliamentary procedures – have developed in their own way and applied deliberative rhetoric, as well as served as must forums for the introduction of new perspectives and topics to parliamentary agendas. Her preliminary conclusion is that this practice may be read as a form of political agency.