Marginalisation, Inequality and Ethnic Relations in Finland, SYREENI (2000-2003)



Social problems and phenomena such as marginalisation, inequality and ethnic relations are an integral part of an historical and global process of economic, political and demographic change. On the one hand these phenomena are structural and long-term processes, on the other hand they are closely tied up with specific social situations. This research programme was concerned with the mechanisms and processes that lie behindinequality and marginalisation in Finland, particularly with changes in ethnic relations.

The study of marginalisation processes provided important clues for the sensible allocation of measures of economic, social, education and labour policy so that they can be targeted at people who are at particularly high risk of social exclusion. The programme also supported researcher training particularly in the field of ethnic relations research.


The study of diverse and multicultural society in a changing world order is an extremely broad and complex research theme. The focus in this research programme was on problems that are deemed to be of national and international significance.

Key areas in the study of marginalisation and inequality included economic,social and political marginalisation, marginalisation related to age, gender, language and communication skills, as well as regional marginalisation. Marginalisation was also studied in terms of an accumulation of several different factors. Mechanisms in social and economic institutions and organisations that create and maintain social exclusion and inequality were also explored. Important areas of study included the information society process and unemployment. All these factors were also relevant to studying various ethnic groups and ethnic relations.

Furthermore, as far as ethnic relations are concerned other issues of interest included racism, xenophobia and discrimination, discrimination against immigrants in the labour market, and immigrant groups at particularly high risk of social exclusion, such as women, children and youths. Finally, research themes in the programme projects included encounters between cultures, multicultural education and education for ethnic tolerance, analysis of the structures and processes of education as well as school cultures in relation to marginalisation.


Academy of Finland funding for the programme amounted to EUR 4.4 million.

Duration 2000-2003

Evaluation Report 3/04 Syreeni.pdf

Programme memorandum SYREENI_memorandum.pdf


This research programme was coordinated by programme director Vesa Puuronen, University of Joensuu.

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