Barnboken: Tidskrift för Barnlitteraturforskning (May 2015)

Reconstructing multiculturalism: Social categorizations challenged in the Förskolan Rävlyan and Tatu and Patu series

  • Jaana Pesonen

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 38


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Abstract: In this article, representations of multiculturalism in Swedish and Finnish picturebooks are examined through the Förskolan Rävlyan and Tatu and Patu series. In the article, multiculturalism is understood and studied with an intersectional approach. This means considering sociocultural categorizations such as ethnicity, gender, nationality and disability to be meaningful to the existing social, political and economic structures of societies. These categorizations are seen to have the power to reproduce and circulate dominant discourses that effect the social inclusion and exclusion of certain groups of people. Thus, the social categories are examined as performative textual discourses, meaning that texts are acknowledged to be not only reflecting, but also creating social reality. Both series present diversity as an integrated part of the story by means of non-explicit multiculturalism. The analysis reveals that both series of books contain representations of diversity that can challenge some possibly exclusive social categorizations, such as nationality. In conclusion, these books can be seen to be progressive in their attempts to promote a transformative understanding of today’s Nordic societies. Keywords: Diversity, Intersectionality, Multiculturalism, Performativity theory, Swedish picturebooks, Finnish picturebooks, Siv Widerberg, Aino Havukainen, Sami Toivonen