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Conflict and Compromise in Multilingual Societies: Finland

By Kenneth McRae
Subjects Social Science, Multiculturalism, History
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Paperback : 9780889203471, 445 pages, May 2000


Conflict and Compromise, Volume 3: Finland examines historical and developmental patterns during the Swedish, Russian and post-independence periods of Finland’s history. McRae outlines Finland’s changing social structures, showing how the language groups have evolved within these structures in the twentieth century. He compares how Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking citizens perceive themselves and other language groups, as well as the similarities and differences in their views on political and social issues. Further, the book describes in detail the constitutional and institutional arrangements for languages in Finland’s political and administrative system, as well as in education and the mass media.


"To the author's great credit, McRae has achieved a text that is beyond compare. ...Overall, the book is well written, with numerous graphs and tables to supplement the text. A rich bibliography and detailed index add to a complete and thorough academic effort. This book is for scholars interested in linguistic differences and struggles between ethnolinguistic groups. Historians and political scientists will also find material rich in their areas of interest. Most importantly, this is a book for the Finns who have not examined themselves as closely as has McRae. It is highly commendable that a foreign scholar with no ties to the two languages has developed a comprehensive text about the two Finnish language groups. It is high time that such work is published, and it may be justifiably appropriate to have a neutral third party examine one of the most sensitive issues of Finnish life, which to this date has been impossible for a native of Finland. "

- Mika Roinila, Acta Sociologica

"Already in itself it is one of the most clear and concise writings of the country's history I have experienced, and when combined with its interpretation of the impact on the Swedish speaking population becomes outstanding. ...If you wish to learn how Finnish-speaking and Swedish-speaking citizens perceive themselves and other language groups, or of similarities and differences in their views on political and social issues, you will find the informative answers in this book. ..fascinating reading. His book should be of very special interest to all Swedish-speaking Finns, and I recommend it highly also to their descendents abroad. I use it as an encyclopedia almost weekly. "

- E. Norman Westerberg, Consul of Finland, Bellevue, WA, Sidan Fyra

"[a] painstakingly researched and richly documented study of language conflict in Finland. ...A particularly fascinating section deals with stereotypical perceptions of both Finns and Swedes. "

- Carol Stos, Canadian Book Review Annual

". ..if the two additional volumes on Finland and Canada are as well done as these on Switzerland and Belgium, Professor McRae. ..will have made major contributions to our substantive and theoretical understandings of social conflict processes, to macro sociolinguistics, and to a socially relevant applied social science. ...I recommend these books highly. "

- Allen Dr. Grimshaw, Contemporary Sociology

"Professor McRae has made another major contribution to understanding the nature of language problems and possible solutions for language planning. ... His depth of research is impressive. His tables, charts, and maps are insightful. He has provided an excellent model for multilingual research. "

- Robert N. St. Clair, Language Problems and Language Planning