Breaking the Rules, Making the Ruler: Syriac Homes and the Limits of Swedish Planning
Jennifer Mack, som i 2018 vant Margaret Mead prisen for sin monografi "Construction of Equality: Syriac Immigration and the Swedish City" bidrar med nye perspektiver over temaet "hjem" knyttet til Sverige, multikulturalisme og ideen om likhet.
The Swedish town of Södertälje is arguably the capital of the diasporic Syriac Orthodox Christians, who have arrived there from across the Middle East since 1967. During their early years in residence, Syriacs usually lived in standardized apartments in the modernist high- and mid-rises created during the national housing project known as the Million Program, which produced one million dwelling units across the country between 1965 and 1974 using design norms developed through extensive government-funded research. In my 2017 book, The Construction of Equality: Syriac Immigration and the Swedish City (University of Minnesota Press), I examine these standards in relation to newer, Syriac-dominated neighborhoods of custom-designed, single-family houses that are now under construction and recently built, drawing on ethnographic research among both planners and residents. While Swedish planners have long imagined immigrants to have a valuable “voice” during renovations of Million Program neighborhoods, Syriac forms of participation in new areas have radically exceeded both traditional dialogue processes and the imagined results of the plans. I argue that negotiations about materials and the use of plots, among other concerns, begin to blur the boundaries between resident and planner. As both groups navigate the limits of the plan, questions about nationalism, class, and professional expertise underscore ostensible discussions of neighborhood aesthetics.