DESCRIPTION OF THE FUNCTIONAL ENVIRONMENT
In the past few years, the functional environment of the Society for the Study of Ethnic Relations and International Migration (ETMU) has been influenced by significant changes in Finnish science policy and society.
The political climate in Finland, as in Europe more broadly speaking, has become more polarized, especially in matters related to international migration, ethnic relations, and integration. The current public discussions have, on the one hand, called for critical research on questions that ETMU’s members specialize in. On the other hand, researchers in many fields have observed that the appreciation of scientific knowledge in decision-making has decreased. Thus, the situation is ambivalent from the perspective of the scientific community, which highlights the need to define the role of scientific societies in promoting the value of science in public discussions and in society at large.
The current discussions, and the policies accompanying them, have also motivated many scholars to become more active citizens. Some have found it challenging to balance the roles of a researcher, an advocate, and an activist. There are also diverging opinions in the research field regarding the extent to which researchers should engage in activism from their position as a researcher. These on-going discussions accentuate the need for ETMU to articulate its position as a civil society actor in this regard.
In science policy, a positive development is the increased discussion on open research and research ethics in Finland. This is particularly welcome in the field that ETMU represents. Making research accessible is a laudable goal, as long as it is done in an ethical manner. Moreover, in ETMU’s research field, it is important to consider the benefits of research and the accessibility of results to those who participate in research projects.
Relatedly, science communication has changed in recent years because of the increasing demand for popularized and open-access science. Research funders also expect active dissemination of research findings to different audiences. These developments have created a need for avenues for popular science publishing, which make use of social media platforms.
All these changes in the functional environment underline the need to clarify ETMU’s role as a scientific society, educator, civil society actor, science communicator, and an organization that is responsive to its members’ needs.
The Society for the Study of Ethnic Relations and International Migration (ETMU) is a multidisciplinary scientific association established in 2003 to promote research in this field in Finland. Research on ethnic relations and international migration is understood broadly to cover themes such as forced migration, multiculturalism, racism, nationalism, integration, minority rights, citizenship, and other related subjects. More specifically, ETMU:
- promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and dialogue between researchers, research institutions, universities, and other institutes of higher education in Finland and internationally
- disseminates information about current research across different sectors in society (researchers, organizations, authorities, media, general public)
- strives to influence policy-making in matters related to migration, ethnicity, and integration
- promotes educational initiatives in the field
- publishes open access and popularized science
- promotes discussions on research ethics
- provides the most important communication channel for information sharing on current research, events, publications etc.
ETMU solidifies its position as the pioneer in promoting multidisciplinary and ethical research and education on ethnic relations and international migration in Finland.
ETMU is a visible actor in civil society that collaborates with NGOs, authorities, decision-makers, and the media. ETMU strives to influence the opinion climate on migration and ethnic relations and the shaping of migration and integration policies through research-based outputs.
ETMU is a respected science publisher that provides publishing avenues for rigorous scientific research and popularized science and also offers training in popularizing science.
ETMU is an open, international, and widely-known scientific society that attracts researchers in different career stages.
ETMU is an inclusive scientific society with diverse membership in regard to members’ background, intersectional position, career stage, or discipline.
ETMU promotes open, critical, and ethical research as well as respectful dialogue between different sectors in society.
ETMU advocates an open society that protects indivisible human rights and provides equal opportunities regardless of people’s intersectional position.
1. ETMU promotes multidisciplinary research collaboration, dialogue, and education in Finland and internationally (ETMU as a research society):
- Organize networking events for scholars at the annual ETMU Conference and at other, smaller events in different cities in Finland
- Organize events for students, including PhD students and advanced Master’s students, to promote their integration to the scholarly community
- Create a social media forum for researchers and students in this field to e.g. find project collaborators
- Network with similar organizations in other countries to facilitate international research collaboration and exchanges
- Promote discussions on research ethics e.g. at the annual ETMU Conference
2. ETMU facilitates intersectoral dialogue, influencing the opinion climate and decision-making (ETMU as a civil society actor):
- Maintain and create connections with collaborators in different sectors
- Collaborate on campaigns with other organizations
- Influence decision-making and the opinion climate by issuing research-based public statements
- Disseminate research findings in an accessible manner via the renewed blog
- Organize events for the general public alone or with collaborators (NGOs etc.)
3. ETMU provides publication avenues inside/outside academia (ETMU as a science communicator):
- Continue publishing the Nordic Journal of Migration Research (NJMR) together with the Nordic collaborators
- Disseminate information about the NJMR’s new issues and about ETMU as one of the publishers more effectively
- Publish popularized science via the blog “Liikkeessä yli rajojen”
- Offer training in writing popularized science
4. ETMU retains its existing members and attracts new, active members (ETMU as an organization attentive to its members needs):
- Use English as the administrative language to promote inclusive participation
- Organize regularly events, visits, and other activities for members in different cities
- Disseminate information about current events, publications, and other relevant matters more efficiently via the email list, website, and social media platforms
- Increase ETMU’s social media visibility on Facebook and Twitter
- Promote the participation of students and international scholars working on questions related to international migration and ethnic relations