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Connecting genes-building families: DNA testing in somali family reunification in Finland

Petri Hautaniemi About the author

The central themes of this article, family reunification in general, and DNA testing in particular, came to the fore during a research project about young Somalians in Finland. Since 1996, I have been conducting ethnographic research - in schools, youth clubs, streets and cafés - with youngsters from Somalia who arrived in Finland around 1994, and who attend Finnish schools in the suburbs of Helsinki. My general interest in this longitudinal study was to learn about the experiences of coming of age in highly dispersed settings, not only in the vein of a local host country, but also culturally and transnationally. Here, growing up is seen not as a simple biological question. It is a social process in which relationships such as kinship ties are constituted, experienced, and contested. These are powerful relations for individual and social identifications. DNA-testing may both symbolically and physically violate this social process of intimate identifications and personal integrity.

Kinship; Identity; Immigration; Family Reunification; DNA Tests

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