Go to main navigation Navigation menu Skip navigation Home page Search

Experienced ethnicity and migration researcher joins the CSR team

Sayaka Osanami Törngren is an associate professor in international migration and ethnic relations (IMER) at the research center Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare. From now on, she will also be affiliated with CSR. "My belief is that I don’t have to be an expert in everything, but if I surround myself with people who also have great ideas and knowledge, we can come together and achieve great things. I am looking forward to exchanging knowledge, perspectives, and visons with the other members of the team", she says.

Osanami Törngren has an international background and while studying sociology of race and ethnicity and Ethnic Studies in Japan and the US sparked a greater interest in inequality based on race and ethnicity. After taking her undergraduate degree at Sophia University, Tokyo she did her MA in International Migration and Ethnic Relations at Malmö University and received her PhD at Malmö/Linköping University in a joint program. The thesis "Love Ain't Got No Color - Attitudes to Interracial Marriage in Sweden" was awarded Malmö University's prize for thesis of the year 2012.

Her research deals with issues connected to race and racialisation, racism and discrimination and inequality. She has extensive experience in conducting and leading externally funded research – EU projects as well as nationally funded projects, and her work involves international and cross-sector collaboration.

"When I came to Sweden, I noticed that people did not want to talk so much about race and ethnicity and that very little was done in terms of ethnic studies, like telling your own ethnic or racial groups history. That’s why I continued to work with those issues. When I was doing my PhD and also several years after, I was focused on producing research results showing that race does matter in Sweden", says Sayaka. "However, I have seen positive trends especially outside of academia, that people are more and more willing to talk about diversity, which is something very positive".

When she felt that she had established that race does matter through her research, she decided to move on and explore how the problems of discrimination and racism could be addressed. She is now involved in an experimental study about hiring and discrimination, where fake CVs are being shown to recruiters who then should pick the best candidates. Her hope is to find a way to intervene this unconscious process. "When we know what kind of patterns we see, we have to figure out how we can use this knowledge so that companies and recruiters don’t make the same kind of discriminative decisions", Sayaka concludes.

A plenitude of further subjects

Some parts of discrimination research are still in its infancy and there are plenty of more research to conduct in order to understand the mechanisms of why discrimination occurs. In the future, Sayaka would like to go more into the direction of intervention.

"What type of information could lead you to less discriminatory practise? What can we do to counter discriminatory patterns? By now, we all know that there is discrimination and racism, there are inequality and gaps in employment rate, income level and much more. In the field of research, I am in, there is not much focus on how we can empower ourselves as individuals when we have this knowledge. If you gain knowledge about where and how you might perpetuate discriminatory actions, or experience discrimination, how can you use this knowledge in a positive way? There is so much to explore and create knowledge in that area, and I hope fellow researchers want to accompany me on this path", says Sayaka.