EASA, 2010: EASA2010: Crisis and imagination

Maynooth, 24/08/2010 – 27/08/2010

(W059)

One face, one race? Rethinking race and citizenship in a changing Europe

Location Education Seminar Room
Date and Start Time 25 Aug, 2010 at 11:30

Convenors

Dorothy Louise Zinn (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano) email
Heath Cabot (University of Pittsburgh) email
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Long Abstract

While political and cultural memberships in Europe are radically changing, there are alarming signals (political shifts to the right, phenotypic targeting, militarization of borders, and racialized aggression) that notions of blood and nation may matter more than ever. Racial hierarchies framed in biological terms ("classic racism") are politically unacceptable, yet people still commonly classify groups with racialized categories that emerge through an amalgam of signifiers, though these are not fixed and unchanging. Keeping in mind the increasing neoliberalization of European economic frameworks (Ong 1999), how are constellations of race and nation being reconstituted? How are differently positioned European residents reimagining the relationship between blood, phenotype, and belonging? Are these emerging racialization processes best described in terms of "cultural fundamentalism/differentialism", or are they more akin to "classic racism"?

As Hartigan (2005) has suggested, anthropology occupies a privileged position to deploy a dialectic between the concepts of "culture" and "race" to denaturalize racialized forms of social injustice. Anthropological reflection can help grasp the fluid nature of racialization processes and their role in imagining citizenry, with citizenship considered in its multiple meanings as affective ties of belonging, (legal) nationality, and the endowment of social and human rights within a polity. Ethnography can offer a nuanced view for investigating contacts and disjunctures between political and mass media discourses and what happens on the ground, both in terms of autochthonous populations and the lived experiences of migrants and their descendants. This Workshop will compare contemporary contributions to questions of race and citizenship in Europe.

Discussant: Verena Stolcke

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

'Race', 'culture' and 'mixture': changing criteria in defining national membership in Catalan nationalist discourse

Author: Montserrat Clua Fainé (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)  email
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Long Abstract

This paper focuses on the manner in which "race" and "culture" is used in nationalist discourses, especially in the idea of biological or cultural "mixture" which is drawn on to define the socio-political identity of offspring of parents of different nationality. This will be analyzed in the ethnographic context of Catalan nationalism, one kind of "civic nationalism" that basically defines Catalan identity in cultural terms. The paper contrast this nationalistic rhetoric, with a form of xenophobic ideology that was developed in Catalonia in the past (in the 1960s-1970s, against the offspring of mixed-marriages between Catalans and Spanish immigrants) and that seems to have new expressions against non-European immigrants in the contemporary economic crisis situation. This case shows that at any point in time a nationalist ideology adapts its argumentative criteria and may shift from, and/or combine, culturalist and biologist principles of social classification.

The policies of citizenship as social exclusion

Author: Rosa Parisi (University of Foggia)  email
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Long Abstract

In Italy, migration and citizenship policies, with particular regard to the immigration Act of 2009, are interpreted as a way of institutionalizing immigrants' social exclusion through a "differential" citizenship. The mentioned Act introduced the "crime of illegal immigration" and the prohibition of marriage with an illegal migrant, where the condition of illegality concerns exclusively non-European citizens. In this way the law produces a kind of redefinition of membership in the European Union, and is a practical and symbolic process of "europizzazione". In Italy the key model of citizenship is embodied in the family. The "good father" of the family and the "good husband" becomes the "good citizen" with a "progressive naturalization" that the family leads to the nation and simultaneously redefines the boundaries between European and non-European citizenship. The prohibition of marriage produces a racialization based not on ideology of blood but, following neoliberal ideology, on the ideology of social success and work. So "differential" citizenship can be seen, first, as a racialization processes based on economic frameworks and the other as a process of Europizzazione which produces new boundaries and new membership.

The altering meanings of 'Gypsy-ness' and the changing regimes of othering

Authors: Margit Feischmidt (Hungarian Academy of Sciences)  email
Zsuzsanna Vidra (Hungarian Academy of Sciences)  email
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Long Abstract

The research on which our presentation is based (see: www.edumigrom.eu) looks in a comparative way into how youth of minority origin see their future and what kind of relationship they have with their school as well as with the minority and majority society. We also study the institutional as well as informal forms of ethnicization and its relation to the changing regimes of social inequalities. The research explores how children relate to different forms of "othering" and community-building. In the course of data gathering both quantitative and qualitative methods were used, however in this paper we will focus only our ethnographic investigation in two schools and one urban neighborhood in a "post-industrial" town situated in the south of Hungary.

In our presentation we will outline how social status, embeddedness and social mobility of Roma people - or the lack of all these - influence the ways in which they relate to majority ethnic categorization imposed on them and to their own Roma/Gypsy self-identification. Our researched population is characterized by marginal social situation, ranging from extreme misery, through day-to-day survival, to the uncertain opportunities provided by the black market or the labor market.

Re-articulating the ethnos: language, blood, and belonging in Athens

Author: Heath Cabot (University of Pittsburgh)  email
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Long Abstract

In Athens, the urban center of the Modern Greek nation-state, language has long been embedded in racialization processes. Projects of linguistic "purification" accompanied manipulations of urban space and forms of ethnic cleansing aimed at extracting the Hellenic from "Oriental" and Ottoman influences. The Greek language often continues to trace the body of the ethnos, demarcating assumed phenotypic boundaries, marking persons as recognizably (non)Greek. However, as Athens has become increasingly an epicenter for migrants, multilingual encounters are shifting the relationship between language and nationhood. Drawing on my ethnographic fieldwork among an extraordinarily diverse friendship and family network, I consider how lacunae in communicative practices across linguistic worlds incite creative expressions of intimacy and kinship practices, reconfiguring conceptions of blood and belonging. This paper, thus, approaches national citizenships not through frameworks of "closure" or exclusion (Balibar 1998; see also Gilroy 1987, Stolcke 1995), nor through transgressions or "fragments" (Chatterjee 1993), but through powerful, if fraught, points of opening through which nations are articulated anew.

Youth Welfare Practices, Ethnicity and the Pragmatics of Inclusion.

Author: Boris Nieswand (University of Tübingen)  email
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Long Abstract

Street-level bureaucrats, like employees of the youth welfare office, mediate aspects of citizenship in their daily practices. The presented example of a neighbourhood counseling shows that between the poles of 'exclusion from' and 'inclusion in' a society there is a large gray area, in which ascription of ethnic differences affect these processes in relatively unpredictable and ambiguous ways. This gray area, nevertheless, is important to develop a deeper understand of how race and ethnicity articulate to different social contexts and how it practically influences the citizenship rights of the involved persons.

Empirically it is shown that in the context of the youth welfare office ethnicity cannot be understand as isolated factor but is always part of larger configurations of differences. In order to understand how it operates, it is important to examine the interaction with more formalised and more legitimate categories. Moreover it can be shown that startegies of ethnic othering have an important function for closing administrative procedures in relation to the complexity of the diverse social environment in which the neighbourhood counselling centre is situated. Under the conditions of relatively limited resources, social workers have to apply relatively standardised administrative procedures and social work programs on a very heterogeneous population. In this respect the interpretation of administrative discretion often follows the pragmatic interests of maintaining these procedures and limiting the effort which is invested in a single case.

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'Good foreigners': second generation German Koreans in Germany, Germanness, foreignness and the limits of integration

Author: Simone Hary (University of Sussex)  email
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Long Abstract

West Germany recruited South Korean nurses and miners during the 1970s as labour migrants. Today, they and their children constitute the largest South Korean minority in Europe. Until recently Germany's immigration policies were based on the notion of descent, defining 'Germanness' in terms of sanguinity, whilst working towards cultural integration of migrant groups. On the surface German-Koreans have integrated successfully. They may be contrasted positively with the Turks, but both groups are, ultimately "foreigners". Nowhere does this become so apparent as in incidents where non-ethnic Germans become aware of the majority society's implicit belief in a racial definition of Germanness (as white), and consequently, the degree to which they are excluded from recognition as fully German because of their phenotypical distinctiveness. These experiences of non-ethnic Germans reveal the limitations and insufficiencies of the integration discourse and the prevailing definitions of Germanness, which identify them as 'the other'. Hence, while they are 'good', they remain 'foreign' and never quite arrive in Germany.

From socialist egalitarianism to postsocialist discrimination: theorizing and implementing race in the new Russia

Author: Melissa Caldwell (University of California, Santa Cruz)  email
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Long Abstract

The USSR promoted international socialism through explicit multicultural projects celebrating cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity and tolerance across the socialist world. In post-Soviet Russia, these ideals have been overshadowed by accounts of harassment and physical violence against individuals who are "different," notably persons of color such as Central Asian and African migrants. Although human rights advocates and victims interpret these acts as racially motivated and call for a recommitment to ideals of "tolerance," invocations of "race" and "tolerance" become problematic when there is little agreement about whether "race" correlates with skin color, nationality, citizenship, or class, and when tolerance programs reify the very stereotypes they are meant to unpack. This paper examines encounters between activists and victims as they articulate a theory of race, discrimination, and tolerance in Russia, with particular attention to a set of documents intended to record racially motivated attacks and educate Russian citizens about racial tolerance.

Race, class and nation in contemporary 'progressive' politics

Author: Davide Pero (Nottingham University)  email
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Long Abstract

This paper sets out to chart transformations in 'progressive' political discourse by examining how two of its defining pillars - class and race/ethnicity - have been deployed in recent times to frame diversity, justice, belonging and rights in the context of migrants and minorities. In particular, this paper intends to shed light on how the shifting use of these categories relates to the neo-liberal restructuring of European society and to the management of its changing population. It also intends to highlight some of the concrete implications that this shift entails in terms of inclusion/exclusion for a widening sector of this population.

This examination will be carried out by drawing on historically informed and comparative ethnographic material from Britain and Italy that focuses on a number of recent changes in progressive discourses and policies about diversity, race and racism, multiculturalism, citizenship, class and nation.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.