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Dynamics of Power in Dutch Integration Politics

Dynamics of Power in Dutch Integration Politics: From Accommodation to Confrontation

Justus Uitermark
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 306
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  • Book Info
    Dynamics of Power in Dutch Integration Politics
    Book Description:

    Integration politics in the Netherlands has changed dramatically between 1990 and 2005. Whereas ethnic and religious differences were hitherto pacified through accommodation, a new and increasingly powerful current in Dutch politics problematized the presence of minorities. This development represents a challenge to sociologists and political scientists: how to map and explain drastic changes? Arguing that extant approaches are better at explaining continuity than change, this book develops a relational discourse analysis to understand dynamic power relations in national as well as local politics. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1583-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-10)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. 11-12)
  4. PART I

    • 1 Introduction: Integration politics and the enigma of power
      (pp. 15-20)

      Movements for cultural protectionism have proliferated in recent years throughout Europe and many other parts of the world. The idea that immigration and multiculturalism are the natural and inevitable side effects of globalization has been discredited. The arrival of poor migrants is no longer seen as the logical consequence of an internationalizing labor market but as an invasion of aliens. Multiculturalism is no longer seen as the epitome of liberal democracy but as an ideology that undermines society’s ability to respond to the reprehensible ideas and practices of minorities. Parties on the left reluctantly accede that immigration causes problems, while...

    • 2 The struggle for civil power
      (pp. 21-44)

      This chapter’s purpose is to develop conceptual lenses that allow us to ask empirical questions about the dynamics of power in integration politics. The chapter begins with a discussion of Jeffrey Alexander’s work on the civil sphere and how it can be used to study integration politics. It then posits Bourdieu’s field analysis as a fruitful avenue for examining power relations in the civil sphere. I subsequently argue that discourse analysis and network analysis can increase the explanatory leverage of field analysis. The result is an approach that provides a relational understanding of civil power, enabling us to examine transformations...

  5. PART II

    • 3 Introduction to Part II: Civil power and the integration debate
      (pp. 47-60)

      This chapter explains how the first part of the research question posed in Chapter 1 will be answered: how and why did power relations transform in the debate on integration? I focus specifically on the debate on the opinion pages of broadsheet newspapers. This setting formally approximates Habermas’s ideal speech situation in the sense that all persons with the “competence to speak” can submit articles, express attitudes, desires and needs, and question the assertions of others (Habermas 1990: 86). What Weber considered the essence of power – the capacity of actors to carry out their will in spite of resistance from...

    • 4 The evolution of the Dutch civil sphere
      (pp. 61-76)

      Culturalism has been a powerful force in the Netherlands since 1991, but it did not emerge out of thin air. To understand integration politics after 1991, we need to reconstruct the evolution of the Dutch civil sphere and the genesis of a policy field through which minorities were to be governed. How did power relations form in the civil sphere and how were these refracted in the policy field? This chapter answers this question through an examination of the proliferation and resolution of three formative conflicts in the Dutch civil sphere: the emergence and incorporation of Catholic and Socialist challengers...

    • 5 The ascendancy of Culturalism
      (pp. 77-120)

      In the image of the Dutch civil sphere sketched in the previous chapter, there is no place for a dominant conception of Dutch identity and culture.¹ Relations between groups and their representatives were characterized by Pragmatism and the avoidance of conflict. The Netherlands was a country of minorities; it was both practically difficult and morally suspect to claim that one culture is worthier than another. Culturalism thus cannot be understood as a “Dutch discourse”. The promoters of Culturalism, in fact, sought to redefine the Netherlands and transform its political culture. This chapter shows that Culturalism is a discourse of ascendant...

    • 6 Contesting Culturalism: Anti-racism, Pragmatism and Civil Islam
      (pp. 121-152)

      The previous chapter noted that culturalists were prominent in successive episodes of integration politics. But it also became clear that the power of Culturalism was ambiguous and contested. In this chapter we investigate actors who promoted alternatives to Culturalism, focusing in particular on three discourses: Antiracism, Pragmatism and Civil Islam. Supporters of these discourses criticized Culturalism for polarizing society and stigmatizing minorities, but did so for very different reasons. As the opponents of Culturalism do not form a coherent group (Chapter 5), this chapter first dissects the integration debate through a correspondence analysis of the different discourses and their promoters....


    • 7 Introduction to Part III: Civil power and governance figurations
      (pp. 155-166)

      Big cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam are focal points of integration politics. The government and media constantly focus their attention on these places, as they are perceived to be the front line of multicultural society. This is where disintegration is supposed to be occurring, where civil norms are violated. News media over the years have produced a steady stream of vivid accounts of Moroccan teenagers harassing elderly natives, parents forsaking their responsibility in raising children, Muslim men who do not want their wives to participate in society and so on. But villains and victims are not the only characters in...

    • 8 The minorities policy and the dominance of the radical left: Ethnic corporatism in Amsterdam in the 1980s
      (pp. 167-184)

      I felt as though I was conducting some sort of archeological study of civil society when I arrived at the neighborhood center in Amsterdam Oud-West. I was to visit an interviewee fromKommittee Marokkaanse Arbeiders Nederland(the Committee of Moroccan Workers in the Netherlands). KMAN was established in a squat in 1975. A few years later it opened its headquarters just outside the historic center of Amsterdam. With the support of subsidies and many Moroccan and native volunteers, the association organized frenetically and created an extensive infrastructure of neighborhood subcommittees, working groups and consulting hours. Almost nothing of this was...

    • 9 Diversity management and the gentrification of civil society: Civil liberalism in Amsterdam in the 1990s
      (pp. 185-200)

      A new discourse on ethnic diversity and its governance was in the making while the institutions of ethnic corporatism were corroding. This discourse revolved around the notion of “diversity” and was premised on the idea that a diverse population presents opportunities, not only problems. This chapter locates the origins of this discourse and examines how it was institutionalized within government policy. The popularity of the Diversity Discourse needs to be understood in the context of the broader shift away from ethnic corporatism towards civil liberalism. This chapter identifies the main features of civil liberalism and examines the power relations inherent...

    • 10 Governing through Islam: Civil differentialism in Amsterdam after 9/11 and the assassination of Theo van Gogh
      (pp. 201-216)

      As the integration debate heated up, political and policy attention focused on immigrants and Muslims who were actually or potentially criminal, radical, insulated or apathetic. All of these behaviors and attitudes were framed as expressions of a lack of civil integration. Culturalists and pragmatists agreed on this point but disagreed on how to solve the problem. Culturalists developed a discourse demarcating the civil community along the lines of ethnic culture and emphasized the need for strict enforcement. Pragmatists, too, felt that Muslims needed to integrate but considered this a collective challenge, not an exclusive obligation for Muslims. Amsterdam was the...

    • 11 The rise of Culturalism and the resilience of minority associations: Civil corporatism in Rotterdam
      (pp. 217-232)

      The recent history of integration politics in Rotterdam is at least as turbulent as that of Amsterdam. In 2002, Pim Fortuyn achieved his first great electoral victory in his hometown of Rotterdam. Fortuyn was virulently opposed to what he saw as the Islamization of the Netherlands (see Chapter 5). After his death, the council members and aldermen of his party, Leefbaar Rotterdam, continued Fortuyn’s promotion of a culturalist discourse. Leefbaar Rotter-dam was extremely critical of minorities and Muslims but, contrary to what we might expect, minority and Islamic associations flourished in this period. Why? The key to answering this question...

    • 12 Comparing the power of minority associations in Amsterdam and Rotterdam
      (pp. 233-244)

      This chapter offers a comparison of the governance figurations in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Whereas Amsterdam’s governance figuration was volatile and skewed, Rotterdam’s governance figuration was balanced and stable. This chapter’s main argument is that these differences in the structure of governance figurations affected the intensity and nature of civil engagement. It argues that Rotterdam’s governance figuration more effectively fostered civil engagement in the sense that it produced more constructive relations among different types of associations, worked against extremism, promoted participation in civil society associations and increased electoral participation.

      The first section summarizes the findings of the case studies and elaborates...

  7. PART IV

    • 13 Conclusion: The dynamics of power
      (pp. 247-264)

      The political scientist Arend Lijphart (1968) famously used the Netherlands as the quintessential example of how a democracy could remain stable in spite of considerable differences between population groups. Today the Netherlands is exemplary of how a seemingly stable political constellation can drastically change. The Netherlands moved from accommodation to confrontation, and the contention over integration was key to this process. It is tempting to understand these political transformations as if they were a change in personality. We would then need to find out why ‘the Dutch’ turned from tolerant to conservative. But such an approach would wrongly assume that...

  8. Appendix 1: Assigning codes to articles
    (pp. 265-270)
  9. Appendix 2: Assigning codes to relations between actors
    (pp. 271-272)
  10. Notes
    (pp. 273-288)
  11. References
    (pp. 289-304)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 305-306)