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Identity Processes and Dynamics in Multi-Ethnic Europe

Identity Processes and Dynamics in Multi-Ethnic Europe

Charles Westin
José Bastos
Janine Dahinden
Pedro Góis
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    Identity Processes and Dynamics in Multi-Ethnic Europe
    Book Description:

    Globalisation, migration and integration have shaken up identity processes and identity dynamics as never before. But in a post-colonial, multi-ethnic Europe, what is identity? How is it constructed? Identity Processes and Dynamics in Multi-Ethnic Europe endeavours to answer these questions and more. Eleven of the thirteen chapters present empirical case studies from the Basque Country, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Portugal - thus resulting in one of the first international volumes to highlight Portugal's diverse and complex migration flows. Transnationalism also takes centre stage in several contributions that survey various types of informal and formal networks in local communities and across national borders. Via American studies, anthropology, cultural studies, ethnology, history, social psychology and sociology, the authors come from an array of disciplines as dynamic as the continent about which they write. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0631-6
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Preface
    (pp. 7-8)
    Charles Westin
  4. 1 Identity and inter-ethnic relations
    (pp. 9-52)
    Charles Westin

    This volume is about inter-ethnic relations in Europe with special emphasis on identity dynamics and identity processes. Here the concept of inter-ethnic relations comprises a broad range of encounters, between people and groups of diverse origins, taking place in contemporary societies. Much of the literature emphasises the problematic dimensions of these relations, pertaining to various aspects of social exclusion – racism, discrimination, segregation, xenophobia, ethnocentrism, inequality and injustice. However, inter-ethnic relations should also be understood to encompass processes of social inclusion, referred to under various headings such as incorporation, insertion, acculturation, assimilation, integration and even absorption. In other words, inter-ethnic...

  5. 2 Jews in the Netherlands and their various ties with Judaism
    (pp. 53-72)
    Marlene de Vries

    As a consequence of granting full civil rights to Jews in the European nation-states around the beginning of the nineteenth century, a difference between Jewish religion and Jewish culture could start to develop. In the Netherlands, or rather, the Batavian Republic as it was known at that time, civil emancipation became a fact in 1796. Once promoted to Dutch citizenship (or French or whatever), Jews no longer had to rely on thekehillah, the Jewish denomination, that previously not only served as the religious, but also as the social and cultural home base for every Jew. Membership in a denomination...

  6. 3 A streetcar named desire: lifestyle and identity of street kids in multi-ethnic Rotterdam
    (pp. 73-98)
    Flip Lindo

    In 1996, youth workers in one of the boroughs in the southern part of the city of Rotterdam¹ started using a converted local bus to visit places where local youth were loitering on the streets. Problems with young people in several districts of the borough, but especially a neighbourhood called Pendrecht, were the main impetus for this new strategy. Pendrecht is mostly made up of working-class housing projects (mainly blocks of flats some five stories high), constructed right after the War for dockworkers and other labourers. From the 1970s onwards, families have moved out when they could afford better housing...

  7. 4 Discrepant perceptions on health and education issues in the Basque Country: del dicho al hecho…
    (pp. 99-126)
    Aitor Ibarrola-Armendariz

    Although immigration in the Basque Country has grown exponentially during the past twenty years, it is still insignificant (2.33 per cent of the region’s population in 2003) in comparison with other areas of the EU. Between 1996 and 2003, the immigrant contingent quadrupled to nearly 50,000 people, and the trend seems to point towards an even faster increase in years to come. Still, almost as important as this substantial increase in the numbers of immigrants is the fact that a vast majority of Basque people (88 per cent) have the impression that the foreign population has ‘skyrocketed’ in the last...

  8. 5 Are you who you know? A network perspective on ethnicity, gender and transnationalism: Albanian-speaking migrants in Switzerland and returnees in Kosovo
    (pp. 127-148)
    Janine Dahinden

    The proverb ‘You are who you know’ is the title of a scientific article on social networks (Smith-Lovin & McPherson 1993) that concisely illustrates the worldview of network researchers. The basic premise of network analysts is that the social embeddedness of actors in a web of specific relationships says a lot about their position in society. In contrast to current approaches, especially in sociology, which concentrate primarily on examining certain categorical variables like age, gender or level of educational, network researchers do not regard social systems as a collection of isolated actors with certain characteristics. Their attention is instead directed towards...

  9. 6 From local inter-ethnicities to the dynamics of the world-system: identity debates between Portuguese and British Sunnis in Leicester
    (pp. 149-178)
    Susana Bastos

    The preference for an anthropological reflection upon identity processes as a means to overcome the micro-macro dichotomy that has hampered the development of the social sciences (Calhoun 1996) immediately faces a number of obstacles. A strategy of total subjective and relative social research, reduced to micro-dimensions (limited to the construction of the self and interaction), may impede an analysis of the relationships between socio-historical groups. Similarly, a strategy of conceptual and theoretical babelisation of the concept of identity (and its derivatives) may lead to the loss of its analytical function in understanding historical dynamics.

    Within these strategies any reference to...

  10. 7 Introduction to a study of comparative inter-ethnic relations: the cases of Portugal and Britain
    (pp. 179-196)
    Nuno Dias

    This chapter is based on my PhD research, entitled ‘The Voyages of Rama: Hindu Diasporical Identity Constructions in Colonial and Post-Colonial Contexts in Portugal and England’. The objective of the study is to approach inter-ethnic relations in a diachronic and comparative perspective, focusing in particular on the trajectories of early Hindu migrants from Gujarat to East Africa. Following the independence of these territories, many East African Hindus migrated to Portugal and Britain.

    The trajectories of these diasporic populations are explored through life histories. The study describes the social, economic and political contingencies of this multistage migration. It relates individual migration...

  11. 8 Frontier identity in Portugal and Russia: a comparative perspective on identity-building in semi-peripheral societies
    (pp. 197-220)
    Mário Artur Machaqueiro

    Postmodern and post-colonial discourses have praised hybridity and ambivalence as enriching traces of identity-building in our age of multidirectional migrations as if only travelling between and across cultures through transnational dislocations could provide the experience of developing diasporic, hyphenated or deterritorialised identities. But some authors are beginning to challenge what may be too narrow a perspective of the social conditions from which such identities can spring. The Portuguese sociologist Santos recently highlighted the fact that since its inception Portuguese colonialism has always been an experience of ambivalence and hybridity in the relationship it promoted between the coloniser and the colonised....

  12. 9 The Goan elites from Mozambique: migration experiences and identity narratives during the Portuguese colonial period
    (pp. 221-232)
    Marta Vilar Rosales

    Hall (2000) presents two ways of thinking about cultural identity. The first position defines cultural identity in terms of one shared culture among people with a common history and ancestry where cultural identities reflect the mutual historical experiences and shared cultural codes which provide us, as ‘one people’, with stable, unchanging and continuous frames of reference and meaning, beneath the shifting divisions of the present. The second position, although related to the first, recognises that as well as the many points of similarity there are also critical points of significant difference which constitute what we really are, or rather, what...

  13. 10 Identity, integration and associations: Cape Verdeans in the metropolitan area of Lisbon
    (pp. 233-256)
    João Sardinha

    The phenomenon of immigration is becoming increasingly significant in present-day Portugal, particularly in the Lisbon metropolitan area. In the 2001 census, 55.3 per cent of the documented foreign population resident in Portugal, live in the Greater Lisbon and the Setúbal Peninsula municipalities, representing 5.1 per cent and 3.7 per cent, respectively, of the total resident populations.

    As one of the longest-standing immigrant communities, Cape Verdeans have made their presence felt in Portugal for more than three decades and across three generations. Despite their long domicile the association movements made by Cape Verdeans have attracted very little academic attention, leaving fundamental...

  14. 11 Cape Verdeanness as a complex social construct: analysis of ethnicity through complexity theory
    (pp. 257-278)
    Pedro Góis

    Emigration was an economic strategy for Cape Verdeans from as early as the eighteenth century. It has become an important element of Cape Verdean social identity or, as this identity also has been called, Cape Verdeanness. In a situation where there are more Cape Verdean emigrants and their descendants outside Cape Verde than living within the archipelago itself,¹ traditional theories of migration and/or national identity placing more importance on origin than on all other features in the process of identity construction seem misplaced.

    Research we conducted in some of the destinations of Cape Verdean migrants (Góis 2002), together with data...

  15. 12 Different children of different gods: a structural-dynamic approach to using religion in processes of differentiated social insertion
    (pp. 279-312)
    José Bastos

    In this chapter we wish to research the role of both non-organised religiosity and affiliation with various religions and sects, organised at a community level, in the development and/or partial hindrance of processes of differentiated social insertion among groups and sub-groups of ethnic-minority populations in Greater Lisbon, Portugal.

    The methodological hypotheses supporting our objectives are: 1) that micro-family dynamics are a strategic unit of analysis in the study of the impact of different types of religion in the process of differentiated social insertion (DIS)² – a concept we prefer to integration, as it is free from ideological motivation; 2) that...

  16. 13 What are we talking about when we talk about identities?
    (pp. 313-358)
    José Bastos and Susana Bastos

    In two texts written 50 years apart, Erikson (1972: 274) and Bauman (2003) both attribute the relatively recent preoccupation with identity processes to the great economic and social transformations which destroyed community life, made subjects and families culturally vulnerable and created mounting internal and international migratory fluxes which temporarily increased tolerance to uncertainties (Appadurai 1998). Erikson developed his cluster of identity concepts within a relatively closed community, based on intergenerational recognition, and characterised by an antagonistic exteriority that conveniently sanctioned its relative closure. On the other hand, Bauman (2003: 16) theorises on community fixation, in line with Fromm (1941), less...

  17. About the authors
    (pp. 359-362)
  18. Index
    (pp. 363-376)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 377-381)