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Negotiating Identity in Scandinavia

Negotiating Identity in Scandinavia: Women, Migration, and the Diaspora

Edited by Haci Akman
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 206
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  • Book Info
    Negotiating Identity in Scandinavia
    Book Description:

    Gender has a profound impact on the discourse on migration as well as various aspects of integration, social and political life, public debate, and art. This volume focuses on immigration and the concept of diaspora through the experiences of women living in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Through a variety of case studies, the authors approach the multifaceted nature of interactions between these women and their adopted countries, considering both the local and the global. The text examines the "making of the Scandinavian" and the novel ways in which diasporic communities create gendered forms of belonging that transcend the nation state.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-307-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. viii-ix)
    Haci Akman
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. x-x)
  6. Introduction Reasserting the Centrality of Women in Diasporas
    (pp. 1-12)
    Haci Akman

    Since the early 1990s, significant developments have affected how gender and migration are conceptualized. A reading of works from that period, such as those by Anthias (1992), Buijs (1993), Indra (1999) and Anthias and Lazardis (2000), among others, suggests that gender continued to occupy a peripheral position in analytical and theoretical discussions, despite its pervasiveness in the processes of conflict, forced migration and subsequent settlement in the diaspora. The 2000s saw a marked increase in the allention paid to the connection between gender and migration, although as Palmary etal. (2010) argue, the nature of the ‘and’ in ‘gender and migration’...

  7. Part I. Bargaining and Negotiating Identities

    • 1 Art as Political Expression in Diaspora
      (pp. 15-30)
      Haci Akman

      Exile is a political phenomenon that touches the inner depths of humanity. Exile status affects all vital aspects of refugee life, destroying the foundation of social reality for those affected and attacking their most fundamental sense of security. A romantic glow veils the word exile, reinforcing the myth that a life between two cultures affects intellectual activity creatively (Eastmond 1997 [1989]). Such a view, of course, omits such key dimensions of the status such as grief, homelessness and lack of belonging.

      Migration, a part of human history from the earliest times, has increased in scope and significance globally since 1945...

    • 2 Islamic Identity as Third Space: Muslim Women Activists Negotiating Subjectivity in Sweden
      (pp. 31-60)
      Pia Karlsson Minganti

      The research area ‘women in diaspora’ concerns fundamentally negative experiences, such as loss, imposed changes, contradictions, degradation and alienation. The flip side of the coin, however, features testimonies of opportunity, creativity and desired change. Too strict a focus on either side of the coin – that is, diaspora simply as pain or prospect – risks resulting in stereotypical descriptions. This chapter brings complexity into the picture, exploring young women’s negotiations of identity and subjectivity in relation to Islam in Sweden and their particular risk of being framed in the unproductive dichotomy of oppression versus emancipation (Jacobsen 2011a; Bracke and Fadil 2012). My...

    • 3 Political Muslim Women in the News Media
      (pp. 61-90)
      Rikke Andreassen

      For over a decade, Muslim women’s veils and headscarves have been an integral part of the Danish news media’s portrayals of female ‘visible minorities’¹ (immigrants and their descendants). Veiled women have visually dominated the images of visible minority women in the news media, and the practice of veiling and headscarves has been fiercely debated verbally. During the 2000s, one woman and her headscarf (hijab) made headlines. Her name is Asmaa Abdol-Hamid. In 2006, Abdol-Hamid became the first veiled Danish TV-hostess and in 2007 she ran for Parliament. This chapter analyses the media debates about Abdol-Hamid and her headscarf. These debates...

    • 4 Finding Their Own Way between Revolutionary Adult Feminism and Well-behaved Veiled Girlhood: Female Migrants in Denmark
      (pp. 91-108)
      Malene Fenger-Grøndahl

      ‘Have Danish feminists let their foreign sisters down?’ This question has regularly resurfaced in Danish political debate and Danish media, and different answers have been suggested by politicians, chairpersons of women’s organizations and feminists of different ages. The debate has generally focused on what responsibility Danish women (mainly white and Christian or non-religious) have regarding the living conditions and individual rights of immigrant women, especially Muslim women. This chapter does not answer that question – one that, I would dare to suggest, does not make much sense and, for that and other reasons, has no clear answer. But the question will...

    • 5 Gendered Experiences of Homeland, Identity and Belonging among the Kurdish Diaspora
      (pp. 109-124)
      Minoo Alinia

      This chapter discusses the impact of gender on experiences of migration, on diasporic identity and the sense of ‘home’ and belonging. It is based on a larger study of the Kurdish diaspora, carried out in Sweden (Alinia 2004). The study’s overall purpose was to investigate displacement, deterritorialization, exclusion and their impact on identity formation. Its primary focus was Kurdish diasporic experiences, identities and movements from the perspective of the people involved. Several so-called first-generation Kurdish women and men, settled mainly in Gothenburg, were interviewed about their experiences of and relation to Swedish society, their ‘homeland’ and the Kurdish diasporic community....

  8. Part II. Home Politics, Host Policies and Resistance

    • 6 Learning Processes and Political Literacy among Women in the Norwegian Kurdish Diaspora
      (pp. 127-149)
      Kariane Westrheim

      Historic turbulence in Kurdistan, caused by external and internal conflicts, war and deportations, has resulted in the dispersion of Kurds from their original homeland to diaspora communities all over the world. Large Kurdish diaspora communities have formed in European countries like Germany and France. In the Nordic countries, Sweden has the largest Kurd population and a multitude of Kurdish organizations and communities, while Norway has a relatively small Kurdish diaspora population numbering approximately 5,000 Kurds, the majority of whom come from the autonomous Kurdish Region in North Iraq. It is difficult to determine the exact number of Kurds in Norway...

    • 7 Territorial Stigmatization, Inequality of Schooling and Identity Formation among Young Immigrants
      (pp. 150-174)
      Bolette Moldenhawer

      Since the publication of the OECD’s authoritative report on the disadvantages students from immigrant backgrounds suffer in comparison to their ethnic-majority peers in terms of performance and advancement in Europe’s highly varied school systems (OECD 2006), ethnic differences in education have become a prime target of research and policymaking within national frameworks and at the continental level. At the same time, policymakers and parents alike are concerned about both the increasing importance of educational qualifications and the problems associated with multicultural urban and educational contexts (Butler and van Zanten 2007). The facts of ethnic differentiation within and by schools are...

    • 8 The Absence of Strategy and the Absence of Bildung: When Integration Policy Cannot Succeed
      (pp. 175-189)
      Tina Kallehave

      In the 1990s, migration and the integration of migrants became particularly controversial political issues in Denmark, resulting in changes to the Aliens Act in 1997, the passing of the Integration Act in 1999 and media debates in which participants were often highly critical of migrants. A primary purpose of both acts was to improve the basic system for the so-called integration of citizens from migrant backgrounds. Denmark had been accepting refugees, foreign labour and immigrants wishing to join their families in the country since the end of the 1950s, but despite regular changes in legislation and political discussions on the...

  9. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 190-192)
  10. Index
    (pp. 193-196)