Analyzing and theorizing integrationist visions and beyond
In this presentation I will discuss the ways in which welfare workers addressing immigrants and refugees (re)produce integrationist visions, symbolizing society as an integrated whole and immigrants/refugees as a distraction to that whole. Paradoxically, welfare workers also oppose these integrationist visions in their quest to protect immigrants’ and refugees’ fundamental wellbeing and status as human beings with equal rights, group life and history. These opposing elements generate ambiguity and contradiction within integrationist welfare work. The ambition of the presentation is to enquire into how these ambiguities and contradictions are conceptualized and theorized through the analytical processes I carry out, and in relation to historical contextualization of the content of the analyses. I will show how welfare workers make symbolic boundaries of legitimate ‘universal’ behaviour and membership of the Danish community, e.g., promoting Danish culture as sort of a superior democratic culture, appealing for morally apt behaviour and interest in own individual development. The aim of the analyses is to understand welfare workers’ visions and divisions as significant factors in the making and remaking of society, solidarity and what it takes to be and/or become a legitimate member of society. The presentation is based on analyses of 48 interviews (carried out in 2014) with a range of welfare workers (social workers, psychologists, police officers, pedagogues, doctors, teachers, health visitors, nurses and more) addressing immigrants and refugees and their families and descendants in the Danish welfare nation-state.
Main Research Area:
International Research Seminar: Analyzing the practices of (organized) cultural encounters, 2015