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The International Handbook on Gender, Migration and Transnationalism

The International Handbook on Gender, Migration and Transnationalism

Global and Development Perspectives

International Handbooks on Gender series

Edited by Laura Oso and Natalia Ribas Mateos

The International Handbook on Gender, Migration and Transnationalism represents a state-of-the-art review of the critical importance of the links between gender and migration in a globalising world. It draws on original, largely field-based contributions by authors across a range of disciplinary provenances worldwide.

Chapter 3: Talking culture: new boundaries, new rhetorics of exclusion in Europe

Verena Stolcke

Subjects: development studies, development economics, family and gender policy, migration, economics and finance, development economics, geography, human geography, politics and public policy, migration, social policy and sociology, family and gender policy, migration, urban and regional studies, migration


I first published this work in 1995. As it has turned out, it was sadly prophetic. Little research was then and still is available on the political background, namely the nation-state, in which transnational migration takes place and by which it is regulated, controlled and migrants are symbolized. At the time readers did not quite understand my central argument about the ideological assumptions on which growing rejection and aggression of non-European immigrants were based. As I contended then, in the contemporary debate about the problems that transnational migrants who hoped to settle in Europe posed, the idea of the bounded ness of cultures and cultural differences had gained new prominence. By now, however, it is not only the political right in Europe that employs a political rhetoric of exclusion in which non-European immigrants, who proceed in part from its ex-colonies, are construed as posing a threat to the national identity and unity of the receiving countries because they are culturally different. In addition, this rhetoric of exclusion has generally been branded as a new form of racism.

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