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Second Generation Immigrant Girls’ Negotiations of Cultural Proximity in Switzerland: A Foucauldian Reading
Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3918-7904
Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Lucerne School of Social Work, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Lucerne, Switzerland.
Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
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2015 (English)In: Journal of International Migration and Integration, ISSN 1488-3473, E-ISSN 1874-6365, Vol. 16, no 4, p. 1213-1229Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Although overtly racist political discourse in Switzerland has receded, culturalist discourses continue to construct ideal immigrants. Policies define immigrants in terms of “cultural proximity” and contain an implicit distinction between “distant” and “proximal” foreigners. Culturally, distant immigrants have been stereotyped as aggressive and/or lacking interest in education and professional success and while scholars have examined immigrants from Switzerland’s “culturally-near” regions, the experiences of second generation immigrant populations from perceived culturally distant countries have largely escaped attention. Knowledge about girls and women is particularly scarce. Against this backdrop, this paper provides an examination of how six teenage girls living in a German-speaking Swiss city negotiate their perceived cultural distance. By combining interview material with elements of Foucauldian theory, the paper provides insight into (1) the diasporic experiences of girls with second generation immigration backgrounds and (2) the operation and influence of culturalist discourses. Foucault’s notion of dispositive—the discourses, institutions, laws, and scientific findings that, through various means of distribution (e.g., media texts, policies, education curricula), act as an apparatus that constructs and supports normative ideals—provides a generative analytic tool for this task. The analysis suggests that the ways girls learn to understand their social worlds is a collective process of discipline that places mechanisms of social control within each individual. This process involves the homogenisation and marginalisation of the immigrant population and is circular in nature in that the girls strengthen and maintain the power of existing culturalist knowledge that works negatively on them. The paper concludes with a consideration of how this situation might be challenged.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2015. Vol. 16, no 4, p. 1213-1229
Keywords [en]
Culturalist discourses, Dispositive, Foucault, Gender, Perceived cultural distance, Second generation immigrant girls, acculturation, cultural influence, diaspora, immigrant population, marginalization, migrants experience, perception, social theory, theoretical study, womens status, Switzerland
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-73070DOI: 10.1007/s12134-014-0386-9ISI: 000363255300020Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84944677455OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-73070DiVA, id: diva2:1295108
Note

Funding agency: Swiss National Science Foundation (grant number 100017-120380)

Available from: 2019-03-10 Created: 2019-03-10 Last updated: 2019-04-08Bibliographically approved

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Barker-Ruchti, Natalie

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