N° 47 2015/1 – The Construction of the Other. Defining “Identity at the Margins” in the European Space
edited by Solenn Carof, Aline Hartemann, Anne Unterreiner, 2015/1 (n°47)
Solenn Carof, Aline Hartemann, Anne Unterreiner – The Construction of the Other. Defining “Identity at the Margins” in the European Space
Immigrant integration has been historically the near monopoly of nation-states. Over the last decade, the EU has accrued a new set of competences in integration. This article argues that while it developed its role chiefly in technical areas, the emergence of the EU as a decision-maker transforms immigrant integration at its core. In a series of documents and regulations reviewed here, the EU defines immigrant integration exclusively in relation with third country nationals and it excludes the European citizens. This exclusion of the European citizens from programmes of integration bears positive symbolic value as they are thus, excluded from the “other” category. Following the nation-state logic, this exclusion is not justified because European citizens are not part of the nation. The article claims that such redefinition of integration is a means for constructing a cultural dimension and substantiating an identity for the European project. In doing so, it advances the process of European integration. Finally, the article discusses the challenges and characteristics of the “new” integration model consolidating at the EU level.
Ceremonies for new citizens are organised in different European countries since the early 2000s. These new practices illustrate a political decision to solemnize admission in the “national community” and materialise a contemporary “imagined community”. Comparing the legislative and administrative evolutions of integration and citizenship policy in France, Germany and the United Kingdom,we observe contemporary representations and practices of national identification, and stress possible processes of convergence in the definition of identity and alterity which question the idea of national “models”.
Since January 1991, the Federal Republic of Germany has implemented a state policy allowing applicants living in former Soviet Union countries and categorized as Jewish to settle in Germany. Originally, this policy appeared in the political agenda as a way to host potential victims of anti-Semitism in theSoviet Union; then it was maintained to rebuild Jewish life in Germany with the influx of post-Soviet Jews, labelled as an ethno religious group. Examining the categorizations that have turned positive representations of this group into negative ones, we explain why this policy persisted throughout the 2000s despite the fact that ethnicity was no longer the unique criterion for Germany to define its own nation.
Starting in the mid-19th century, several European States developed tools to control movers. By targeting specific populations and organizing their marginalization, these mechanisms aimed at controlling domestic and international mobility. We compare three tools implemented in France in order to understand the mechanisms that create alterity and marginality. In so doing we explore the figure of the outsider in the second half of the 19th century in France, considering the complex and blurred boundaries that exist between the “Same” and the “Other”.
Being both emotional and bordering on the irrational, identification with a soccer team of Turkish background shows that the experience of stigmatization is part of an “us vs. them” mentality cementing social relationships. Our qualitative approach highlights the narrative of this identification, based on experiences at the margins of the social arena. The aim is to demonstrate that interviewees use the “art of faking out” as a strategy of identification. This tactical dimension of stigma serves as a foundation for a reverse construction of identity. However,it illustrates not so much a need for belonging as a desire for distinction in a space of mutual acquaintances that is being ethnicized and pauperized.