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Racial Turns and Returns: Recalibrations of Racial Exceptionalism in Danish Public Debates on Racism

  • Mathias Danbolt
  • Lene Myong
Chapter
Part of the Approaches to Social Inequality and Difference book series (ATSIAD)

Abstract

In recent years, the Danish public has been embroiled in different debates on racism and whiteness. While these debates instigate a break with historic and color-blind silencing of racism in Denmark, they have also given rise to multiple reproductions of racist logics. Our analysis concentrates on a debate that took off in early 2013 following the publication of the book Are Danes Racist? The Problems of Immigration Research [Er danskerne racister? Indvandrerforskningens problemer] by Henning Bech and Mehmet Ümit Necef. The debate centered around the question of whether or not so-called anti-racist research met scientific standards. We argue that this debate can be seen as a turning point in how both individual researchers in particular and racism research in general have been positioned as unscientific and as productive of social division and racism in Denmark. The chapter suggests that these racial turns can be seen as a recalibration of the tradition of Danish racial exceptionalism, where racism in Denmark is presented as containable and marginal, and where anti-racist research in itself constitutes a new form of racism.

Keywords

Anti-racism Racial exceptionalism Critical media events Racial engagement 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.University of StavangerStavangerNorway

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