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The Nativist Triangle: Sexuality, Race and Religion in the Netherlands

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The Culturalization of Citizenship

Abstract

This chapter offers an innovative analysis of Dutch nativism by looking at the intersection of race, religion and sexuality. In the Netherlands, we argue, nativism exercises its exclusionary power through this triangular construction of alterity. Sex talk in the Netherlands constructs a number of distinct racio-cultural others: Muslim citizens (in particular, girls and women) are portrayed as anachronistic remnants from an age of sexual oppression that Dutch society is deemed to have left behind, while ‘black’ sexuality alternates between the exotic and the abject. While nativist discourse may seem rigid in its division of Dutch society into ‘autochthones’ and ‘allochthones’ the appearance of rigidity, we argue, derives precisely from nativism’s situational flexibility. The idea that there are two neatly delimited camps is produced by the ability of nativist discourse to switch registers on a dime, strategically shifting between invoking race and culture/religion.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    We use this term to indicate Dutch citizens with a migration background. We realize that this kind of naming can be problematic as it ascribes seemingly fixed identities. At the same time, we think that this is outweighed by the analysis such a term enables, namely that of nativism as a form of dominance that singles out people with specific racialized and ethnic backgrounds.

  2. 2.

    https://spdb.ohchr.org/hrdb/23rd/public_-_AL_Netherlands_17.01.13_(1.2013).pdf, accessed 4 August 2015.

  3. 3.

    http://www.3fm.nl/nieuws/detail/355827/Anouk-door-naar-finale-Eurovisie-Songfestival, accessed 15 July 2015.

  4. 4.

    These racist and sexist comments are not representative of the majority of Zwarte Piet supporters and it is difficult to say how many would be inclined to use such a mode of expression. Nevertheless, these outbursts show that these images are part of a cultural archive (Wekker 2014) that people easily resort to.

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Balkenhol, M., Mepschen, P., Duyvendak, J.W. (2016). The Nativist Triangle: Sexuality, Race and Religion in the Netherlands. In: Duyvendak, J., Geschiere, P., Tonkens, E. (eds) The Culturalization of Citizenship. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-53410-1_5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-53410-1_5

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