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Racism and Xenophobia European Societies Claire Wallace.

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Presentation on theme: "Racism and Xenophobia European Societies Claire Wallace."— Presentation transcript:

1 Racism and Xenophobia European Societies Claire Wallace

2 Definitions Racism = Anglo-American discourse about relationship between white society and people of colour. Also used in France (Wievorka) in a more specific sense Lentin argues that it is relevant in Europe because of historical tradition of colonialism and the holocaust that were common to most of Europe. But she argues that it now takes new forms. It is no longer about relationship between dominant (white) populations and colonised minorities. It is also about relationship between insiders (including the integrated minorities) and outsiders – the new others and strangers such as asylum seekers. Linked to an idea of multiculturalism but too many foreigners will unbalance. Rise of identity politics has diluted racism.

3 Definitions Xenophobia = fear of strangers. Baumgartl and Favell argue that this has now mainly replaced racism in European discourse and is a more useful concept because it covers attitudes to poor white neighbouring migrants and anti- foreigner discourses. Can apply to very different groups: Russians, immigrants, seasonal workers, guest workers, tourists, business people, asylum seekers, people buying holiday homes, gypsies, Aussiedler….. Dont even have to be physically present (e.g. anti-semitism in Poland). EUMC (European Centre for the Monitoring of Xenophobia and Racism) checks responses to: racism, xenophobia, anti-semitism, and anti-Muslim. It assumes these are all different but somehow related.

4 Why is there xenophobia? In-groups and out-groups fundamental part of human societies To do with national identities being under threat or being formed Economic competition Historical repression of particular groups (or revenge of the repressed groups –Russians in Latvia) Perceived threat to values/cultures (e.g. nomadic nature, sexuality, fecundity, etc.) Inclusion/exclusion based upon legal rules Systematic policies of the state Anti-foreigner populist political discourse Construction of symbolic boundaries Fear of strangers (Bauman) Competition about the welfare state (Faist)

5 What is new about the new xenophobia/racism? New migration wave since 1989 (4 th wave). Wave of uninvited foreigners not necessarily from former colonies Globalisation of migration – change in nature of conflicts (civil wars/ethnic wars) displace civilian populations. They are able to move – large numbers of refugees Integration of the EU with rising living standards Associated with rise of new populist anti-foreigner parties Associated with threat of terrorism (Islamaphobia) Anti-racist/xenophobic discourse of tolerance and human rights – setting up of EUMC Cultural racism replaced biological racism Tightening up of migration and asylum laws (e.g. Schengen monitoring system and rule that must be expelled from all countries). Resistance of societies who do not see themselves as multicultural In ECE racism/xenophobia not expressed so Gypsies seen as citizens of lower development. Saw selves as culturally homogenous societies. So impact of foreigners difficult to accommodate.

6 Vulnerable groups Immigrants Migrants in transit National minorities Foreigners in residence Refugees/asylum seekers Gypsies Muslims People of colour

7 Atmosphere giving rise to xenophobia Significant discussion about national identity Rise of xenophobic political parties Tightening of legislation surrounding migration Deterioration in social attitudes

8 How much xenophobia is there? According to the WVS it is declining in Europe (own analysis). Generally more tolerant attitudes. Value change More education, more tolerance Monitoring by EUMC – v. high in Germany and especially Britain, but this is because monitoring systems are more thorough Some countries believe that they have no xenophobia (Italy)

9 Example: Austria Guest worker population and some minorities Same policies of integration as Germany Opening of borders – floods of migrants and asylum seekers Economic competition due to cheaper labour from the East. Young manual workers especially threatened Joined EU – more economic competition. Problems of national identity Historical link with Nazism Yugoslav wars – many asylum seekers Rise of the FPO (Jorg Haider) appealing to young working class males Open support of old Nazis and xenophobic statements. Connected foreigners and criminality Eventually gained one quarter of the votes (from less than 10%) Government became more right wing Stricter laws on migrants and asylum seekers

10 Example: Gypsies Gypsy Populations (1995) Austria Belgium Bulgaria – Czech Republic Denmark Great Britain Hungary – Ireland Romania Slovakia Source: Baumgartl and Favell 1995

11 Gypsies: a people without a national territorry Tsigani, Roma, Sinti, Travellers Came to Europe about 11 th Century from India Mostly worked as skilled craftsmen (smiths), musicians and soldiers With Ottoman victory at Mohacs in 1526 their position deteriorated In Romania and Bessarabia they had the status of slaves until liberated in 1863 Austrians under Maria Theresia (late 18 th C enlightenment monarch) tried to stop nomadism and kidnap children and this policy continued throughout Eastern Europe sporadically Gypsy music an important influence on Russian and Hungarian music Late 19thC rise of nationalism 1920s promotion of Gypsy culture and identity 1930s and 1940s. Gypsy holocaust murdered 1950s under communism forced assimilation 1990s freedom and democracy – but rise of crime and removal of subsidies, Roma situation deteriorated Blamed for all the economic problems and problems with the new democracies. Exodus of Roma Still life in appalling conditions, low educational attainment (dont attend school), poor housing and discrimination in the job market. Still hated by most European populations



14 Gypsies in 19 th C Charles Boner (Northern Romania) Conditions ….were particularly wretched. Though cold and frosty, children of ten or twelve years of age stood outside the huts without a particle of clothing. In that state they will often sit on a piece of ice, and with feet drawn together, slide down a frozen slope. Many die however, from exposure and privation; but the first years once over, their hardened frames bear every clemency. These people can support heat and cold. Everything, in short, except wind. Of that the gypsy has a thorough horror; it completely incapacitated him for everything: he shrinks before it helpless. Cited in Crowe 1994 p 125


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