Tracing Social Problems and Racialization in Europe

Aktivitet: Deltagelse i eller arrangering af en begivenhedOrganisation og deltagelse i konference


European mass media and politics have over the years articulated shifting, urgent social problems – from honor-based violence, social control, youth gangs, to radicalized and terror-prone Muslims. Images of suppressed Muslim women, urban deprivation, ghettoization, and the underclass combined with growing fears surrounding national security and masculinities-in-crisis position ethnic minorities, and especially Muslims, as a recurrent folk devil in European imaginaries (cf. Alexander 2000).

While claims makers declare a given condition as of urgent concern for society ─ charting a problem that must be addressed including directing ways and means of solving it ─ others respond to those claims and rework them. Put differently, social problems go through societal processes of construction (‘discovery’), reconstruction and consolidation by various stakeholders as the media, the general public, social workers, policymakers, and critics engage in assessing the effectiveness of the policy in question.

Focusing on how certain behaviours, actions or norms in Europe come to be understood – problematized and suggested solved – as social problems, this conference explores how racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, and gender formations play into the emergence, and consolidation, of some practices as social problems.

Whereas some strands of research tie social problems such as social control to an inner, cultural essence in ethnic minority-individuals and primarily explore cultural and religious dynamics within the ethnic minority individuals, families and communities, other studies turn to the consequences of what is understood as an institutionalization of a culturalist line of thought (cf. Keskinen 2017). This strand of research problematizes culturalist discourses, including the intervention programs such discourses give rise to, for being nationalist, racialized and securitized and takes the alternative route of exploring the consequences of the discourses’ institutionalization. While this approach includes analyses of majority politics, media discourses and intervention programs concerning the minority cultures and individuals deemed defective, the first approach primarily explores discourses, norms and practices in ethnic minority families and communities, relating them to culture, race or religion. Notably, the two strands of research rarely consider how both aspects feed into one another when practices around social problems such as social control occur.

Approaching social control, violence and youth gangs as particularly discernible examples of racialized social problems that have gained vast attention, we look to historicize and contextualize these, and related, issues (cf. Ugelvik 2019). We encourage examinations of interactions between majority politics, institutionalization of discourses and intervention programs ─ and critical engagements with other structural conditions ─ as well as explorations of ethnic minority practices and dynamics surrounding diverse forms of issues deemed social problems.
Periode4 nov. 20195 nov. 2019
PlaceringRoskilde, DanmarkVis på kort
Grad af anerkendelseInternational