Ambiguity in urban belonging: Pakistani Copenhagen narratives

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Abstract

Being a ‘stranger’ has become increasingly difficult on the European continent during the latest decades. Populist racism and anti-immigration attitudes have made life difficult, and Denmark has taken the position as one of the iconic cases of this development. But how is that reflected in the cities? Does the character of the city as ‘a world of strangers’ open up special possibilities of co-existence? These are the questions addressed in this paper using material from an interpretative analysis conducted among Copenhagen citizens of Pakistani origin. The analysis aims to construe an affective mapping of the life as an ethnic minority in the city. It revolves around three issues. First, it focuses on the narrators’ experiences of exclusions and blockages in everyday life. This is followed by a focus on urban belonging emphasizing its differential character. Finally the ambiguity of experiences is discussed, including the paradox that the experiences of estrangement apparently have only marginal influence on the possibility of belonging. The narrators simultaneously express strong emotions around exclusions and construe different creative ways of belonging to the city.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftCity
Vol/bind19
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)522
Antal sider533
ISSN1360-4813
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2015

Emneord

  • ethnic minorities
  • urban everyday life
  • Otherness
  • belonging

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