I Danmark er jeg født, der har jeg (også) hjemme

Marie Louise Margrethe Jørgensen

Studenteropgave: Speciale


This thesis explores how Danish migrants in the New York area engage in transnational ties and activities, and the influence these ties and activities have on the migrants’ incorporation in the American society. Numerous studies have examined the continuing ties and bonds of migrants to the land of their origin. But most studies on transnational migration focus on uneducated migrants from 3rd world countries. There is a lack on studies that examine the processes of migration of well-educated white middleclass western migrants. I find that the lack of knowledge on how these migrants adapt and respond to the migrant situation makes it difficult for the majority-population in Denmark and other western countries to relate to and understand the situation of the non-western migrants. The reason is that non-western migrants have a very different background and culture than the majority population in western countries. I claim that Danish/Western migrants act like most other migrants when becoming a minority far from home. Danish migrants seek a community where they easily can be included, and where they know the norms and codes of conduct, this is in many cases the ethnic community. I have explored the incorporation of Danish migrants in the New York area and their transnational ties and activities to enable a better appreciation of migrants continuing ties to their country of origin. The overall objective of this thesis is to examine how Danish people themselves behave when they become the minority in a place far from home. The empirical data on which this thesis relies have been produced during my visit to New York in the spring of 2008. I interviewed ten Danish migrants in the New York area about their involvement in transnational activities and their transnational ties. My objective with the interviews has been to examine the ways in which individuals engage in social relations and practices that cross borders as a regular feature of everyday life. Furthermore, the objective has been to explore their highlighting of the transnational elements of who they are and how this affects their incorporation in the main society. I show how the Danish migrants express a transnational way of belonging by having an emotional connection to Denmark and the community of Danes by a notion of shared history and culture. The notion of belonging is expressed by a claim for a Danish identity and participation in organisations and social networks operating in the transnational social field. The Danes also express a transnational way of being which is observed in the way they engage in social relations with other people. Their understanding and interpretation of the actions and signals by others is based on their social and cultural understanding and experiences in a Danish context and not an American. Their way of being is transnational because it is based on Danish values, norms and codes of conduct. In general the Danish migrants are employed in non-ethnic business, do not segregate themselves into ethnic enclaves, feel as a part of the community, have social relations with Americans – though some more than others. I draw the conclusion that the Danish migrants, despite their transnational ties and activities, are well incorporated in the American society, as long as one does not equal incorporation with assimilation. In the public sphere the migrants are more or less assimilated, but in the private sphere they are not. However, their transnational belonging does hinder their incorporation in the American society to some extent. Several of the migrants refused to become naturalised American citizens because they were unwilling to cede their Danish citizenship. This excludes them from political rights in the United States, as well as in Denmark. The fact that they have no desire to become naturalized American citizens and thereby obtain political rights, hinder their full incorporation.

UddannelserForvaltning, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato28 jan. 2009
VejledereYvonne Mørck


  • statsborgerskab
  • New York
  • danskere
  • transnationalisme
  • migration
  • tilhørsforhold
  • identitet