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Placing self and Other: Imaginaries of urban diversity and productive discontent

The white working-class resident living in increasingly multi-ethnic urban neighbourhoods is a key trope in debates around migrant integration and national identity in Western Europe. Such residents are imagined to feel out of place due to the influx
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  Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Emotion, Space and Society  journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/emospa Placing self and Other: Imaginaries of urban diversity and productivediscontent Myrte Sophie Hoekstra 1  Research and Documentation Centre, Turfmarkt 147, 2511 DP, The Hague, the Netherlands A R T I C L E I N F O  Keywords: DiversityImaginariesDiscontentEmotional geographiesAmsterdam A B S T R A C T The white working-class resident living in increasingly multi-ethnic urban neighbourhoods is a key trope indebates around migrant integration and national identity in Western Europe. Such residents are imagined to feelout of place due to the in fl ux of migrants in  ‘ their ’  neighbourhoods. This paper engages with the anxiety, dis-content, and resentment experienced by a sub-set of residents in a multi-ethnic neighbourhood in Amsterdam,the Netherlands. I show how these emotions are grounded in everyday interactions with  ‘ Others ’  but also stemfrom residents' placed subjectivities: perceptions of the self in relation to symbolic and material geographies of the city and the nation. Placed subjectivities in turn informed how residents were (not) able to deal with dif-ference. While some residents demonstrated a by now familiar rhetoric of discontent, others developed new waysof interacting with place and de fi ning their own position, despite their discomfort. These  ‘ productive discontents ’ might allow for small-scale and ambivalent forms of neighbouring across di ff  erence. 1. Introduction And back then we had, what did we have in the [apartmentbuilding]? One Turkish family and the others all autochthonous[ ‘ native ’ , white Dutch]. And now it's almost the other way around.And now things here are not good at all. It's getting out of hand ( … )They call Slotermeer the sewer of Amsterdam.This statement by a long-time resident of Slotermeer, a multi-ethnicneighbourhood in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, incorporates several of the aspects that have by now become all too familiar in academic andpolicy debates on multiculturalism and diversifying urban spaces. Theseinclude nostalgia for a past that is seen as more white and respectable,and the spectre of downgrading and territorial stigmatization (see e.g.Mepschen, 2016; Pinkster, 2016; K. Tyler, 2015). At the same time, a more benign reading is possible, one that foregrounds the memoriesassociated with a particular place where one has lived for a long timeand which has transformed beyond recognition, and the fear of losingcontrol ( ‘ it's getting out of hand ’ ). Furthermore, as a white working-class man, the speaker embodies an identity that has arguably becomeoverdetermined in its association with feelings of resentment, victim-hood, and populist revolt (Rhodes, 2012; K. Tyler, 2015). While studies of the electoral geography of right-wing populist voting in the Neth-erlands have challenged the idea that such voters are concentrated inethnically diverse urban neighbourhoods (Van Gent et al., 2014; Van der Waal et al., 2013), the framing of   ‘ ordinary ’  (white, working-class)residents who feel out of place through the in fl ux of migrants in  ‘ their ’ neighbourhoods remains a pervasive political and media trope (DeKoning and Vollebergh, 2019; Verloo, 2018). In this paper, my aim is to go beyond a rei fi cation of the whiteworking class and their emotional positioning (and dismissal) as  ‘ angrycitizens ’  to highlight how residents' placed subjectivities, by which Imean their perceptions of the self in relation to symbolic and materialgeographies of the neighbourhood, the city, and the nation (Clayton,2009; Davidson et al., 2007; Morley, 2001; Snider, 2017; Wood and Waite, 2011) inform how they are (not) able to deal with di ff  erence. Myanalysis shows that residents internalized dominant policy framingsthat attribute a sense of loss of place to the presence of migrant Othersand applied this to experiences in their own neighbourhood (cf.Mepschen, 2016), resulting in strategies of discursive and spatial dis-a ffi liation (Pinkster, 2014; Watt, 2009). However, more con fl icted andambivalent responses were also identi fi ed. First, emotional responseswere also triggered by wider processes of neighbourhood and urbanchange, indicating that place change and associated feelings of lossshould be seen as multiscalar and relational. Second, some residentsrede fi ned their placed subjectivities, enabling them to identify and in-teract with the neighbourhood alongside or despite feelings of  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emospa.2019.100629Received 20 December 2018; Received in revised form 1 May 2019; Accepted 10 October 2019  E-mail address:  m.s.hoekstra@wodc.nl. 1 Parts of this research were done while the author was a ffi liated with the Department of Human Geography, Planning, and International Development studies,University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, 1019 WV, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Emotion, Space and Society 33 (2019) 1006291755-4586/ © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.    discomfort. I refer to this rede fi nition as  ‘ productive discontent ’ , whichalthough falling short of policy expectations of multicultural intimacy(cf. Fortier, 2007) does not impede and potentially even facilitatessmall-scale and ambivalent forms of neighbouring across di ff  erence(Painter, 2012). 2. Imaginaries of migrant others in the Netherlands Modest and De Koning (2016) de fi ne the current political momentin Western Europe as one of   ‘ anxious politics ’ , whereby anxiety and lossunderlie imaginaries of a national identity under siege by ethnic, racial,and religious diversity. Migrants, in particular Muslims, are portrayedas a threat to the integrity of the nation and the durability of its ac-complishments, chief among them the welfare state. In addition, the fi gure of the Muslim as the unassimilable Other has become broadlyseen as threatening progressive politics and its putatively Western va-lues of personal freedom, equality, and tolerance (Butler, 2008). Im-portantly, Modest and De Koning (2016) argue that we should attend tothe a ff  ective and highly personal nature of anxious politics, which theydescribe as a  ‘ particular structure of feeling that stresses loss of control,a sense of being disregarded and dominated, a loss of familiar sur-roundings as well as of rights ’  (p. 101). Their focus on the a ff  ective andthe personal resonates with Isin's (2004) neurotic citizen, who is con-stitutionally a ffl icted by fears, anxieties, and insecurities (see alsoWacquant, 2010). According to Isin, the home (both one's literal homeand the metaphorical national homeland) takes on a central role in thegovernance of the neurotic citizen, as it  ‘ gets constituted as a domainthrough which anxieties and insecurities are managed and stabilized ’ but at the same time establishing the home as a safe haven  ‘ generatesincreased anxieties about its creation and maintenance as such a do-main ’  (Isin, 2004, p. 231).Dutch politicians indeed portray the ability of so-called  ‘ ordinaryDutch ’  to identify with and feel at home both in the nation and in theirown neighbourhood as paramount (Duyvendak, 2011). National in-tegration policies link diversity with feelings of loss and unsafety, anddefend the claim of non-migrant Dutch to ownership of   ‘ their ’  neigh-bourhoods:In neighbourhoods where large numbers of new Dutch have settled,especially residents who have traditionally lived there experiencethe negative consequences of these changes. The loss of a familiarworld, unease due to a changing streetscape, the nuisance and crimehave made it so that these people do not experience the neigh-bourhood they have sometimes lived in for decades as theirs any-more (VROM Ministry, 2009, p.2).The feeling of loss and the sense of injustice supposedly experiencedby the remaining white residents of what have become multi-ethnicneighbourhoods also played a central role in a recent (2018) speech bythe Dutch Minister of Foreign A ff  airs:And those residents of [Dutch multi-ethnic neighbourhoods] whosaw their jobs threatened and their neighbourhoods completelychanged, and who said  ‘ we did not ask for this, but it was done to us ’ ( … ) That's why I say, I understand these people ( … ) If you live rightin the middle of it, it really a ff  ects you.This politicization of residents' (supposed) anxiety calls attention tohow residents actually relate to their neighbourhood as a diversifyingurban space, and to what extent they experience a slippage betweentheir ability to feel at home in the neighbourhood and in the nation.How does the  ‘ changing streetscape ’  that is a central point in policydocuments on integration relate to residents' experiences of socio-spa-tial change, and how do these become part of politically capitalizedupon narratives of anxiety and loss? 3. Imaginaries of the diverse city Studies looking at the experience of diversity in everyday life oftenfocus on the neighbourhood and social relations between neighbours(see e.g. Clayton, 2009; De Koning and Vollebergh, 2019; Hoekstra and Dahlvik, 2018; Pemberton and Phillimore, 2018; K. Tyler, 2015; Wessendorf, 2013). These studies show that the neighbourhood mattersnot just as a setting for interaction, but also as a place to relate to andidentify with (or not). Probyn (2003) advances a analogous argument inher distinction between identity and subjectivity, as she argues thatwhile subjectivities are always embodied, they are produced throughhistorical and ideological articulations of space. Thus, they depend onhow individuals are interpellated by ideological structures as  ‘ normal ’ or  ‘ abnormal ’  subjects but also on where they are: whether they areconsidered in or out of place. Conversely, how individuals inhabit space –  and how they feel about inhabiting that space  –  depends on whether(aspects of) their subjectivities are con fi gured as di ff  erent in speci fi ccontexts. For example, Wessendorf (2013) argues that in many neigh-bourhoods, diversity is now seen as  ‘ commonplace ’ , a de fi ning yet un-remarkable place characteristic, even when interaction between groupsis limited. Similarly, Pemberton and Phillimore (2018) argue that theextent to which neighbourhood identity is based on diversity informsmigrants' place-making strategies. On the other side of the coin, Nayak(2010, p. 2370) describes how racist gra ffi ti functions as a marker of territoriality that transforms English suburbs into  ‘ emotion-ladenlandscapes of whiteness ’ . In short, the organization of space a ff  ectsperceptions of the Other, but crucially also of the self. Imaginaries of the neighbourhood as  ‘ diverse ’  or  ‘ white British ’  in fl uence how peopleconstruct a sense of self as resident of a particular place. The presence of the Other then threatens not only the established socio-spatial order butalso the integrity of individual and collective identities, triggering an-xiety and attempts at spatial distancing and boundary-drawing (Wilton,1998).At the same time, placed subjectivities are experienced relationally:through (dis)connections with places across multiple levels of scale(Clayton, 2009; Morley, 2001; Pierce et al., 2011). For example, Snider (2017) shows how urban socio-spatial mobilities of Latino/a residentsin Boston are shaped partly in response to real and imagined encounterswith Others. Glass (2017) as well shows how imaginaries of place areracialized and a ff  ect respondents' sense of belonging to the city as awhole. Furthermore, as I have argued, political discourses in theNetherlands and elsewhere tend to collapse national (racial) identitywith local belonging, and the political salience of nationally sca-pegoated groups can therefore be expected to colour everyday en-counters and interactions. Imogen Tyler (2013), drawing on and ex-tending Kristeva's (1982) work on abjection, indeed demonstrates thatwhile social abjection is created nationally (or internationally) as cer-tain subject positions (asylum seekers, the white underclass) are con- fi gured as revolting through their  ‘ fetishistically overdetermined ’  (p.10) representation in media and politics, it is lived locally as a socialprocess that plays out in everyday spaces. Discursive tropes come to lifeat the neighbourhood level, where they are used as frames to interpretthe behaviour of Others and to make sense of neighbourhood change(De Koning and Vollebergh, 2019). 4. Research approach Within the Netherlands, Amsterdam is one of the most diverse cities:over half of the population is a  fi rst or second generation migrant andthe city houses 167 di ff  erent nationalities (OIS, 2017). Compared to theDutch national government, Amsterdam employs a less restrictive dis-course regarding migration and attempts to embrace diversity as part of the city's identity, albeit mostly when it is deemed economically prof-itable to do so (Hoekstra, 2015). While socio-spatial segregation inAmsterdam is relatively low, inequality is increasingly visible in theurban landscape through widespread processes of state-led  M.S. Hoekstra  Emotion, Space and Society 33 (2019) 100629 2  gentri fi cation. Gentri fi cation heightens the disparity between wealthyand upgrading neighbourhoods in the inner city and surrounding areasof pre-WWII housing on the one hand, and the post-war expansion areaslocated outside the A10 ring road on the other hand (Hochstenbach,2017). The latter house disproportionate shares of lower-income andmigrant residents, giving rise to a dualistic spatial imaginary wherebygentrifying areas are contrasted with a marginalized and racializedperiphery (Van Gent and Ja ff  e, 2017).Located in the 1950s expansion area called Amsterdam New West,Slotermeer is one of the neighbourhoods that are regularly pro-blematized by the municipal government and (local) media due tophysical (deterioration of public space, concentrations of social rentalhousing) and social aspects (low socioeconomic status of residents, ahigh share of residents with a migrant background). Policy documentsdescribe a lack of cohesion and tense relations between resident groups(Amsterdam Nieuw-West, 2012). Despite signi fi cant ethnic and socialmix, the area's image is that of a place dominated by Muslim residents  – for example, the popular self-ascribed  ‘ politically incorrect ’  blogGeenStijl regularly refers to the district as  ‘ New Gaza ’ . Although therehas been talk about the area's potential upgrading as a consequence of the tight Amsterdam housing market (e.g. Het Parool, n.d.), the districtremains  fi rmly o ff   the mental map  –  sometimes literally so, as in thecase of a poster distributed by the Amsterdam city marketing o ffi ce,which aims to draw tourists to lesser-known destinations outside theover-crowded city-centre but leaves the New West district o ff   the mapcompletely (Fig. 1).The research presented in this paper was conducted between Marchand July 2015. During this period, 32 residents of varying migrant andclass backgrounds and 8 local professionals were interviewed as part of a larger research project on diversity and belonging carried out in threeAmsterdam neighbourhoods (Hoekstra, 2017). Interviews with profes-sionals focused on their work in the neighbourhood and their assess-ment of residents' needs. Professionals were contacted based on pub-licly available information and through snowball sampling. Interviewswith residents discussed their (changed) experience of the neighbour-hood, daily trajectories in and outside the neighbourhood, social con-tacts, and involvement in neighbourhood organizations. They generallylasted around 1h and were tape-recorded and transcribed with re-spondents' permission. Interviewed residents were contacted throughlocal organizations and through  fl yers distributed in selected streets,followed by door-to-door calls. The research topic was presented toresidents as  ‘ how you experience your neighbourhood ’ . Despite thisgeneral focus, residents were generally reluctant to participate. Ex-planations given were language barriers, unwillingness to talk about orbe associated with the neighbourhood, and the belief that  ‘ nothingwould change ’  as a result of the research. For this reason, interview datawere supplemented by participant observation in the neighbourhoodand in local organizations, and an analysis of media coverage andpolicy documents. The research materials were coded in Atlas.ti. Nextto a more general thematic analysis, speci fi c attention was paid toemotionally charged verbal or nonverbal utterances in the interviewsand  fi eldwork notes.Although the respondents form a diverse group, re fl ecting neigh-bourhood demographics (Table 1), the analysis presented in this paperfocuses on 11 respondents who experienced a sense of emotional loss,anxiety, or discontent in relation to their neighbourhood (Table 2).Through this focus I do not wish to discount the voices of those re-sidents who experienced their belonging as less problematic or con- fl icted (their perspectives are described elsewhere, see Hoekstra andDahlvik, 2018). Nevertheless, I argue that it is important to attend tothe chosen group of respondents as their narratives were by far the mostemotionally intense, revealing highly personal struggles of engagementand disengagement. Some of these respondents  fi t the policy trope of the long-term working-class or lower-middle-class white Dutch citizenwho would experience a loss of ownership over their neighbourhood.However, others hold more ambivalent positions: three respondents Fig. 1.  Poster of Amsterdam neighbourhoods (photo by author). The New Westdistrict is located to the west of the neighbourhoods pictured. Table 1 Statistical overview of Slotermeer and Amsterdam. Slotermeer AmsterdamResidents (2017), of which 26,787 844,952% White Dutch a 25.6 47.5% Moroccan-Dutch b 27.6 9.0% Turkish-Dutch 17.3 5.1% Surinamese-Dutch 5.5 7.7% Caribbean-Dutch 1.0 1.5% Unemployment (2016) c 16.3 11.7Average household income (2014)  € 26,300  € 33,200Average housing value (2017)  € 158,223  € 292,448% Social rental housing (2017) 67.7 42.8Safety index (2016) d 113/123 e 104 a Those born in the Netherlands of parents born in the Netherlands. b First and second generation migrants. c Share of the population aged 15-64, includes residents on welfare, un-employment, and disability bene fi ts. d Amsterdam in 2014 is reference year (=100), lower numbers indicatemore safety. Index includes crime, nuisance (e.g. public drunkenness) andsubjective security. e Refers to the south and north part, respectively.  M.S. Hoekstra  Emotion, Space and Society 33 (2019) 100629 3  occupy more secure middle-class positions, of which one is also a recentarrival to the neighbourhood, and three others are postcolonial mi-grants from Suriname or the Dutch Caribbean. However, what theserespondents have in common is that their (non)migrant backgroundmakes them a minority in the context of Slotermeer, more so than inAmsterdam as a whole (Table 1). As will be shown, a sense of symbolicmarginalization structured their experience of the neighbourhood inrelation to other parts of the city. 5.  ‘ It's a headscarf neighbourhood ’ : neighbourhood diversity andfeeling out of place Interviewed municipal employees called Slotermeer a  ‘ negativechoice ’ , meaning it is a location for people who lack other options onthe housing market. Respondents' residential histories, however, in-dicate this is a relatively recent development, as many experiencedtheir move to Slotermeer at the time as an improvement in both qualityof life and social status. Several respondents previously lived in otherparts of West Amsterdam  –  notably the adjacent Bos en Lommerneighbourhood, see Fig. 1  –  and moved for a larger apartment or asingle-family house in Slotermeer. In addition, in the 1980s and early1990s, moving to Slotermeer meant moving to a  ‘ whiter ’  and moremiddle-class neighbourhood, as Gerrit explained:When I came to live here it was an er, how shall I put it, well it was adi ff  erent type of neighbourhood ( … ) When we left the Bos enLommer neighbourhood, and I'm going to put it bluntly, but I don'tmean it like that, but it's clear, it had become a Turkish neigh-bourhood ( … ) the neighbourhood changed, [it became] run-down( … ) and like my neighbours next door also told me, we  fl ed that alittle bit. But now there's also foreigners living here.Gerrit's experience of downgrading was bound up with Slotermeer'sincreased diversity, as he described having  ‘ fl ed ’  a neighbourhood thathad become too  ‘ Turkish ’ , only to realise that his new neighbourhoodhad over time become less white than Bos en Lommer, which is cur-rently experiencing gentri fi cation. The interviewed residents of colourwere also unhappy with the neighbourhood's changed demographics.Rather than describing this change in terms of a loss of   ‘ whiteness ’ , theycontrasted the current neighbourhood with a  more  diverse past:I: What kind of people live around here?Desiree: Well actually there's more and more headscarves around.I: You've noticed that.Desiree: Yeah, it used to be a real mix, Hindustani [Surinamese],Turkish, Moroccan, Dutch. A bit of everything. It used to be mixedbut now it's really more headscarves, I see those a lot more.I: Yeah, how do you feel about that?Desiree: Well I don't mind them coming here but basically they haveto abide by the rules ( … ) and some don't, and I think that's a pity.As these quotations show, it is not diversity in itself that functions asa signi fi er of decline, but a speci fi c form of diversity: Muslim migrantswho are visibly religious ( ‘ more headscarves ’ ), in particular fromMorocco and Turkey, the largest Muslim-majority communities in theNetherlands. Although these two groups make up less than half of allresidents (see Table 1), they are viewed by others as laying a strongsymbolic claim on the area which  fi xes its image in the eyes of out-siders, as Jochem argued:  ‘ people who don't live here, they don't like it,it's a headscarf neighbourhood ’ . As Haldrup et al. (2006) show,Otherness in local spaces is largely constituted through the senses. Theheadscarf then becomes a highly visible and gendered signi fi er of bodies out of place, an abject presence threatening the social order.Next to changes in the visual landscape, the felt need to adapt ev-eryday routines contributed to a sense of marginality. Several re-spondents travelled to other neighbourhoods to buy basic groceries,which they argued were of low quality and prepared in an unhygienicmanner in local shops. The dominance of shops catering to Muslimresidents was a recurring complaint, in particular along theBurgemeester de Vlugtlaan, the main thoroughfare which has beennamed  ‘ the most Turkish street in Amsterdam ’  (Nio et al., 2008). Rob,who grew up in a nearby neighbourhood, fondly remembered weekendfamily outings to Slotermeer:It's funny you know, the Burgemeester de Vlugtlaan used to be kindof a nice, luxury shopping street. My parents, my dad was self-em-ployed, my mother stayed at home, so my folks did not have a lot of free time, working very hard and not a lot of money. But back in theday, you wanted to do some window shopping. So on Sunday wewould go  …  on the corner where the [Islamic] bridal store is nowthere was a store selling gas stoves and that sort of thing. There wasa clothing store, my father bought his suits there. So once in a whilewe would go there to look at the shops. No point in doing that now( … ) if you look at De Vlugtlaan today, how many Dutch shops arestill there? Are there's so many [Turkish] shops.As this quotation demonstrates, the banal histories of urban life arearticulated through space, in particular the mundane spaces where thememory of former shopping routines invokes a sense of absent pre-sence. Personal experiences and memories that attach people to placeand create a sense of   ‘ insiderness ’  have been labelled autobiographicalfactors of belonging (Antonsich, 2010). However, such memories alsohave implicit social and political dimensions, as they are used to tellculturally recognizable stories in which the past is interpreted throughthe lens of the present and connected to visions of the future (Edensor,2008).Edensor (2008) argues that the absent presence of white working-class life in the urban landscape also evokes a broader sense of loss of community and sense of self. Respondents indeed mentioned experi-encing a loss of community and frequently described encounters withMuslim Others in terms of feeling invisible. For example, Bart-Jan de-scribed being ignored by local shop-owners and argued  ‘ as a white Table 2 Characteristics of selected respondents. Pseudonym Age Migrant background Length of residence Occupational status Housing tenureGerrit 68 White Dutch 28 years Retired, former plumber Home-ownerWillemijn 60 White Dutch 23 years Self-employed in healthcare Home-ownerJochem 65 White Dutch 42 years Retired, former carpenter Home-ownerBart-Jan 31 White Dutch 2 months Freelancer in creative  fi eld Private renterDolf 82 White Dutch 59 years Retired, former greengrocer Social renterBarend 41 White Dutch 10 years Municipal employee Social renterWim 55 White Dutch 12 years Disability bene fi ts Social renterRob 56 White Dutch 32 years Disability bene fi ts Social renterMarietta 52 Curacao 23 years Unemployed Social renterDesiree 28 Curacao 23 years Unemployed Social renterShanti 50 Suriname 28 years Unemployed Social renter  M.S. Hoekstra  Emotion, Space and Society 33 (2019) 100629 4  person, I feel like you can walk through this neighbourhood withoutbeing seen ’ . Although greeting one's neighbours is still the norm, peopledo not know your name anymore:  ‘ I had to get used to that. I didn't get “ Dolf  ”  anymore. No hi Dolf, but hi neighbour. Suddenly you've becomea neighbour ’ . These stories show the inability to perform community inthe way one did in the past as well as the loss of a self-evident personalsense of belonging to place (Dixon and Durrheim, 2004). Despite hisestrangement from his neighbours, however, Dolf argued  ‘ Dutch people ’ would still want to live in Slotermeer:They only put Moroccan and Turkish people here, I am the onlyDutch person in my stairway ( … ) The housing corporations have letthis neighbourhood deteriorate, together with the [local] civil ser-vants. They have sent the dredges of society here ( … ) For [Turkishpeople] it's a desirable neighbourhood. And for Dutch people too,but well the waiting list for a house is still eight years. [Sarcastic]that is, unless you're not privileged.The nostalgic memory of local community is here scaled up as re-sentment against institutions which are perceived to breach an estab-lished social contract by unfairly distributing resources to  ‘ less privi-leged ’  migrants (Pinkster, 2016; Wells and Watson, 2005), threatening the relation to place and the sense of self of residents who now inhabit aless desirable place. As the next section will show, feeling out of place isnot only scaled up but also scaled down as imaginaries of (threats to)the nation and the city served as interpretive grids for residents' ex-perience of their neighbourhood. 6. Placing the self: imaginaries of Slotermeer and Amsterdam Not unlike its depiction by the city marketing o ffi ce (Fig. 1), re-spondents frequently described Slotermeer as being on the border of Amsterdam, or as not a proper part of the city. When asked about thegood aspects of his neighbourhood, Barend mentioned its location as (inhis perspective) outside but not far away from the city, and also close tomore rural areas:In itself [Slotermeer] is not that great, but yeah it's like, you can getto the city fairly quickly. Also get out of the city. I mean, if I go for a jog I will pass through Halfweg and Spaarnwoude [a village andpark, respectively, about 5km away], so yeah, you can easily go inboth directions.Other respondents likewise stressed the neighbourhood's proximityto more desirable (i.e. more white and middle-class) locations either inthe countryside or closer to the city centre. In doing so, they positionedthemselves as living on the border of Slotermeer, merely a stone's throwaway from these other places. For example, Dolf, aged 82, regularlybiked to the supermarket in Zwanenburg, a village about 7km from hishouse, which he described as  ‘  just outside the neighbourhood ’ . Incontrast, when discussing Slotermeer itself, respondents would oftentalk in terms of going  ‘ further ’  or  ‘ deeper ’  into, or  ‘ penetrating ’  theneighbourhood (see e.g. the quotation by Bart-Jan below). Such lan-guage is reminiscent of orientalist imaginings of the exotic Other andthe spaces they inhabit, and demonstrates the desire of these re-spondents to distance themselves from the neighbourhood and itsdangerous diversity.Respondents' readings of Muslim residents as threatening Otherswere informed by their own experiences in the neighbourhood, yetthese were interpreted through the lens of media and political framingswhich position Muslims as abject subjects (I. Tyler, 2013). Theseframings o ff  ered interpretative guidance as they  ‘ allowed residents toread directionality and meaning into otherwise inchoate emotions andactions ’  (De Koning and Vollebergh, 2019, p. 5). For example, refer-ences to true crime books and movies served as an interpretative fra-mework for the behaviour of young men of migrant backgroundhanging out on local street corners. Rob described how a Dutch best-selling book called  Mocro ma  ffi a  (referring to a criminal network of mostly Moroccan-Dutch composition based in Amsterdam) had  ‘ openedhis eyes ’  to the crimes Moroccan-Dutch youth presumably committed inSlotermeer, saying  ‘ I would never have guessed it was that bad ’ . Simi-larly, Bart-Jan discussed his discomfort with young men hanging out onthe street at night, using sartorial stereotypes associated with Mor-occan-Dutch men (Dibbits, 2007) and connecting their behaviour tothat of (in)famous American gangs:Bart-Jan: I think most people avoid this neighbourhood. I would dothe same if I didn't live here ( … ) If you go further into the neigh-bourhood, there's boys ( … ) on the street corners ( … ) so I don't trustthose guys, that's prejudiced of me of course but if I see someonewith a Dolce Gabbana purse or a Prada purse with their cap tilted tothe side, yeah then I'm not going to think that's an OK guy ( … ) So Ido avoid those places.I: And do you see di ff  erent groups in the neighbourhood?Bart-Jan: What do you mean, like the Bloods and the Crips orsomething?Residents ’  sense of being out of place is clearly multi-scalar andrelational (Pierce et al., 2011; Wood and Waite, 2011), as residents compared Slotermeer negatively to nearby, more desirable places andreferred to (inter)national media tropes to interpret their own experi-ences in the neighbourhood. By doing so, respondents created dis-cursive and physical distance between themselves and the neighbour-hood (Pinkster, 2014; Watt, 2009), and instead aligned themselves with imaginaries of Amsterdam that more closely matched their sense of self,notably of the city centre and surrounding neighbourhoods.The placed subjectivities at stake here are raced and classed, butalso include other dimensions such as sexuality. In particular, two re-spondents who identi fi ed as gay or bisexual contrasted the idea of Amsterdam as a city which champions gay rights to the perceivedhomophobia of their Muslim neighbours  –  a dichotomy widely em-ployed in Dutch politics (Mepschen, 2016; Van Gent and Brugman, 2018). For Barend, the contrast between his everyday surroundings inSlotermeer and his image of Amsterdam was so striking that he de-scribed Slotermeer as  ‘ a di ff  erent city ’ , in which he felt ill at ease andmodi fi ed his behaviour to avoid negative reactions:I guess it's not completely true anymore for the centre of Amsterdameither, but if you see Amsterdam as a city where everything ispossible and everyone is treated with respect and so on, Slotermeeris, well, Slotermeer or New West is a di ff  erent city. And the normsand values of the centre don't apply [here] ( … ) as a gay man, I don'thold hands or kiss on the street …  I just don't. Maybe in South[upper-middle-class district] it's easier than here.At the same time, Barend was aware that his imaginary of Amsterdam was tinged with nostalgia, as he admitted that even in theliberal city centre not  ‘ everything is possible ’  anymore (or perhapsnever really was). Feeling out of place in Slotermeer is thus folded intoa larger narrative of change, not only of the neighbourhood but of Amsterdam as a whole. Rob similarly described how a decrease intolerance in his own neighbourhood but also in the city more broadlyhas impacted his sense of self, as a bisexual man but also as an  Amsterdammer   [resident of Amsterdam]:You know, you could be proud of Amsterdam because it was like thegay capital of Europe ( … ) I used to be proud to be an  Amsterdammer  because you know, whenever I'd see two guys or two girls holdinghands I would be like damn, this is  my   city, this is awesome. Andnow it rarely happens anymore. Because you know, now everythinghas changed.As these quotations show, the spatialities of insider/outsider con- fi gurations are more complex than is often acknowledged, as feelings of loss are simultaneously projected upwards and downwards and come to ‘ infect ’  attachment at di ff  erent scales. The frequency and ease with  M.S. Hoekstra  Emotion, Space and Society 33 (2019) 100629 5
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