Hervik, Peter. ‘The Danish Cultural World of Unbridgeable Differences’. (2004)

Hervik, Peter. ‘The Danish Cultural World of Unbridgeable Differences’. Ethnos, vol. 69, no. 2, Routledge, June 2004, pp. 247–267.

This article looks at the contestation of foreign presence in Denmark from the perspective of popular consciousness. I infer the cultural world of Danish host and non-Danish guests from a pool of 55 in-depth interviews about multicultural issues. In this culturally figured world the guests are constructed as widely different cultural bearers who refuse to downplay their cultural markers, therefore upsetting the guests. According to this reasoning, the racial outburst of the hosts is caused solely by the unruly guests. Blaming the guests for creating racist responses, I contend, can best be understood as a naturalization of racism. This denial of racism in the popular sphere builds on the same culturalist construction of unbridgeable differences between a ‘we-group’ of ‘alike’ (or invisible) Danes and a visible ‘out group’ that dominates both popular and political understandings of immigrants and refugees in Denmark in the end of the 1990s.