Hassani, A. Navigating Racialised Spaces. Nordic Journal of Social Research, 13(1), 2022, 67–79.
The post-9/11 political climate in Denmark has become explicit in its differentiation between white citizens and racialised Muslim citizens in political rhetoric, public policies and media debates. This article looks at how this differentiation trickles down to public spaces affecting young Muslims’ social and spatial experiences. Drawing on an ethnographic study of young Muslims in Copenhagen, the article examines young Muslims’ ability to navigate through racialised spaces. The cases presented depict the social navigation processes required to achieve a middle-class position in a political context that often seeks to ‘otherise’ Muslims within Danish society. How do these young people engage, negotiate and challenge an ethnonationalist perception that sees them as the racialised Other? The research draws on qualitative interviews, participant observations and spatial tours to understand how young Muslims navigate explicit and implicit racialisation in everyday life. The ethnography demonstrates how these young adults create counter-narratives to the construction of the ‘Muslim Other’ by emphasising their middle-class positioning. Keywords Muslims Denmark racialisation spatialisation minorities ethnonationalism social navigation social mobility Islamophobia.