Vertelyte, M., & Staunæs, D. (2021). From tolerance work to pedagogies of unease: Affective investments in Danish antiracist education. Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, 7(3), 126–135. https://doi.org/10.1080/20020317.2021.2003006
Antiracist pedagogies have long been conceptualized and developed by scholars, public intellectuals, teachers and pedagogues in Danish education contexts. By analysing Danish knowledge production on antiracist education from the 1980s to the present, this article traces changing understandings of race and racism in Danish education, as well as accounts for different affective tensions and investments at stake in antiracist pedagogical practice and thinking. We show how the discourse of antiracism as ‘tolerance work’ prevalent in the 1980s and 1990s evolved into an antiracist pedagogy centred on ‘creating good and positive atmospheres’, and how, from the 2000s onward, feelings of unease, embarrassment and anxiety about addressing race have become integrated in antiracist education research and practice. While the first approach towards antiracist education dwells with and use positive and joyous feelings, the second wave addresses a more uncomfortable register of affects. By analysing how different affective intensities have historically been associated with antiracist pedagogies in Denmark, we show how they are inextricable from education policies and politics.
Keskinen, Suvi. ‘Antiracist Feminism and the Politics of Solidarity in Neoliberal Times’. Feminisms in the Nordic Region: Neoliberalism, Nationalism and Decolonial Critique, Eds. Suvi Keskinen, Pauline Stoltz, and Diana Mulinari, Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2021, 201–221.
This chapter analyses the establishment and expansion of antiracist feminism in the last decade throughout the Nordic region, with new groups, media sites, and public events organised, especially in the large cities. I examine antiracist feminist and queer of colour activism in which the main or sole actors belong to groups racialised as non-white or “others” in Nordic societies. A fundamental argument developed in the chapter is the central role and potential of these emerging social movements to reconfigure political agendas and tackling of pressing societal issues, due to their capacity to overlap and connect the borders of antiracist, feminist, and (to some extent) class-based politics. The chapter further argues for the usefulness of theorising the neoliberal turn of racial capitalism as the societal condition in which feminist activism takes place.
Jensen, Tina Gudrun, Mette Kirstine Tørslev, Kathrine Vitus, and Kristina Weibel. The Geography of (Anti-) Racism and Tolerance: Local Policy Responses, Discrimination and Employment in Denmark. Working paper produced within the TOLERANCE project, 2011, pp. 57–110,
Summary of part 1:
Although ethnic minorities’ participation in the Danish labour market has increased over the last years, a strong focus rests on particularly young ethnic minority men, who tend to drop out of school and have lower labour market participation. Danish research reveals different barriers to the labour market for ethnic minority youth; e.g. lack of language skills; lack of knowledge about the labour market; professionals ́ clientelisation focusing on problems rather than on skills, discrimination and expectances of discrimination.
In 2010 the Ministry of Integration launched a new ‘Action plan on ethnic equal treatment and respect for the individual’ focusing on information disseminating campaigns and monitoring of discrimination. The municipality of Copenhagen aims at counteracting discrimination and improve equal opportunities among citizens, focusing on three areas: documentation, information and handling of cases of discrimination. Authorities distinguish between objective/factual discrimination and subjective/experienced, but they remain reluctant to acknowledge subjective discrimination referring to it as a matter of feelings.
The young ethnic minority men in this case study tell about job-seeking and being confronted with stereotypes of ethnic minority men as violent, criminal and dangerous, and they experience a need to perform better than everybody else in order to get a job or get accepted. Thus, they indicate experiences of what can be labelled ‘Everyday racism’ that connects structural forces of racism with routine situations in everyday life. While the social street workers also see discrimination and racism as a barrier to 58employment, they view the young men’s social marginalization and lacking knowledge about cultural and social codes on the labour market as the main barrier. Not knowing basic written and unwritten rules at the workplace is, according to the social street workers, a common cause of conflicts and misunderstandings, and the youth tend to be ‘over sensitive.’ The professionals thus recognize that structural discrimination exists, but they seem to perceive discrimination as potential self-inflicted. This ambiguity reflects the general caution with defining and recognizing problems as related to discrimination. Thus, diverse perceptions and understandings exists and a continuously discursive struggle goes on: are ethnic minorities objectively discriminated against at the labour market, or do their difficulties in finding and keeping a job rest on self-inflicted reasons like their attitude/behaviour or lack of education and relevant networks? In these struggles it becomes a matter of arguing for the authenticity of one’s own subjective experiences and accounts of race relations, while de-legitimizing the truthfulness of other discourses
Lykke, Nina. ‘Transversal Dialogues on Intersectionality, Socialist Feminism and Epistemologies of Ignorance’. NORA – Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, vol. 28, no. 3, Routledge, July 2020, pp. 197–210.
Through a personalized story, anchored in historical reflections on the formative years of feminist research in the Nordic context in the early 1970s, the article engages in transversal conversations. The focus is dissonances and resonances between intersectional feminisms and socialist feminisms, and their critiques of monocategorical (neo)liberal feminisms. The method is transversal dialoguing, implying that participants in politically conflicted conversations, shift between “rooting” (situating their own stakes along the lines of feminist epistemologies of situated knowledges) and “shifting” (seriously trying to imagine what it takes to inhabit the situated perspective of interlocutors). A starting point for the article’s transversal conversations is recent critiques of white feminist intersectionality research in Nordic and broader European contexts, claimed to neoliberalize and whitewash intersectionality. Shifting to the perspective of the critics, the author takes responsibility for her stakes in epistemologies of white ignorance. A historical reflection on her becoming a socialist feminist in the context of New Left students’ and feminist movements in Denmark in the aftermath of the students’ revolts of 1968 is used as prism to a discussion of socialist feminisms in the Nordic context in the 1970s, and their paradoxes of being attentive to class, while entangled in classic marxism’s eurocentrism and epistemologies of white ignorance. To dig further into the question of genealogies of leftwing epistemologies of ignorance, characterizing Nordic socialist feminism in the 1970s (and haunting European socialism more generally), the article critically rereads a piece of the authors’ research from the 1970s—an analysis of the work of socialist feminist, Alexandra Kollontaj, and her role in the Russian revolution. Rooting, the author suggests that the epistemologies of white ignorance in Nordic feminist research rather than emerging from monocategoricality and (neo) neoliberalism, as the critics suggest, should be sought after through a critical scrutiny of leftwing versions of eurocentrism.
Myong, Lene, and Mons Bissenbakker. ‘Love Without Borders? White Transraciality in Danish Migration Activism’. Cultural Studies, vol. 30, no. 1, Jan. 2016, pp. 129–146.
Since 2000, Denmark has imposed some of the strictest immigration laws in Europe. Consequently, family reunification has become increasingly difficult for immigrants as well as for Danish citizens. In the fall of 2010, the Danish family reunification laws became subject to criticism and protest by a citizens’ initiative called ‘Love without Borders’ (LWB). The article investigates how LWB managed to generate political momentum around love: an affect which seems to promise inclusion, liberation and togetherness for those directly affected by the laws as well as those attempting to change the laws. Yet the idealized version of love promoted by LWB happened to take the form of romantic intimacy predominantly consisting of straight, young and white-brown couples oriented towards reproduction. Our main argument is that despite its good intentions of supporting migration the activist campaign ‘Love without Borders’ ends up supporting whiteness as the body through which love must flow. As an indicator of the racialized discourses informing LWB’s activism the article introduces the concept of white transraciality. Thus, to LWB love seems to promise affective ties to the nation, to the future and to the political system in ways that sustain white hegemony. Building mainly on Sara Ahmed’s and Laurent Berlant’s reflections on love as cultural politics the article analyzes posters, viral videos and newspaper debates in its discussion of the promises and pitfalls of love as an affective political tool.
Siim, Birte. ‘Feminist Challenges to the Reframing of Equality and Social Justice’. NORA – Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, vol. 24, no. 3, Routledge, July 2016, pp. 196–202.
Global mobility and the present economic, political and refugee crisis have resulted in political contestations and new theoretical challenges. Inspired by several European research projects, in this paper I reflect upon feminist activism and the challenges to reframing equality and social justice in contemporary society (see Siim & Mokre, 2013; Lazaridis et al., 2016). I first discuss intersectional relations between anti-racist activism and feminist activism in the Danish context. Then I discuss how feminist theorists can contribute to the reframing of (gender) equality and social justice in contemporary Nordic societies. The focus is on two approaches, each of which has inspired Nordic researchers, as well as my own thinking (e.g. Siim & Mokre, 2013): Nira Yuval-Davis’ (2011) proposal for a multilevel and intersectional approach to the politics of belonging, and Nancy Fraser’s (2013) proposal fora transnational approach to social justice, premised on redistribution, recognition and participatory parity. I argue that both need to be adapted in order to contribute to an understanding of the feminist challenges in the particular Nordic contexts.
Khawaja, Iram. ‘Anger, Shame and Whiteness: On Using Memory Work as an Educational Tool for Reflections on Racialization, Otherness and Privilege’. Nordic Journal of Social Research, 2020.
The article draws on years of experience teaching otherness, racialization and whiteness on a postgraduate level in Copenhagen, and aims to analyze how it is possible to facilitate constructive discussions on race, whiteness and otherness utilizing memory work. The article is structured around three main points of relevance, which are connected to the main challenges of teaching sensitive topics such as racism, whiteness and privilege in majoritized class rooms. Challenges such as the need to negotiate teacher authority and manage the affective intensities in the class room. The aim of the article is to unfold a form of ‘engaged pedagogical’ strategy for critical reflections on racialization and whiteness in academia highlighting the need to move towards new ways of understanding knowledge production, teacher positionality and lived life as part of curriculum.
Jensen, Tina Gudrun, Garbi Schmidt, Kathrine Vitus, and Kristina Weibel. The Historicity of (Anti-)Racism and the Politics of Integration in Denmark. Danish National Centre for Social Research, July 2010, p. 24.
The aim of this paper is to describe the various aspects of the history of (anti-)racism and the politics of integrationin Denmark. The paper consists of two parts. The first part discusses the international literature on concepts of (anti-)racism, citizenship and tolerance. The next part focuses on (anti-)racism and Tolerance in the Danish context. The paper thus deals with the historicity of (anti-)racism and the politics of integration in Denmark from four angles: A discussion of international literature on the concepts of (anti-) racism, citizenship and tolerance An outline of a Danish grammar of diversity. An overview of concepts (vocabulary) of (anti-)racism and tolerance in Danish anti-discrimination politics, and a Danish grammar of diversity. A description of the historical roles of racism and tolerance in Denmark.
Vertelyte, Mante. Not So Ordinary Friendship: An Ethnography of Student Friendships in A Racially Diverse Danish Classroom. Dissertation. Aalborg Universitetsforlag, 2019.
“Not So Ordinary Friendship: An Ethnography of Student Friendships in a Racially Diverse Danish Classroom” explores the roles that young people’s friendships play in the production and reproduction of processes of racialization. This dissertation asks how and when does race come to matter (or not) in young people’s friendship relations? What identities and subject positions do friendship relations produce?And how are young people’s friendships across intersecting markers of difference situated politically, discursively and socially? This dissertation is based on the premise that the analysis of everyday youth friendship formations practices can produce important knowledge for understanding the underlying mechanisms of processes of racialization. This dissertation derives from a one-year long ethnographic study at a racially diverse secondary school in Copenhagen. The study includes 32interviews with students attending the 7thgrade classroom at the school and 12interviews with professional staff working at the school and municipal youth clubs. Data is analyzed through the approaches of critical race studies, affect-sensory theory, intersectionality and social practice theory; particularly through the concept of ‘figured worlds’ as delineated by Dorothy Holland et al. (2001).
The analysis of this dissertation explores how the figured world of classroom friendships emerges through different senses and intensities, such as fitting in, clicking or clinging, bonding andhumoras well as daily rituals such as eating at the lunch table. Following the empirically emergent questions: Who is friends with whom?; How (not) to be friends; and Why are they (not) friends?, this dissertation illustrates the ways in which young people negotiate everyday politics of race and racism and the ways that adolescent friendships are discursively figured into matters of political concern over the issues of ‘immigrant integration’ and ‘social cohesion’. Putting friendship at the center of analysis, this dissertation approaches friendship as a performative boundary object through which racialized boundaries of ‘us’ and ‘them’ are negotiated, disturbed and re-established. Friendship is performative because through the knowledge of who is friends with whom, young people position each other across hierarchical minority-majority positions. This dissertation argues that friendship is a core social institution through which processes of racialization are (re)produced, yet simultaneously a vehicle through which young people figure ways to challenge the racialized notions of ‘us’ and ‘them’. This dissertation engages with interdisciplinary debates in studies of racialization as unfolding in the Nordic European countries and anthropological studies on friendship. To that end, it challenges notions of Danish-Nordic exceptionalism that figure racism as a matter of the past, as well as nuances notions of friendshipcommonly portrayed as a residual socialinstitution free from the power structures of racism. A core contribution of this thesis is to offer a sense and affect-oriented analysis of friendship and racialization. The research also articulates the challenges that educational institutions face due to a lack of anti-racist education.
PDF: https://vbn.aau.dk/ws/files/306278121/PHD_Mante_Vertelyte_E_pdf.pdf. https://vbn.aau.dk/ws/files/306278121/PHD_Mante_Vertelyte_E_pdf.pdf.
Vitting-Seerup, Sabrina. ‘Working towards Diversity with a Postmigrant Perspective: How to Examine Representation of Ethnic Minorities in Cultural Institutions’. Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, vol. 9, no. 2, Routledge, Aug. 2017, pp. 45–55.
This article presents ways for researchers and cultural workers to find and examine versions of representation in cultural institutions through a postmigrant perspective. The starting point is Denmark—a European nation state with, like many others, a diverse composition of citizens. This diversity is, however, poorly represented in Danish cultural institutions and the problem is difficult for many cultural workers to discuss due to the hesitation large segments of the Danish population feel about using terms associated with race and religion. Since much of the research regarding representation is strictly critical in its approach, it is also challenging to find the proper tools and language to discuss and correct the current skewed situation. This article is intended to provide balance in representation, first by presenting a model of four levels for potential positioning of diverse representation in cultural institutions and, secondly, by addressing the problems of access and depiction in regards to representation.
Danbolt, Mathias, and Lene Myong. ‘Racial Turns and Returns: Recalibrations of Racial Exceptionalism in Danish Public Debates on Racism’. Racialization, Racism, and Anti-Racism in the Nordic Countries, Ed. Peter Hervik, 2018, 39–61.
In recent years, the Danish public has been embroiled in different debates on racism and whiteness. While these debates instigate a break with historic and color-blind silencing of racism in Denmark, they have also given rise to multiple reproductions of racist logics. Our analysis concentrates on a debate that took off in early 2013 following the publication of the book Are Danes Racist? The Problems of Immigration Research [Er danskerne racister? Indvandrerforskningens problemer] by Henning Bech and Mehmet Ümit Necef. The debate centered around the question of whether or not so-called anti-racist research met scientific standards. We argue that this debate can be seen as a turning point in how both individual researchers in particular and racism research in general have been positioned as unscientific and as productive of social division and racism in Denmark. The chapter suggests that these racial turns can be seen as a recalibration of the tradition of Danish racial exceptionalism, where racism in Denmark is presented as containable and marginal, and where anti-racist research in itself constitutes a new form of racism.
Danbolt, Mathias, and Lene Myong. ‘Det her skal alle da opleve: Racial transformation som erkendelsesproces og mangfoldighedsværktøj i dansk anti-racistisk performance’. Peripeti, no. 29/30, 2018.
Hvordan bliver racialisering og racisme fremstillet og forstået i anti-racistisk performance i Danmark? Denne artikel nærmer sig dette spørgsmål gennem en analyse af det selverklærede “anti- racistiske” performanceprojekt Med andre øjne (herefter MAØ), som blev initieret af skuespiller og projektleder Morten Nielsen i 2011 og som var virksomt frem til foråret 2018.