From welfarism to prudentialism : euro-turks and the power of the weak

DSpace Repository

From welfarism to prudentialism : euro-turks and the power of the weak

Show full item record

Files for download


Simple item record

Publication Book
Title From welfarism to prudentialism : euro-turks and the power of the weak
Author(s) Kaya, Ayhan
Date 2011
Editor(s) Righard, Erica
English abstract
This paper aims to shed light upon the dynamics of community construction by migrants of Turkish origin, or what I call Euro-Turks, and their descendants residing in European countries such as Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.1 A retrospective analysis of the dynamics of community construction among the Euro-Turks reveals that they have always been engaged in producing and reproducing communities deriving from various needs. The construction of communities is sometimes a response to social-economic deprivation, sometimes to the form of affiliation with the homeland, and sometimes to the transition of the welfare state into post-social prudentialist state. This paper claims that Euro-Turks have become more occupied with the construction and articulation of ethno-cultural and religious communities in the last two decades due to the ascendancy of culturalist and civilizationist discourse along with neo-liberal forms of governmentality (Foucault, 1979) essentializing ethnic, cultural and religious boundaries, and generating an Islamophobic, migrantphobic and xenophobic climate in the west. As Wendy Brown (2010: 33) rightly stated the civilizationist discourse brought two disparate images together in order to produce a single figure of danger justifying exclusion and closure: “the hungry masses” and “cultural-religious aggression toward Western values.” The growing stream of citizenship tests, attitude tests, zero-tolerance policy towards unqualified migrants, and negative public opinion vis-a-vis migrants, in general, results in that the European countries are recently inclined to be more assimilationist vis-a-vis Muslim origin migrant populations, who are perceived to be hostile toward Western values. Social, political and economic changes at global level have brought about the revitalization of an Islamophobic discourse in a way that leads to the redefinition of community boundaries through nationalist and religious lines. “I fear that we are approaching a situation resembling the tragic fate of Christianity in northern Africa in Islam’s early days”, these are the words of a German Lutheran Bishop uttered in 2006 (Carle, 2006). Migrants of Muslim origin are increasingly represented by the advocates of the ‘clash of civilizations’ thesis as members of a “precarious transnational society” in which people only want to ‘stone women’, ‘cut throats’, ‘be suicide bombers’, ‘beat their wives’ and ‘commit honour crimes’. These prejudiced perceptions about Islam and Muslim migrants have been reinforced by the impact of previous events ranging from the Iranian Revolution to the Cartoon Crisis in Denmark in 2006, or from the Arab – Israel war in 1973 to the notorious book by German economist Thilo Sarrazin (2010), who was likely to explain the integration problems of migrants of Muslim origin through genetic factors. This working paper argues that Muslim origin migrants in general, and Euro-Turks in particular, tactically become more engaged in constructing communities to protect themselves against the evils of the contemporary world as well as to pursue an alternative form of politics for the purpose of raising their claims in public. It will also be claimed that what distinguishes the ways in which communities are being reproduced by migrant-origin individuals since the early 1990s is that the reconfiguration of welfare policies by the neo-liberal states is no longer directed towards ‘society’, but towards ‘communities’. In other words, while migrants used to construct their own communities to protect themselves against the detrimental effects of the outside world such as 5 capitalism, racism, exclusion, poverty and xenophobia, the construction of those communities is now being encouraged by the neo-liberal states within the framework of a prudentialist form of governmentality. Hence, the work will discuss the main parameters of the politics of honour and search for purity posed by various Muslim origin migrants and their descendants to tackle with the structural constraints of exclusion, poverty and Islamophobia. However, it will also be argued there are Euro-Turks with appropriate education and qualification, who attempt to abandon their communities in order to mobilize themselves upward.
Publisher Malmö University, Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM)
Series/Issue Willy Brandt Series of Working Papers in International Migration and Ethnic Relations;2
ISSN 1650-5743
Pages 1-35
Language swe (iso)
Subject(s) Neoliberalism
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Handle (link to this page)
Buy print (print-on-demand service)

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show full item record



My Account