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Racial Diversity and Welfare: The Interaction and Institutionalization of Race and National Identity

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Abstract:

The changing demographics of Europe have motivated a body of research on how diversity affects the conferral of citizenship and its corresponding rights and benefits. Despite drawing comparisons to the racialized American paradigm, this research does not consistently differentiate between various possible forms of diversity - such as race, ethnicity, language and religion - and their effects. This paper argues that this conflation of differences results from often implicit reliance on supposedly trans-historical group boundary dynamics, and can be redressed by attention to the historical interaction between national identity and certain crosscutting group boundaries within the nation. While recent work has made a convincing case for avoiding static conceptions of group identities and boundaries, this paper highlights how group identities and their relationships to others are sometimes given more durability through reification in institutions. The paper demonstrates the possible fruitfulness of this historical approach by focusing on the controversial boundary of race. Using the concept of social closure to put in dialogue the literature on the development of race and ethnicity, and on the formation of national identity, the paper argues that certain European national identities, which developed in relation to raced colonial subjects, were institutionalized through early systems of social benefits accorded to citizens. This historical legacy is crucial to understanding the current effect of post-colonial immigration flows in Europe, and why different forms of diversity, such as linguistic or religious, have different effects on social spending.
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Association:
Name: Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies
URL:
http://www.ces.columbia.edu


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p400426_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Onasch, Elizabeth. "Racial Diversity and Welfare: The Interaction and Institutionalization of Race and National Identity" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies, Grand Plaza, Montreal, Canada, Apr 15, 2010 <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p400426_index.html>

APA Citation:

Onasch, E. A. , 2010-04-15 "Racial Diversity and Welfare: The Interaction and Institutionalization of Race and National Identity" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies, Grand Plaza, Montreal, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p400426_index.html

Publication Type: Individual Paper
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: The changing demographics of Europe have motivated a body of research on how diversity affects the conferral of citizenship and its corresponding rights and benefits. Despite drawing comparisons to the racialized American paradigm, this research does not consistently differentiate between various possible forms of diversity - such as race, ethnicity, language and religion - and their effects. This paper argues that this conflation of differences results from often implicit reliance on supposedly trans-historical group boundary dynamics, and can be redressed by attention to the historical interaction between national identity and certain crosscutting group boundaries within the nation. While recent work has made a convincing case for avoiding static conceptions of group identities and boundaries, this paper highlights how group identities and their relationships to others are sometimes given more durability through reification in institutions. The paper demonstrates the possible fruitfulness of this historical approach by focusing on the controversial boundary of race. Using the concept of social closure to put in dialogue the literature on the development of race and ethnicity, and on the formation of national identity, the paper argues that certain European national identities, which developed in relation to raced colonial subjects, were institutionalized through early systems of social benefits accorded to citizens. This historical legacy is crucial to understanding the current effect of post-colonial immigration flows in Europe, and why different forms of diversity, such as linguistic or religious, have different effects on social spending.


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