Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

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Identification Paradoxes and Multiple Belongings: The Narratives of Italian Migrants in the Netherlands

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Abstract:  In a time identified by many as one of “multicultural backlash,” we can observe a growing negative discourse on the integration of migrants with Islamic backgrounds in most European countries. Criticisms are rooted in the assumptions that cultural and religious differences are the source of social problems and that these migrants are unwilling to integrate. The aim of this article is threefold. First, it criticizes the linear and simplistic assumptions of integration informing the present negative dominant discourse in the Netherlands. Second, it shows that sources of belonging are more layered than the often-assumed exclusive identification with national identity. Third, it broadens the scope of discussion on integration (which is now mainly fixated on Islamic migrants) by showing the somewhat similar experiences of Italian migrants on their path toward integration and belonging within the Dutch context. Through this study, we argue that the process of ethnic othering in the Netherlands is broader than the often-assumed cultural difference of non-Western migrants.

Keywords:  discourse; identification; integration; migrants



© Marjoe Rouvoet, Melanie Eijberts, Halleh Ghorashi. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.