23 SES 05 C, Politics of Exclusion and Inclusion
This paper investigates how the State in its documentary sources identifies, categorizes and classifies “the immigrant” from 1945-2012. It explores the ways in which the changing problematisations of “the immigrant” are subjected to the historical development of the welfare state policy areas, e.g. areas of social, educational, housing, labour market, integration, law and economic policies. By taking its departure from the social history since WWII of how the deviant becomes an immigrant that is disturbing “the public good” or “the collective”, the objective is moreover to examine the social and symbolic constructions of “the immigrant” in close relation to the state transformation processes from the era of welfare state to the era of neoliberalism (Nielsen 2011, Pedersen 2011, Sainsbury 2012).
This paper argues that the history of the term immigrant is causally linked with perceived pathologies of cultural and family background, law and order, gender, housing, employment, welfare burden and educational performance (Green and Grosvenor 2012). Moreover, that the term has been employed as the catch-all for things having to do with country of birth, language, ethnicity, religion, marginalisation and discrimination. Embedded in these alleged pathologies are “truth statements” whose syntax constructs “the immigrant” as “cultural-other”, “social-deviance” and “welfare state problem”.
The project is theoretically informed by the Bourdieuian and Wacquantian sociological notion of the state as a bureaucratic field, focusing on the way in which the state crafts itself when addressing the political history’s symbolic forces of “the immigrant” as an object of categorisation and classification, whereby it continuously remakes and rethink itself (Bourdieu 2005a, Wacquant 2009). In order to analyse the documentary sources which represents policy texts with strong values and categorisations, thus tied to symbolic and social relational forces, I use the political sociology approach where relations between social dynamics and structures on the one hand, and state policies on the other, are the focus of attention (Ball 2006: 43-54, van Zanten 2005: 672, in Moldenhawer and Øland 2013). To further explore the inner logic of the social and symbolic categorisation and classification practices of “the immigrant” I find it useful to draw on the notion of political field conceptualised as “a field of forces and a field of struggles aimed at transforming the relation of forces which confers on this field its structure at any given moment” (Bourdieu, 1991: 171).
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