Racialized immigrants becoming part of the city: connecting migration, space and race – commentary to van Liempt
Building on Ilse van Liempt’s (2023) lecture, this commentary addresses the connection and shift between forced displacement and local emplacement by addressing what becoming part of the city means for racialized immigrants. By bringing forward the notion of racialization I hope to contribute to a growing body of literature discussing how malleable and productive the concept of race – albeit erased and relegated to the past – keeps on shaping conversations about and across Europe. Connecting migration, space and race offers a particularly rich context in which to have this discussion because, as all three elements are mutually constructive, addressing them together exposes some of the complexities and nuances of the experience of becoming part of the city for racialized immigrants.
Addressing this topic calls into question my own experience as an immigrant which, as a French white woman living in Finland and working at the University, is shaped by many privileges. It is therefore important to highlight the position of power from which I talk, in part because of the extent to which whiteness permeates much of our conceptual and methodological work as researchers. However, committed we, as individuals, might be to anti-racism, it is important to recognize that we are working within the structures of academia and as such are working within a (discursive) space that has historically been organized through whiteness. Exposing the racial structures at play in Academia is a small but critical step to contest it and work towards change within the academy as well as society.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Melodine Sommier
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