Europe is for being recognized for more than an ethnic background” : middle class British, Dutch and German minority citizens’ perspectives on EU citizenship and belonging to Europe’

Main Article Content

Ulrike M Vieten


The paper pinpoints some crucial themes of European belonging arising in the narratives of minority key activists with various hyphened legal national citi-zenship status, e.g. South Asian Brits, Moroccan-Dutch and Turkish/ Kurd-ish-Germans. The interviews capture how visible minorities’ perspectives on European belonging are influenced by structural racism, but also by national-ly specific discourses of symbolic inclusion or exclusion of ethnic minorities respectively.
In this original research project in total 43 key minority activists, men and women and all of middle class social status were interviewed between au-tumn 2009 and summer 2012, e.g. pre-Brexit, in Britain, the Netherlands and Germany. The findings of the study underline ambivalent post-cosmopolitan identities and more contradictory notions of ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity in Britain and the Netherlands, due to specific colonial / post-colonial contexts, and a different use of these categories in Britain and the rest of Europe. The minor-ity citizens interviewed in Germany expressed a more troubled position here as their relationship to the European Union is influenced by their feelings of belonging to Turkey, the latter outside the EU and at the border of Europe.
As the ‘new’ citizens interviewed in this sample live in major cities, such as London, Berlin and Amsterdam, individual feelings of belonging to Europe, perceptions of being European and cosmopolitan were very much shaped by the concrete city spaces and a positive identification with metropolitan urban identity.

Article Details

Articles (refereed)
Author Biography

Ulrike M Vieten, Queen's University Belfast, The Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice

Queen's University Belfast Fellow