The Fine Art of Boundary Sensitivity: Second-generation professionals dealing with social boundaries in organizations

Date: 23 November 2017

Venue: University of Antwerp, Stadscampus, Room E.201 - Grote Kauwenberg 2 - 2000 Antwerp (route: UAntwerpen, Stadscampus)

Time: 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Organization / co-organization: CeMIS

Short description: Seminar: presentation by Ismintha Waldring (PhD candidate, University of Amsterdam & CeMIS, University of Antwerp)

The educational and labour market pathways of the second generation (descendants of migrants, born and raised in the migration country) are oftentimes problematized in migration countries throughout Western-Europe. The Netherlands is no exception. Dutch public discourse revolving around the second generation is predominantly negative and focuses on failed integration. Especially the second generation with a Muslim background are considered problematic, because of their religion which is believed to be at odds with the Dutch liberal attitude, and because of various societal issues, such as residential segregation, school segregation, early school leaving, unemployment, poverty, and delinquency.

The discourse of failed integration, whereby integration is defined as 'increasing participation of migrants and their offspring on all levels of Dutch society', has resulted in a call for assimilation, referrring to a compulsory process of complete incorporation of migrants and the second generation into the norms and values of the Netherlands. A demand for complete incorporation into the dominant culture exposes deep fault lines in Dutch society, whereby migrants and the second generation are required to make a zero-sum choice between ethnic identities in order to belong in the Netherlands. This enforced choice creates bright, impermeable social boundaries between ethnic groups in Dutch society. These bright and impermeable social boundaries permeate various social fields, including the workplace. Bright, impermeable social boundaries can therefore also be found in organizations, since organizations can be seen as extensions of society and social boundaries that exist in society are therefore oftentimes reflected in organizations.

In contrast to the dominant discourses focusing on problems, and the actual problems that exist, a sizeable number of the Turkish-Dutch and Moroccan-Dutch second generation is doing well in education and has managed to transfer their educational credentials to high-level professional positions in the labour market. Yet, how do these "successful" second-generation professionals,  taking bright, impermeable social boundaries in the workplace as a starting point, experience social boundaries in organizations, and how they subsequently deal with the consequences of social boundaries?

The presentation will focus on the research outcomes of the "ELITES: Pathways to Success Project" and will highlight how second-generation professionals deal with social boundaries when entering the labour market, climbing the organizational ladder and gaining acceptance in the workplace.

Entrance fee: free of charge

Registration: Registration is possible until 20 November 2017. Sandwiches (also vegetarian) will be provided.

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