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How official nationalism fuels labour market discrimination against migrants in the Netherlands and its institutional alternatives


Nations and Nationalism

Published online on


["Nations and Nationalism, Volume 28, Issue 1, Page 98-116, January 2022. ", "\nAbstract\nOfficial nationalism is on the rise, but its impact on relations between people with and without a migration background in institutions is under‐studied. This study, based on 55 interviews in a Dutch ministry in 2016, shows that official Dutch nationalist framings of those relations have been taken over by civil servants. These framings trigger boundary‐making between themselves and discrimination in access to career opportunities, in a climate of insecurity. However, official nationalism absorption, boundary‐making and discrimination are partially neutralized by respondents resorting to institutionally ‘nested’, work‐related and civic identities that enable cooperation, communication and fair allocation of career opportunities. Findings also highlight the exclusive continuities of various forms of imposed official nationalism, including ethno‐nationalism and multiculturalism. They all set people with migration backgrounds apart as culturally different, which foments insecurity among them. Non‐nationalist and institutionally ‘nested’ identities and procedures offer participation and inclusion to our respondents, not ethno‐nationalism nor multiculturalism.\n"]