Policing the nation: Acculturation and street-level bureaucrats in professional life

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Assimilation of migrants is assumed to happen through acculturation, which is depicted as neutral, unintended and invisible. In most accounts the role of social actors is pushed into the background, and the conditions that shape and determine the direction of the acculturation are ignored. A further critique of the acculturation concept is that the content of the conveyed culture is not disclosed nor are the outcomes hinted at. We argue that the concept of norm images redresses these criticisms by eliciting the cultural content and specifying the role of actors, that is, professionals, in the conveyance of culture. Using the example of the Amsterdam police force, we demonstrate that police officers impose crucial elements of the Dutch nationalistic discourse, specifically language and loyalty, on migrant citizens and migrant colleagues alike. Thus these police officers operate as reproducers of the social order cemented by Dutch nationalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1101-1117
Number of pages17
Issue number5
Early online date18 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


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