Sex and the regulation of belonging. Dutch family migration policies in the context of changing family norms

S.K. van Walsum

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Abstract

In recent years, the Netherlands has drawn international attention by introducing language and integration tests that must be passed abroad before a foreign family member can join his or her spouse, parent or child in the Netherlands.
A few decades back, preserving the unity of the family and protecting the cultural rights of ethnic minorities were principles that found widespread support in Dutch society, while a strong taboe rested on state interference in family affairs. What has changed?
In her book Race and the Education of Desire, Anne Stoler suggests that current anti-immigration discourse in Western Europe forms a new episode in the history of European racism: “Via the sexualized discourse of race, a link could be made between nationalism and desire, creating a key discursive site where subjugated bodies could be made and subjects formed – generating social divisions that are crucial to the exclusionary principles of modern nation-states” (p. 130; 136).
This chapter traces the history of Dutch family migration policies during the second half of the twentieth century in order to explore whether processes of exclusion have continued to be linked to control over sexuality and, if so, how. Can the present Dutch regime of nationalist exclusion indeed be compared to the Dutch racist regime of the colonial past?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender, Generation and Families in International Migration
EditorsA. Kraler, E. Kofman, M. Kohli, C. Schmoll
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Pages43-58
Number of pages416
ISBN (Print)9789089642851
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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