Who am I? Everyday Politics of Identity among the Turkish-Dutch Youth in the City of Utrecht, The Netherlands
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This thesis explores the everyday politics of identity developed by Turkish second generation individuals in the city of Utrecht, The Netherlands. As a first argument, I show how the theoretical paradigm concerning the construction of the national and cultural identity, arose in the Nineteenth century, threatens the sense of multiple identities of the Turkish-Dutch youth. I argue that the national and cultural identity in The Netherlands is culturally exclusive, leading to a sense of cultural identity which leaves within itself little to no space to any cultural differences. Thus, the cultural identity within the Dutch context is limited to a strict notion of Dutch and non-Dutch. As an effect, the construction of cultural identity is problematic for individuals with a double cultural background, such as the second generation people. It is their double cultural background that doesn't fit into a culturally exclusive national identity. Based on empirical data, I will demonstrate that in Dutch society there are practical ethnic and social boundaries that make clear that the society perceives the Turkish-Dutch youth as "the Other", threatening their sense of multiple identities and feeling of belonging. In this way, the social actors become aware of the social distance between them and the major ethnic group. In order to cope with the social and ethnic boundaries and thus experience a feeling of belonging to the Dutch society, the Turkish second generation people develop everyday strategies of identity building. The strategies are individual and contextual decisions concerning whether connecting to both their Dutch and Turkish background or to just one of the two ( the Turkish or the Dutch one) and how to do it. Furthermore, I will demonstrate that the dichotomy between Dutch and non-Dutch affects the social interactions which occur between Turkish-Dutch and Dutch people. I will argue that, only when Turkish second generation individuals give up on their Turkish background and thus fully adopt the Dutch norms, values and habits, they can have quality social interactions with Dutch people and experience a real feeling of belonging.