Beyond The Integration Norm: Negotiating and performing citizenship within the integration course ‘Knowledge of the Dutch society’

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Within the integration course Knowledge of the Dutch Society (Kennis van de Nederlandse Maatschappij), newcomers are expected to acquire practical knowledge of the Dutch society and to gain a better understanding of 'core values'. By adopting a relational perspective, this thesis investigates the ways in which Dutch state, teachers and newcomers interact and negotiate citizenship within the KNM course. It analyses (underlying) criteria and everyday practices to create a deeper understanding of how citizenship practices unfold. High and culturally focused expectations within the course uncovers discursive power mechanisms of the state. The criteria are not only formally enacted but are also grounded in discursive imaginaries of Dutchness, which (re)construct exclusionary binaries. Though, citizenship is not only articulated by the state. This study examines how newcomers navigate through within deriving criteria. Moreover, it considers the role of teachers as they are both critical and 'the voice' of the integration course. By adopting a performative approach, this thesis reveals that citizenship can both function as domination and empowerment mechanism (Isin, 2017) and separately or simultaneously break through structure/agency relationships as newcomer’s negotiations and performance blur through demarcated norms.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen