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Hanging around in suburbia. Understanding normalizing power in professional relationships with Dutch Caribbean migrants

Author:

Jacquelien Rothfusz

NL
About Jacquelien
Jacquelien Rothfusz (M.Sc., M.A.) is a lecturer at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen, in the programmes of Applied Psychology and Social Work and is a member of the Labour Participation research group. She is a PhD student at the University of Groningen, Faculty of Philosophy, Practical Philosophy research group. Her PhD supervisor is Prof. R.W. Boomkens and her second supervisor is Dr L. Polstra.
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Abstract

Hanging around in suburbia. Understanding normalizing power in professional relationships with Dutch Caribbean migrants. Professional interventions are rarely successful when used to “normalize” the behaviour of a disruptive group of Dutch-Caribbean migrants. Surprisingly a large number of professionals have not succeeded in assimilating a relatively small group of problematic Dutch-Caribbean migrants. Foucault developed a means of analysing power mechanisms, which is essential to understanding how non-conformist groups are turned into “normal” subjects. If, following Foucault, we conceive of professional interventions as power strategies, we may wonder what might undermine their effectiveness. This is part of a broader research question which asks whether Foucault’s description of normalizing power offers sufficient means to describe power strategies as reciprocal interaction. My thesis is that the concept “logics”, as used by Mol, offers tools that are a useful addition to Foucault’s theory. The ways in which Dutch professionals view problematic Dutch-Caribbean migrants and the interventions they use can be described as different logics. This enables us to recognize the similarities and frictions between different practices. Rondhangen in de Bloemkoolwijk. Normaliserende machtsstrategieën in professionele relaties met multiproblem Antillianen. Professionele interventies die worden gebruikt om het gedrag van een deviante groep Antillianen te “normaliseren” zijn nauwelijks succesvol. Het is verbazingwekkend dat een grote inzet van professionals nauwelijks leidt tot gedragsveranderingen bij een relatief kleine groep probleem-Antillianen. Foucault heeft geanalyseerd hoe deviante burgers veranderd worden in “normale” subjecten. Als, in deze situatie, de “normalisering” niet lijkt te functioneren, kunnen we ons afvragen welke tegenkrachten er in het spel zijn. Deze vraag maakt deel uit van een bredere onderzoeksvraag: Biedt Foucaults beschrijving van normaliserende macht voldoende middelen om machtsstrategieën te beschrijven als wederzijdse interactie? In dit artikel wil ik laten zien dat het concept “logica’s”, zoals omschreven door Mol, meer mogelijkheden biedt om de diversiteit en het interactieve karakter van macht in kaart te brengen.
DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/jsi.284
How to Cite: Rothfusz, J., (2012). Hanging around in suburbia. Understanding normalizing power in professional relationships with Dutch Caribbean migrants. Journal of Social Intervention: Theory and Practice. 21(2), pp.63–82. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/jsi.284
Published on 21 Jun 2012.
Peer Reviewed

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