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Interethnic Interactions and Perceptions of Immigrant Men in Public Space: The Experience of Community Safety by Seniors in a Multicultural Neighbourhood

Studies in Symbolic Interaction

ISBN: 978-1-78052-156-5, eISBN: 978-1-78052-157-2

ISSN: 0163-2396

Publication date: 14 October 2011

Abstract

The focus of this chapter is on the experience of safety by Dutch seniors in a multicultural neighbourhood and how this is shaped by their labelling of immigrant men in public space. I describe how meaning is given to immigrants in general, and more specifically, to immigrant men who hang around in public places. This research is based on ongoing interactions with 30 senior citizens (above 60 years of age) over a period of two years and shows that regular and fleeting interethnic contact has major but opposing influences on how the presence of ethnic men in public space is perceived. Those who have prolonged interethnic contact over years tend to normalize the behaviour of ‘immigrant men hanging around’; those who do not have these contacts tend to use the populist rhetoric in media and politics to criminalize this behaviour.

Citation

Müller, T. (2011), "Interethnic Interactions and Perceptions of Immigrant Men in Public Space: The Experience of Community Safety by Seniors in a Multicultural Neighbourhood", Denzin, N.K. and Faust, T. (Ed.) Studies in Symbolic Interaction (Studies in Symbolic Interaction, Vol. 37), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 63-78. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0163-2396(2011)0000037005

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited