• Emilie Lykke
I set out to investigate the barriers that well-educated or experienced people need to overcome in order to enter the Danish labour market. There are many barriers but I have found that there is something lurking as part of the barriers, something that nobody talk about, or even are aware of, but which suggests that something is not functioning properly among the majority. This unarticulated ‘something’ is a key element to understand the struggle of ‘integration’ in Denmark and it is the main focus of my thesis.

Through a qualitative study with informants amongst internationals and municipality employees, I investigate what this unarticulated ‘something’ is, how it is experienced and reproduced, as well as how it limits the internationals inclusion on the labour market.

On the basis of Social Practice Theory and Phenomenology I have worked with experience as my point of interest, enabling me to focus on everyday practice and experience throughout the analysis. I refrain from the idea of causality and work instead with the idea of racial experiences being real in practice.

The analysis consists of three parts. The first part is an investigation of the unarticulated ‘something’, where I use theoretical concepts like cultural racism, everyday racism and banal nationalism to make sense of this unarticulated ‘something’. Second part is an analysis of the unarticulated ‘something’ among business consultants where focus is upon their experiences as professionals and as individuals, how the unarticulated ‘something’ can be made sense of through their practice and how they perceive the internationals. And the third part is an exploration of the influence of recognition, where I analyse the limited sense of belonging among the informants as an expression of limited recognition.

The results show that the unarticulated ‘something’ is composed by all those aspects that influence the racial relation between Danes and ‘others’, and can thereby be understood as the essence of the racial relations as they are experienced in the context of Aarhus, among people of similar characteristics, anno 2018. The racial relation is difficult to pinpoint, but it exists as part of experience for the internationals that, among others, experience it through cultural racism, everyday racism, lack of recognition and the experience of ‘distance’. The majority is meanwhile responsible for the continuous reproduction of the dominant racial relation and racial experiences, manifested through racialized and discriminatory practices, for example through structural discrimination, preferential discrimination and the lack of recognition of competences.

Even though the discrimination and racism is subtle, and often hidden out of awareness, this study shows the existence of this underlying structure of racial relations and racial experience. In order to change this, the emphasis must no longer be primarily on ‘the others’ and how ‘they’ must accustom themselves to the Danish ways, but instead on the Danish system and the Danes reproduction of the many aspects constituting the force of the racial relation.

Keywords: International, labour market, Denmark, cultural racism, banal nationalism, racial relations, recognition, the unarticulated ‘something’
Publication date2 Jan 2019
Number of pages86
ID: 292647357