Hybridity, Mimicry and Second Generation Migration in Europe.

Globalization and Second-Generation Migration

            Migration was never a new thing and has happened in the history of the world for centuries. But what we are elaborating on here is a new category of second-generation migrants as they are still called  (Booth, 1992, p.1) who consciously decide to leave the (European) country that they were born in to move to another country in order to live in a more multicultural society (Kraen 2010). The interesting part is that these second generation migrants are not culturally pure (Young, 2000, pp.154-155) citizens of neither the country of their parents nor the country they were born into, and by moving to a cosmopolitan city, they are now making up a new group who are already stigmatized as second generation migrants in Europe (Booth, 1992, p.5) (sometimes they are referred to as first generation Europeans, but this is only happening in academic literature), although real life is far from the latter naming. So the term second-generation migrant includes the children of primary migrants born in the recipient country albeit they have never lived in their motherland. And the choice of resettling in a more inclusive country/cosmopolite is primarily caused by the consequences of an exclusionary agenda and its discourses in the everyday lives of migrants to Europe (Sarrazin, n.d. and Hedegaard and Mogens, n.d. and Fink, 2011). But what is the psychology of the second-generation migrants and how can we describe this in detail using postcolonial theory? And how does it differ from the view upon migrants as a problem of integration into Europe  (Kaya, 2000, p.43?)?

            In an era of globalization it is hard to believe that multiculturalism, hybridity, migrancy should be conceived as a problem in the West, but nonetheless this is the present reality (Rushdie, 2010 and Brah, 2000, p.277).

            With globalization there has been a change in time and space according to geographer Doreen Massey (Massey, 2006), although the world is shrinking in size and everywhere is getting closer, still an inequality is taking place as it has become easier to travel to London and New York while going to Uzbekistan equally has got more difficult. And even though people are more interconnected today because of globalization it is a neoliberal globalization that is taking place and therefore other non-discriminative alternatives to the present world order have difficulty being realized (Massey, 2006) as this kind of globalization is impoverishing the Third world by making them dependent on USA and the West (Bhabha, 1994, pp.xiv-xvi).

            Which creates a wretchedness deriving from the uneven developments, the economic IMF support and the on-going exploitation of the global South that is compared to ‘the colonial ruler’ in a new ‘economic-world-order’ (Bhabha, 1994, p.xvi). Which is further described as the on-going imperial project according to Spivak (cited in Dhawan, 2007). And the Third World countries cannot go against this neoliberal economic world-order, but only be a part of its solidification (Bhabha, 1994, p.xvi).

            As an example, Massey points out that the West is also dependent of the migrants who are serving us in London and in European cosmopolitans and still being a part of the global south (Massey, 2006). Hence this inter-dependency should in fact bring a more multicultural and discrimination-free approach along with it, but it is rather brushing up the historical power supremacy of the West and its discriminations based on race. So which theories could help us to clarify this contradiction?

            Since in the globalized era due to labour migration pure nation cultures do not exist anymore as there are displacements  (Bhabha, 1994, p.13) by post-colonial subjects living in other countries today (Bhabha, 1994, p.xv) as well as economic migrants from the 1960s-70s. Thus the situation of minoritization and globalization can be considered as the ‘quasi-colonial’ in line with W.E.B. Dubois (cited in Bhabha, 1994, p.xxi-xviii).  Explaining the inferior position and the racializations of migrants as well as post-colonial subjects within Western Europe. Therefore postcolonial theory can be applied to the present era as well specifically using Homi Bhabha’s concept of mimicry, and the colonizer’s anxiety of the termination of its superiority reflected in the racism and the colonizer’s approach to stereotyping and hybridity.

Search for Identity and Hybridity

            We are living in an era of movement (John Berger cited in Rapport, 1998, p.5), exile, and migration (Trinh T. Minh-Ha, 1994, pp.13-14 cited in Rapport, 1998, p. p.23) which is fundamental to modern identity in general (Marc Auge cited in Rapport, 1998, p.6). Identity which is suggested to be a dynamic and processual term is ‘…treated as a search…’ (Rapport, p.4). But on the other side there is no more a pure identity to reach at the end of this search as due to migration ‘homogeneous national cultures’ (Bhabha, 1994, p.7) and pure ethnic cultures are in a process of redefinition. So the Third World diaspora in Europe is gradually feeling as a native in Europe due to their upbringing and lives in Europe. Hence nation-states that do not exist as pure ethnical demographies any longer (Rapport, 1998, p.23), as globalization and migration’s transitions lead to hybridizations instead of traditionally explaining identity with ethnicity, religious or national background (Rapport, 1998, p.8). On the other hand hybridity is provoking and remaking the ‘imagined communities’ of nationalists and concomitantly increasing racism in a global era were transnationalism and globalization are simultaneously (Bhabha, 1994, p.7) outspread demographically and economically.

            In cultural theory ‘hybridity’ refers to a mixing of cultures in diaspora, displacement or migration in colonial times (Brah, 2000, p.11). Originating from ‘a racialized scientific discourse’ (Young, 2000, p.158) where even the breeding of different races of animals is resembled to the half-breed between a white and a black person (Agazzis, 1854, p.lxx cited in Young, 2000 p.156). The hybridity deriving from Bhabha’s term ‘mimicry’ is connected to colonial times, where the colonizer’s culture is imposed on the colonial subject who copies this culture (Huddart, 1996, pp.57-76). Unconsciously this creates a hybridization. It is in the ‘liminal’ space between settled cultures that a ‘hybrid’ culture and identity is created. This is the ‘location of culture’ accordingly to Bhabha (cited in Huddart, 2006, p.7), making up a third place, that erases the boundaries between 2 cultural identities (Lawrence Grossberg cited in Cala-Lesina, 2011).

            Hybridity which is considered as a richness in the bi-cultural migrant since possessing a ‘double-consciousness’ and ‘the truest eye’ (Bhabha, 1994, p.7-8), between being hybrid and concomitantly essentialized (Young, 2000, p.167) and who can bring newness into the recipient country as an act of cultural translation where a renewing of the past takes place, while simultaneously interrupting the present (Bhabha, 1994, p.9).

            Such a newness is explained as a way of surviving according to Salman Rushdie (cited in Bhabha, 1994, p.324). Where the performing of a cultural translation of German culture into for instance Turkish creates a hybrid, it is actually German which is transformed not the Turkish culture (Rudolf Pannwitz in Benjamin, Illuminations p.80 cited in Bhabha, 1994, p.326). Hybridity thus becomes the life condition of a double-track transformation, which creates a new third culture.

            Turkish diaspora, which will be the main example in this essay for a reading of this post-colonial terminology, is one of the biggest communities (Ural Manco, n.d.) in Europe which now with second and third generations represents this hybridity. The term used for diasporic Turks in Turkey is ‘almanci’ (Robins, n.d., p.248) meaning they are not real Turks, since they are the Turks who went to Europe as labour force chiefly to Germany in the 1960s and 1970s. Today the Turkish population originating from the post-war time and their descendants make up a big Turkish diaspora in Europe (Booth, 1992 and Manco, n.d.). The ‘almanci’ term is thus indicating that these expatriate Turks are neither considered as real Turks nor real Germans. Leaving them in an in-between space to make up their own identity in line with Kaya (2002, pp.45-50). They instead become the hybrids of a globalized era. Thus, for this essay, I have been carried out three interviews with three hybrid ‘almanci’.

            As on Turks in other sites of Europe i.e. Denmark, many immigrants and second generation immigrants are not being accepted as citizens equal to Danes. As they are still identified as “Gastarbeiter” and immigrants still after years of living, working and contributing to the Danish society (Hylland Eriksen, 2010, p.78). These hybridizations have finally managed to figuratively crawl beyond the skin that Fanon (Bhabha, 1994, p.340 and Huddart 2006, p.30) depicts, the skin that still racially categorizes us even when registering at the British GPs. Since today one can find Turkish people born and reared in Denmark or Germany speaking fluent Danish or German to the big annoyance and surprise to the natives of those countries who are not willing to include them into European society (Fink, 2011 and Kaya, 2002 and Gursoy, 2011).  

            And it is only in academic literature and when being politically correct that the terminology ‘nydanskere’[1]. The discriminatory representation of Turkish-German youth or Turkish diaspora in Germany causes a choice of a hybrid identity in order to resist both cultures that they are a part of and that are trying to categorize them (Kaya, 2002, p.44-45)

            The negativity and racializations implemented historically in the concept of hybridity by some white pseudo-scientific theorists such as Nott (1854, pp.67-68 cited in Young, 2000, p.156-157) who believes in racial purity and refuses the mixing of interracial sexual relations to avoid ‘…the degeneration of white societies and the debasement of their cultures…’ (Young, 2000, p.157). Unfortunately this has also become the view upon the hybrid second generation in Europe. Hybridity thus echoes a historic discourse of race that confirms the supremacy of the white race (Young, 2000, pp.157-158).

            Hybridity which is considered as a threat to essentialist views on cultures as being pure due to its power of facilitating a change to the power-balance of the world (Brah, 2000, p.1) is thus not promoted by right-wing politics in the Western European countries ((Sarrazin 2010);(Hedegaard and Mogens n.d.)). Which is a quintessential prejudice among colonial racializations that has been almost formalized in the West as the hybrid is considered impure and apprehensive even back in colonial times (Young, 2000, p.157).            Thus in the everyday life of the Turkish diasporic youth this racialization is resuscitated. And the migrant Other is given the role of the formerly colonial subjects and thus it is evident that a neo-colonialism is persistent in Europe (Bhabha, 1994, p.9).

            It is not only the whites who opposes hybridity but for the colonized, the hybrid, the one who has transformed towards the white is also a ‘native colloborator’ himself. This was the accusation of Rasheed Araeen for Bhabha whom he criticizes for creating a separation between white and non-white. “While white artists can carry on what they always did, appropriating any culture they liked, and without carrying with them any sign of their cultural identity, non-white artists must enter the dominant culture by showing their cultural identity cards.” (Aaraen, 2000, p.16 cited in Huddart, 2006, p.160)  Thus this area of in-between defined by Bhabha is not at the same level considered as middle by Araeen but belonging to whites still. This ‘allusionary’ (Huddart, 2006, p.161) criticism reminds of the accusations to Salman Rushdie as an other hybrid by his non-white fellow countrymen (Rushdie, 2010, p.405).

            The experiences and destiny of Salman Rushdie after The Satanic Verses might be shedding light on the repudiation of a hybrid. In his book, the reversed use of an othering imperial language (2010, p.402) was intended to reclaim an identity for the subaltern and migrants who are constantly powered by the white representation. But the racists or anti-Islamic groups did not understand this sense of equalizing among East and West. Instead Rushdie was denounced a traitor, and an Uncle Tom amongst Muslims and they did not comprehend Rushdie’s real purpose either (2010, p.405).

            Not only the novel but also Rushdie himself represents something that neither the essentialist Europeans nor the fundamentalist East and its diaspora within the West takes pleasure in (Rushdie 2010, p.404-414). Because not only hybridity but also secularism is being resisted by essentialists on both sides, as is not desired since this could lead to the transformations of the world’s power balance that Rushdie (2010, p.394) and also Bhabha  calls for as hybridity’s potential (Huddart, 2006, pp.116-117).

            And the diasporic as well as the migrant is aware and prepared for this hybridity that emerges out of migrancy, whereas the Western mono-cultural people are neither aware of this nor are they willing to give up their imperially gained privileges (Landry, 1996, pp. 4-5).

            Since Rushdie as a hybrid has the ‘stereoscopic vision’ and he is in my opinion supposed to question both of his cultures to find his own identity of the more relaxed well-integrated secular or atheist migrant in the West albeit having a Muslim background. But the stereotyping and homogenizing of the post–colonial subject by Europeans did not like this (Mitchell, 1988 and Huddart, 2006) At this point comes the power of the stereotyping as a tool of the white to prevent any claim of equalization of the migrant.

Stereotyping of the ‘White West’ and Bhabba’s mimicry

            A generalization is happening towards the hybrid diasporic since a homogeneity of all colonial subjects and today even migrants (Fink, 2011) is desired by the whites in order to keep the stereotyping (cited in Huddart, 2006, pp.47-48 and Mitchell, 1988) , as a tool to prevent change in the existing power structure and the representation of non-whites (Huddart, 2006, p.35). And even when attempting to question this ‘stereotyping apparatus’, it keeps empowering it (Huddart, 2006, p.48).

            Since Bhabha also highlights the fact that stereotyping is not the real life of the colonial subject or the migrant (Huddart, 2006, p.48). This explains the urge to homogenize (Rushdie, 2010, p. 409 and Robins, n.d., p. 251) all migrants in one category as foreigners or blacks regardless of national, religious or cultural background in the name of pluralism between cultures is yet another way of being able to dominate and represent the non-white Europeans (Bhabha, 1994, p.327) as well as reinforcing an ‘imagined community’ of European nationalism.( Bhabha, 1994, p.330).

            Hence the stereotyping of the colonizer that kept the subaltern (Landry, 1996, p5) as well as the migrants in a position of inferiority has today been taken over by European politicians and media. But this stereotyping is to some extend being challenged and stopped by the emergence of hybridity, that via its creative identity choices emancipates freedom to the migrant who is no longer dependent of the representation and opinion of the racializing discourses of i.e. the majority of German society (Kaya, 2002, p.44) as well as being prone to racism (Ruble, n.d., p.4). Therefore hybridity is not supported by the White Western and is considered a threat and instead stereotypes are still used as a means to limit any identity search or an equalizing positioning of the subaltern (Landry and Maclean, 1996) and the migrant.

            This, the anxiety from being equal, is explained by Bhabha in his theory on ‘mimicry’ (Huddart, 2006, p.57). And the colonial fear of the migrant for being as educated as the white man or taking over his country (Brah, 2000, pp.283-284). For Homi Bhabha Mimicry is an imitation of the colonizer’s culture, behavior and language, but with a difference (Huddart, 2006, p.57) and therefore it is not an assimilation albeit ambivalently desired and opposed by the colonizer and the Western European states. Since if this equality of both the colonizer and the colonized were present then this present power-relation could not function. (Huddart, 2006, p.59). Thus in this sense ‘mimicry’ is even considered as a mockery or exaggeration forming a resistance, that is almost unconscious, towards the whites (Huddart, 2006, p.58).

            Furthermore this explains the situation of the diasporic Turk who thinks he is Danish, German or Austrian, and well-integrated but still is not accepted or recognized by the native authorities nor its inhabitants. Since a full resemblance except the skin colour of course, is causing anxiety within the whites. Therefore it should be emphasized that the consequences of this colonial discourse cannot be controlled since it has an in-built ambivalence (Huddart, 2006, p.59-60). And the mimicry is thus undermining the colonizer and thus its identity in contrast to the non-whites (Huddart, 2006, p.76). Therefore integration is never really realized by the recipient European country, since this idea of the colonial subject is passed onto the contemporaneous migrant being identical with himself is not an aspiration from the whites (Huddart, 2006, p.65). Nonetheless ‘the partiality of presence in colonial discourse leads to a kind of drive to become authentic; ‘authentically British perhaps […]being more British than the British’ (Bhabha, 1994, p.88 cited in Huddart 2006, p.65) or  ‘…becoming ‘almost the same but not white’ (Bhabha, 1994, p.89 cited in Huddart, 2006, p.68).  This way the colonial discourse becomes a two-fold desire for both the colonizer and the colonized who are in a way both prone to moderately unconscious choices (Huddart, 2006, p.65).

            This two-way act by colonial and colonized is showing itself in the concept of ‘doubling’. In the discourse on post-colonialism there is an intricate ‘doubling’ (Huddart, 2006, pp.2-3). Since the West sees the settlement of postcolonial subjects, migrants and its descendants as a threat, as they are convinced that a counter-action of colonizing the West by the former colonial subjects is happening  (Brah, 2000, pp.272-290) or a jihadization after the 9/11 incidents. Since this is the ingrained fear of colonizers of the East to one day be taken captive themselves (Huddart, 2006, p.6). Because of this anxiety within the colonial power, the colonizer never really obtains what he desires resembling this to Lacan’s mirror-stage. Fanon is using Lacan’s term the ‘scopic drive’ to elucidate this gaze (Huddart, 2006, p.42). Hence this could explain the situation of migrants simultaneously feeling inferior as well as being able to perform a threat. The colonized and also the migrants are aware of this weakness within the colonizing power and thus could profit from this situation.

            This might even explain part of the behaviour of second and third generation migrant adolescent boys’ provocative behaviour in Denmark. Because of these ‘doublings’ Bhabha  (in Huddart, 2006, p.6) is finding Edward Said’s Oriental discourse insufficient and lacking the agency of the colonizeds’ resistances for an empowerment. Since Orientalism as a Western discourse is keeping the Spivakian subaltern (Landry, 1996, p.5) and the migrants in a fixed position via representing them and present-day migrants as a group that have no possibility of resisting discrimination or stereotyping by the West and thus the subaltern cannot speak  (Landry, 1996, p.5). Bhabha thus shows us both the point of view of the colonized and the colonizer, instead of only seeing the situation from one angle, since this is only reinforcing the maintaining of a white hegemony where the position of the Other is subverted  (Huddart, 2006, p.37).

Creativity and Resistance in Hybridity

            Furthermore the resistance and announcement of Bhabha’s writing style and deconstructive discourses that the white critics even in academia are defying could hence be explained with the concepts of ‘mimicry’ and ‘doubling’ (Huddart, 2006, p.15). Hence they are not ready to give up their authority and privileges yet according to Spivak (Landry and Maclean, 1996, p.4).

            Political psychologist Ashis Nandy (1998, p.147 cited in Huddart, 2006, p.15) ‘…suggests that the way we write cultural criticism has its own political significance, especially when that culture is as politically charged as colonial culture. Nandy proposes that ‘The first identifier of a post-colonial consciousness cannot but be an attempt to develop a language of dissent which would not make sense…’ Therefore a newly emerging post-colonial language gives an insight to the hybriditized identities of migrants around the West, but the language itself is also an evidence of a resistance within hybrid culture against the white colonial hegemonies. Since it does try to make ‘the subaltern speak’ (Landry, 1996, p.5 and p.287) although the language is complicated in Bhabha and the fact that Spivak never feels that she is understood both as a women, a third world woman or an immigrant (Spivak, 2008) explains the obscuring of white hegemonies.

            The route via the post-colonial novel thus brings us to the hybrid identities of migrants. Since Bhabha suggests to contest and change the apparatus of stereotyping by means of new and different styles of literature bringing a counter-stereotypical strategy along and argues that stereotypes can generally be transformed due to their openness and the innate split or ‘doubling’ within colonial authority (Huddart, 2006, pp.49-54).

            And as Hylland-Eriksen (2010, p.72) suggests the creativity and potential inside migration which is evident in hybridity, has an ability to make most of it, when choosing between cultures in the ‘global supermarket’ as well as to make this creolization a part of an identity and lifestyle. Which can be traced in the works of writers such as Hanif Kureishi, Salman Rushdie (cited in Hylland Eriksen, 2010 and cited in Bhabha, 1994 and Rushdie, 2010). In addition to writers there are also rappers (Kaya, 2002, pp. 44-45 and Robins, n.d.), artists or academics who uses their hybrid creativity to resist the widespread Eurocentric representation of themselves. Hybridity thus becomes the life condition as well as the creative potential of the second-generation migrants.

            Although in my view, as a second generation migrant, even writing, making art or in other forms of creativity it is not enough to forget the surrounding society’s exclusionary practices, since this is almost not possible as a diasporic in Europe since one is constantly reminded of ones colour, background and inferior position (Robins and Morley, n.d., p.249). I therefore do not believe in hybridity as a solution since the interviewees I have interviewed and myself, along with possible re-settlers to London or New York have still not been able to resist the racializations of i.e. Denmark, Germany or Austria via the creativity of hybridity. And second generation migrants in England are also leaving this country to live, work and belong in other metropolises (‘I for India’). And this is the reason why we move to seemingly more multicultural settings such as London. 

            The hybridity of Bhabha which is described by Young as having an implicit (cited in Huddart, 2006, p.78-79) awareness of its lack of being able to perform a difference in practice in the everyday lives of my interviewees for instance who are making a second migration to London to avoid these present neo-colonial racializations, despite their promising hybridity.

            Although Bhabha’s theories are criticized he is still considered important to post-colonial studies (Huddart, 2006, p.150). Hybridity that was already a categorizing tool in colonialism is not something that neither Bhabha (Young cited in Huddart, 2006, p.150) nor the hybrid ‘almanci’ has made up. Although Young ‘…warns against uncritically celebrating hybridity in our contemporary moment…’ which is also a reading of Bhabha’s own standpoint regarding hybridity. What Bhabha points out in his oeuvre is the resistances of the colonized, although Young himself argues that these resistances were apparent even without Bhabha’s theories. (Huddart, 2006, p.151).

Coming to London:

            Since people usually needs to belong and have their identity recognized to resist feelings of oppression (Taylor, 1994, p.25) inferiority and self-oppression (Taylor, 1994, pp. 25-26) and thus internalizing the white gaze of Fanon (cited in Huddart, 2006, p. 1 and p.30). And to behaviours defined by the white majority to prove that one is as good as them or even better (Bhabha, 1994, p.88). Therefore there ‘…is a struggle for a changed self-image, which takes place both within the subjugated and against the dominator…’ in order to modify the colonial making of inferiority argues Fanon (Fanon cited in Taylor, 1994, p.65). Thus the second generation migrant claims and searches for ‘A right to difference-in-equality…’(Etienne Balibar, 1994, p.56 cited in Bhabha, 1994, p.xvii).

            This longing for a new life and the formation of identity in a globalized world of movement where even Westerners are in a constant process of hybridity (Rapport and Dawson, 1998, pp. 3-4) could easily be resembled to diasporic Turks. The desire of the migrants to feel at home in a cognitive environment where one feels its identity best mediated (Rapport and Dawson, 1998, p.10) explains the choice of the diasporic Turk who chooses to move to Turkey (Tekelioglu, 2011) or to London as myself and my interviewees in kind of a second migration who are in search of a home and a notion of belonging are taking authority into their own hands, to choose where and how to live in accordance to their hybridity. This gives them an empowerment that enables them an escape from their paralyzed and stigmatized situation in their birth countries (Jenny B. White, 1997, p.761 cited in Ruble, est.2009, p.3 and der Spiegel, 14 April 1997 cited in Kaya, 2002, p.44). And facilitate them to be and to speak (Landry and Maclean, 1996, p.287). Speak of what they want instead of being prone to racism and mono-culturalism. But still they are only making up a small group and not a category as yet. Nonetheless these counter-acts towards the life conditions of Western migrancy have thus far not been noticed in the overall eyes of the wider public in Denmark (Generaliseringsartikel), Germany or Austria.

            This lack of recognition due to the present world situation is perhaps part of the reason why diasporic Turks often via organizational work or via media urges to define an identity and to be heard as the subaltern have trouble being heard according to Spivak  (cited in Landry and Maclean, 1996, pp.287-296).

            Although Spivak argues that one should not confuse subalternity with economic migrancy there is indeed a resemblance in the racializing discourses of the West, towards both groups;The subaltern that Spivak rightfully depicts as not being able to speak (Landry and Maclean, 1996, p.292) due to mechanisms of power (Landry and Maclean, 1996, p.295).

            And thus the ‘migrant-as-subaltern’ (Spivak, 1995, p.115 cited in Dhawan, 2007) is not her depiction of the subaltern since the subaltern in her opinion does not have the opportunity to mobilize. Moreover Spivak (Dhawan, 2007) claims that the ‘new-immigration-in-capitalism’ or ‘Eurocentric economic migration’ is just the tip of the iceberg and that it is only just a tiny part of the continuing imperial project that is tried to be obscured by the white hegemony. And ‘…the international division of labour today is allegorised into the situation of the ‘guest workers’ or the Third World people in First World arenas, which has very little to do with the larger problem”. (Spivak, 1990, p.14 in Dhawan, 2007).

            Hence one should also consider the fact that the new migrants to the West are all part of capitalism and thus have chosen to migrate themselves, and even in cases of exile the Spivakian concept of subalternity is to shed light on the bigger picture that should bring the imperial amnesia (Brah, 2000, p.276) to an end.

            The young diasporic youth are all ‘…haunted by some sense of loss, some urge to reclaim…’ something from their parents’ past according to Rushdie (2010, p.10). And concomitantly ‘…we will not be capable of reclaiming precisely the thing that was lost…’. Thus instead ‘imaginary homelands’ are created in the minds of emigrants and their descendants. Leading us to the ‘beyond’ concept of Bhabha (1994, p.5) which is always something desired in the future that has not yet come but which is also a nostalgia connected to one’s past and childhood. A nostalgia for a future utopia that one already feels as a part of, but is melancholic because of this lack in their lives. This is the primus motor behind the decision to choose to live in a third country, where one believes to feel at home. Thus Bhabha brings the seemingly static notion of immigrant nostalgia into a narrative of the future. The nostalgia of belonging that brings us to new places such as London. To recreate what was lost and to make us feel at home and accepted ‘…as full members…’ of our respectively German, Danish or Austrian societies (Rushdie, 2010, p.15). 

            Since this misrecognition (Taylor, 1994, p.25) inflicts trauma to migrants and their identity process and hence is a decision to resettle in a cosmopolitan and more multicultural city, as London is which is more inclusive of cultural diversity than their own countries. But racism is also existing in London and is inherited from colonial times (Rushdie, 2010, p.129 and Brah, 2000, p.283 and in interview with Nobrega 2011) and instead of colonialism, Britain has instead imported ‘a new empire’ that Bhabha names ‘our colonial present’ (Huddart, 2006, p.2). And although a lot of legal racializations are acted out in England, the life styles of my EU-citizen interviewees are not influenced, since they are not under British legalizations.


            As the agencies of states do not wish to decode or analyze the hierarchies of race, gender, class or even sexuality, otherwise they would not be reproducing discourses of 400 years of racializations as this would not benefit their privileged hegemonies (Young, 2000, p.167 and Landry and Maclean, 1996, p.287 ). And as a result the keeping of migrants or the subaltern in an inferior position from where ‘they cannot speak’ (Landry and Maclean, 1996) would be preferred. Although racism is not absent and tolerance is not constantly triumphing (Gilroy, 2004, p.xi), still London can be described as being more multicultural than for example Denmark, Austria or Germany. But the main problem being that multiculturalism has come to an end due to its neglect by the political agencies that endeavour the proliferation of neo-liberal politics based on a post-colonial racializing past. As Spivak draws attention to it is important not to mix the terminologies of subalternity with emigration since this will not transform the situation for the postcolonial subaltern, instead it will only increase the obscuration of a Western European imperial history.

            Once again I must emphasize that it is the hybridity that the essentialist European as well as fundamentally opinionated nations or migrants are not capable of, or rather do not wish to accept, since this would result in a change in centuries long ingrained nationalism. Hence it does not seem as if the world and thus the situation for me or my Turkish diasporic interviewees will transform having the neo-colonial agendas all over Europe. Including that of London.

            Therefore the concept of ‘mimicry’ is reproduced in the obligation of an integration of migrants in European states or as Rushdie argues integration actually means assimilation in Western societies, (Rushdie, 2010, p.137). As it is the ‘…threat to national unity’ that affiliates an assimilation politic (Bhabha, 1994, pxxii) in line with the Danish Minister of Integration, Soeren Pind.

            And the second migration of the Turkish diasporic youth to London is thus viewed as a result of the maintaining of colonial stereotyping (Kaya, 2002, p.43) that does not recognize or permit the subaltern to speak and therefore they choose to resettle albeit still making up a smaller group in cosmopolitan cities and in the world in general is a result of this.

            Furthermore the notion of the creative potential of the hybrid almost resembles the stereotyping racializations of black people to be more creative and musical for instance (Barnes 1995 in pp.39-40 in Young, 2000, p.164), since every migrant does not feel or use the creativity inside hybridity.

            Bhabha’s hybridity that has a conceptual popularity is criticized by Hardt and Negri (cited in Huddart, 2006, p.164) for only theorizing and not implementing a change in practice and for being written from a privileged upper class position and therefore cannot bring me nor my interviewees back to our delivering European countries as the world is not ready for the ‘hybrid’ yet.



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Interview questions:

1- Although you grew up in Germany all of your life or most of it, why did you choose to leave Germany? What triggered you to move geographically?

(Was it for career, educational or private reasons? i.e. being fed up with racism, immigrant psychology, monoculturalism, right-wing politics or the longing for somewhere to feel free from all of this?) It could of course be all of the above.

2- And why is it that you do not return to your European ‘motherland’ even though your education here is almost done?

So I would like to get your reflections before and now?

Interview with Gaye Gursoy:

1) I decided to leave Germany as I realized you do not have the same options careerwise like a German. You are always second class person, you are always confronted with questions about your heritage and backround. None really sees you as an individual but as a foreign women who is trapped in tradition and family. So my reasons were immigrant psychology, racism, right wing politics

2) As I have never lived in Turkey it is always a holiday destination for me. I dont think I would feel comfortable in Turkey as I am too “German” and western oriented for Turkey. I grew up between two cultures and when this happens you are creating your own culture. You pick up few things from both sides, so Turkey wasnt an option for me.

I am much happier in London, as I feel you get treated as an individual and not as a foreigner.

Interview with Onur Suzan Komurcu Nobrega:

To question 1:

I was born in Germany and lived there until 2006. I worked for several years precariously in the media and cultural industries in Berlin and decided to leave Germany to do a Masters at Goldsmiths. The two main reasons for why I left were that I wanted to escape the German labour market and the institutional and every day racism that I experienced. There was not one key situation that triggered my decision to leave, but many accumulated experiences that made me realise that I couldn’t progress in my career as I was constantly fixed by white German employers into a position of inferiority due to my ethnic background. I believe that the German labour market is highly discriminatory in relation to race, gender and class, especially when it comes to higher positions on the job market and my experiences after I have moved to the UK show that there is a different awareness in British work organisations regarding the issue of equal opportunity. Also I feel that London is a much more internationalplace in comparison to Berlin, which positively effects how people of different origin interact with each other. However, I think that there is an increasing anti-Muslim racism and traditionally a very strong class

based discrimination in Britain, so that I don’t really feel that I am “free” from all forms of discrimination whilst living and working here.

To question 2:

I haven’t made up my mind yet about the question where to live in the near future. In the five years that I’ve been living in Britain I have successfully completed my Masters and I am about to finish my PhD. I am also married with my British husband (of mixed Scottish-Caribbean descent), who grew up in London and only speaks English. Therefore we will have to decide together were to live in the future. I do miss Germany sometimes as I know it inside out and a lot of my very close friends and my family lives there. However, based on my previous experiences on the labour market in Germany. in the educational system of the country and in view of the terrible debates regarding migration in Germany, triggered through the statements of Thilo Sarrazin and others, I have strong doubts about returning to a troubled place of belonging. I wouldn’t want that my children experience in the future the same racism that I have experienced and I am not sure if my husband and me could pursue our careers and be happy in Germany. I feel that my independence from German employers and the structures in general has given me a great freedom and confidence in my abilities beyond my ethnicity, class and gender. Let’s see where the future will take us.

Interview with Yilmaz Algul:

The reason I moved had several influences:

As part of my study it is very much advised to complete a PhD thesis abroad the country you have studied during your undergraduate study. Further to improve my English I have chosen to come to the uk, which is still closed to Europe and I am able easily to visit my family in Austria. The main force for leaving Austria was in first instance a carrier decision followed by the fact that Austria has a rooted racism and subconsciously knowing that the UK especially London is a very cosmopolitan city I was looking forward not to see anymore the daily racism presented everywhere especially in politics.

After having finished my phd, I started to join some interesting and challenging projects. I am looking forward in a way to return to Vienna but I have invested much time into research projects that are running currently here in the UK and I would not leave it without having harvested the results that satisfy me. After all visiting Austria also seeds some doubts in my feelings whether I really want to be back there face all the classical daily life of Austria back. There are other pros like the living standards, the quality of material life that are encouraging to go back.

I guess I have to make a decision at same point after having finished my research project here and the conditions might even require a radical one in order to get out of the ambivalent situation of not deciding to settle anywhere.

[1] Nydansker meaning new Danes in Danish.

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