Location of the keynote will follow soon.
Unsettling discourse of othering through narratives
Since the turn of the century, we have observed a growing normalization of othering in many European societies. The fundamental ingredient in the current trend of exclusion is the construction of otherness through culture. The culture (including religion) of migrants is imagined as absolutely different and inferior to the culture of the natives. To unsettle this “culturalist discourse of othering,” we need research methodologies that enable us to de-normalize the taken-for-granted taxonomies of the Self and the Other at their cores. Narrative approaches offer possibilities for deconstructing the production of fixed categories of difference and provide access to the multiple, dynamic and in-between positionings, creating opportunities to unsettle the essentialist assumption within the dominant discourse. The balancing act of sameness and difference, which is facilitated through narratives, creates unusual connections through confusion, surprise, imagination, and self-reflection. In this keynote I will present the findings of different studies on the narratives of migrants and refugees and show the diverse potentials of narrative approaches to provide alternative possibilities for countering the dominant discourse of othering.
Halleh Ghorashi (see picture below) is Full Professor of Diversity and Integration in the Department of Sociology at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Between 2005 and 2012 she held the prestigious position of PaVEM chair in Management of Diversity and Integration at the Department of Organization Science at the VU. Her research focuses on issues such as diasporic positioning, cultural diversity, emancipation and inclusion with a particular focus on the narratives of identity, (forced) migration and belonging in the context of growing culturalism. She is an elected Member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW) and serves as advisor to various societal organizations. Her personal website is www.hallehghorashi.com.