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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Slipping and Sliding: Wielding Power with Slippery Constructions of Danishness

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This article addresses implicit and underlying discrimination in public and private interactions in Denmark. In particular, it examines racial structural discrimination in regard to citizenship and belonging in Danish contexts. Two cases are presented in this analysis, both from the fall of 2015, in which mixed race figures either directly or indirectly. The first case is a public debate concerning Danish citizenship as presented in news coverage and the second is an everyday private interaction at a dinner party in which the author was a participant. The study assesses how (racialized) Danishness, citizenship, and entitlement are constructed in the two cases. Further, it introduces the notion of “slipperiness” as a mechanism in discriminatory interactions (in regard to defining “Danishness”) and discusses how this notion functions to maintain and enforce racial discrimination.

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