Living in a transnational social field
Notions of belonging revised
in Iraqi women in Denmark
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This chapter situates Iraqi women’s articulations of belonging in relation to the political contexts of Danish society and the Iraqi place of origin. Due to the political transformations in Iraq since 2003, Iraqi families can engage in different levels of transnational relations. Participation in the first Iraqi elections provides a sense of influence, but also serves to create new opportunities in Danish society. Visits to Iraq re-activate relations to women’s places of origin, but also calls into question the strength of family relations. The analysis shows that while the frequently cited distinction between ‘ways of being’ and ‘ways of belonging’ may be very helpful in understanding migrants’ relations to abstract collectivities, in their personal relations notions of identity cannot be separated from social practice. Finally, the Iraqi women may experience that they have gone through a process of localisation in Copenhagen, but they are not acknowledged as belonging there by the majority society. Public debates and political discussions leave little space for the Iraqi women to develop a sense of belonging to Danish society. The chapter points to the discrepancies between the politics of belonging in Denmark and women’s personal experiences.

Iraqi women in Denmark

Ritual performance and belonging in everyday life

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