Hanging around in suburbia: understanding normalizing power in professional relationships with Dutch Caribbean migrants

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Professional interventions are rarely successful when used to “normalize” the behaviour of a disruptive group of Dutch-Caribbean migrants. Surprisingly a large number of professionals have not succeeded in assimilating a relatively small group. Foucault developed a means of analysing power mechanisms, which is essential to understanding how non-conformist groups are turned into “normal” subjects. If, following Foucault, we conceive of professional interventions as power strategies, we may wonder what might undermine their effectiveness. This is part of a broader research question which asks whether Foucault’s description of normalizing power offers sufficient means to describe power strategies as reciprocal interaction. My thesis is that the concept “logics”, as used by Mol, offers tools that are a useful addition to Foucault’s theory. The ways in which Dutch professionals view problematic Dutch-Caribbean migrants and the interventions they use can be described as different logics.
This enables us to recognize the similarities and frictions between different practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-82
JournalJournal of social intervention: theory and practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2012



  • assimilation
  • migrants
  • integration
  • antilleans

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