Long and complicated story – short post, but:
In Denmark, the face of an immigrant is that of a veiled woman. Immigrant men and women who do not wear veils do not exist in the political discourse.
There are several political ironies here:
The veil (Muslim or not) is intended to mark a limit between the public and private sphere and it indicates that women do not belong in the public sphere whereas men do. But would immigrant women appear as such in the political sphere in today’s Europe if they did not wear veils?
Traditionally, liberalism and conservatism assert the delimitation of a private sphere which should not be the object of political action (parallel: The debate over whether parents have the right to hit their children or not – liberals and conservatives defended the rights of violent parents with reference to privacy). Now, liberals and conservatives want to regulate† what clothing people wear in their own homes.
On the other hand, socialists and radicals traditionally questioned and rejected the delimitation of a private sphere (“the private is political”). Now, the socialists and radicals want to promote the display a sign of the public/private delimitation.
All of this of cause only applies if the object of the political discussion belong to the out-group. So to the liberals and conservatives, intruding in the private sphere is okay, as long as the objects are Muslim.
To the socialists and radicals, upholding a private sphere is okay, as long as the objects are Muslim.
PS: Yes, I am aware of the fact that there are (lots of) Muslim women who do not wear headscarves or veils.
Margaret Soltan (red) vs. Barbara Ehrenreich (black):
The pundits keep chanting that we need a more highly skilled workforce, by which they mean more college graduates, although the connection between college and skills is not always crystal clear. [College isn’t about workplace skills. It’s about general cultural acquisition, becoming an educated person.]
†Read it all here. Via The Cranky Professor.
Topic for discussion: Do educational politicians and bureaucrats want European colleges and universities to educate young (and some older) people or to provide ready-made cubicle workers?
It’s closer to Las Vegas, you know.
To the best of my knowledge, the aren’t too many academic bloggers around in Scandinavia – and this blogger is about to leave the ranks of the active academics in the not-too-distant future.
As a (sorry) matter of fact, I’m only aware of Punditokraterne – a Danish bunch of merry Libertarian and Conservative social scientists originally mobilised by Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard – and Ulf Bjereld – a Christian Socialist who is also a professor of international relations in Gothenburg.
But who is the hand behind the keyboard? Politikerbloggen asserts that Bjereld’s colleague Marie Demker (okay, she is also Ms. Bjereld, or Bjereld is Mr. Demker if you prefer it that way) is the mystery blogger. Demker refuses to comment.
Why would Demker be a reasonable guess? Because of the themes and many of the standpoints in the blog posts.
Why would she not be a reasonable guess? Because she usually appears under her own name in public debate – frequently with Mr. Demker as co-author. It would make little sense for her to suddenly choose anonymity.
In any event I expect from – no demand of! – Ms. or Mr. Left Bank a thorough and perceptive analysis of tonight’s debate between Nicolas Sarkozy and SťgolŤne Royal.