Welfare, social citizenship, and the spectre of inequality in Amsterdam
04 december 2019
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR CAOS
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies
This article explores how notions of citizenship are negotiated in encounters betweenparents and youth care professionals in Amsterdam in the context of heated debatesover citizenship and belonging. We draw on ethnographic research on Egyptianmigrant parents' interactions with the welfare state, and on the work of youth careprofessionals. We found that both parents and professionals were invested inuniversal forms of citizenship. Parents wanted to be treated like their fellow citizensregardless of their background, while professionals wanted to care for all children.While parents feared and suspected that their children were subject to unfair treat-ment, professional practices left little space for disagreement or a consideration of racialized aspects of their encounters with clients. We conclude that notions of equal citizenship provide a primary, but uncertain ground for the elaboration of citi-zenship and belonging in parenting encounters, which is haunted by the spectre of difference and inequality.
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