Garbi Schmidt, Professor of Cultural Encounters, Roskilde University


The concept of ‘the ghetto’ has been used excessively in the Danish public debate over the migration and integration of so-called non-Western immigrants over the last two decades. This study explores what can be learned from further historicizing this discussion and assesses whether the discussion is actually new, how it is new, and whether it has changed or not. Empirically, the paper builds on simple searches of the word ghetto’ in all Danish newspapers and policy papers from 1850 to 2018.

This study underlines how the ghetto, throughout this long historical period, is looked upon as a social and spatial anomie. Furthermore, this paper underlines how perspectives on ‘the ghetto’ changed in the 1980s, when immigrants became synonymous with Muslims in Danish public debates. In this political debate, the concept of the ghetto is linked to those of ‘the mosque’ and “parallel societies.’ The results are a new way of disciplining and excluding ethnic and religious minorities.

The seminar will be held in English and via zoom;
Meeting ID: 653 6844 3603
Passcode: 512218