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Title: Imag(in)ed diversity in a small nation : constructing ethnic minorities in Dutch cinema
Author: Saeys, Arne
ISNI:       0000 0004 7225 7673
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis investigates how non-Western ethnic minorities have been represented in Dutch cinema mainly during the last two decades. While it has been argued that national cinema contributes to the imagination of a cohesive national identity, migration and the resulting ethnic diversity in contemporary societies urges us to rethink the role of cinema in the construction of national identities. Whereas migration and minorities are often seen as a threat to the unity of a bounded and homogeneous nation, I argue that national cinemas can contribute to the imagination of a culturally diverse society. In debates about national cinemas, small nations like the Netherlands have largely been neglected. My original contribution to the field is the argument that even the cinema of a small nation like the Netherlands can represent cultural diversity. Not only because of its small size but also because it is one of the first European countries that developed multicultural policies, the Netherlands forms an interesting case to study the representation of ethnic minorities, particularly in times of reviving nationalism. A crucial research question is whether this increased attention to cultural diversity debunks or confirms prevailing stereotypes about the ethnic Other(s). Ethnic minorities are not just a demographic given but also a construct of government policies. For this reason, I examine how Dutch media and integration policies have influenced the representation of ethnic minorities in television and cinema. In order to analyse how diversity is imagined in the Netherlands, I focus on the cinematic representation of the largest minority groups as identified by the Dutch ethnic minorities policies: the Moroccans, the Turks, the Surinamese and the Antilleans. Besides policy efforts to represent ethnic minorities in the media, I claim that the representation of ethnic minorities in Dutch cinema is also a market-driven phenomenon. Even if the Dutch film industry engaged in the production of films targeting ethnic minority audiences, I argue that directors with an ethnic minority background can introduce a more personal perspective on ethnic minorities in the Netherlands. Finally, through historical dramas about (post)colonial migrants I will demonstrate how Dutch filmmakers reimagine the colonial past of the nation. Highlighting the increased attention paid to ethnic minorities in Dutch cinema, I conclude that even in a small nation like the Netherlands the cinematic imagination is not limited to a homogeneous and bounded nation but can also produce a multicultural and transnational world cinema.
Supervisor: Mazdon, Lucy ; Bergfelder, Tim Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available