Depoliticising literature, politicising diversity: ethno-racial boundaries in Dutch literary professionals' aesthetic repertoires

Timo Koren, Christine Delhaye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Although still a neglected area, over the years a growing body of sociological research on the position of ethno-racial minorities in Western artistic fields has emerged. With this article we aim to contribute to this research area by focusing on ethno-racial diversity in the Dutch literary field. Through in-depth interviews, we analyse how gatekeepers mobilise specific cultural repertoires and by doing so draw ethno-racial boundaries when discussing acquisition, assessing quality and positioning themselves in the literary field. We argue that literary publishers and other professionals (selectively) employ an ‘old school’ modernist repertoire that especially values the formal aspects of literary products, by which non-white writers and publishers concerned with diversity are often positioned in an identity politics framework. Their work is said to take in a less prestigious ‘political’/’subjective’ position rather than a ‘literary’/‘universal’ one. As such, this paper informs on how gatekeepers’ practices shape the position of non-white authors in the Dutch literary field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-202
Number of pages19
JournalIdentities
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

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