This article addresses to what extent literary critics in the United States, the Netherlands and Germany have drawn ethnic boundaries in their reviews of ethnic minority writers between 1983 and 2009 and to what extent these boundaries have changed in the course of ethnic minority writers’ careers and across time. By analysing newspaper reviews, we find that American reviewers less often mention the ethnic background of Mexican American authors than their Dutch and German colleagues refer to the background of Moroccan and Turkish minority writers. While these relatively strong ethnic boundaries become weaker over time in the Netherlands (boundary shifting), Turkish German authors encounter particularly strong boundaries in subsequent book publications (ethnicization). In the US the reverse is true: ethnic boundaries weaken after the debut has been reviewed (boundary crossing). The findings are likely to be the result of national differences in the chronic accessibility of ethnic classifications (US and Germany) and specific field dynamics (Netherlands).

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ERMeCC - Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture
Cultural Sociology
Department of Media and Communication

Berkers, P.P.L, Janssen, M.S.S.E, & Verboord, M.N.M. (2014). Assimilation into the literary mainstream? The classification of ethnic minority authors in newspaper reviews in the United States, the Netherlands and Germany. Cultural Sociology, 8(1), 25–44. doi:10.1177/1749975513480960