In the context of post 9/11, Muslim migrant men in the Europe come under scrutiny where their masculinity is perceived as problematic. They are seen as patriarchal, traditional and conservative within their family, and as potential political/terrorist threat for the society. With this context in mind, this research wishes to understand how Bangladeshi migrant men in The Hague, Netherlands, experience process of marginalisation resulting from the post 9/11 perceptions. I have argued that the process of marginalisation for Bangladeshi migrant men in The Hague is embedded in the intersection of gender, race, colour, class, religion and ethnicity. However, these intersections are uneven, complex and dynamic. Power relations and identities that give them advantage is one context, make them vulnerable in another context. Their darker skin colour and South Asian facial features, for example, save them from direct Islamophobia. Their low-class position protects them from direct competition with white Dutch men. However, once their religious affiliations are disclosed, they are shunned by Dutch neighbours, and their socio-economic position brings them in competition with other migrants. I have focused on three social spheres – the workplace, the family and the wider Dutch society – to understand positionality of Bangladeshi migrant men in relation to other migrant communities as well as white Dutch men. The results of my research show an ambiguous and complex scenario where Bangladeshi migrant men take part in some racist discourses of Dutch society while rejecting others, create negative stereotypes of other migrant communities while claiming some similarities with them, question family dedication of other Muslim communities while going to their mosque. Furthermore, Bangladeshi migrant men negotiate their marginalised masculinity by stressing their breadwinner role, good manners and family dedication, and judge themselves better family men than other migrant and white Dutch men. At the same time, Bangladeshi migrant men live in a ‘Bangladesh bubble’ where their life is organised around links and relationships with people from Bangladesh, and with other Bangladeshi migrants. While this means a (self)isolation from Dutch society, this bubble allows them to ignore hegemonic notions and practices of white Dutch masculinity in Netherlands, and creates their own ideals of masculinity. Ultimately, they stood out as ideal men, better than white Dutch and other migrants. This showed us that the process of marginalisation is context specific. Men from different position face and negotiate marginalisation differently.

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International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)
ISS Working Papers - General Series
ISS Working Paper Series / General Series
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Khalad, M. I. (2017). Ambiguous positionalities: Bangladeshi migrant men in The Hague (No. 625). ISS Working Paper Series / General Series (Vol. 625, pp. 1–52). Retrieved from