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Abstract

The thrust of this research focuses on the dynamic ways in which conceptions of human rights, culture, and identity change in relation to increased inflows of allochthonous, non-western migration. Focusing on the Netherlands, this paper examines the Dutch public’s varied responses to migration – whether welcoming or antipathic – through two separate frames. First, an analysis of case law that focuses on the Dutch government’s response to personal family law within Islamic religious situations and the “free-speech trials” of Geert Wilders is undertaken to examine situational responses to perceived changes in culture and identity. Second, an exploration of migration within news coverage is attempted with an understanding that news framing – while “uncovering” certain truths, creates fictions through the single-storied fetishization of, in this case, the incompatibility of migrant culture with Dutch culture. Finally, this research concludes that human rights – while not explicitly discussed within public contexts – constitute a process-oriented part of the Netherland’s “culture of rights” while still at risk of being ignored in larger debates surrounding cultural compatibility.

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