June 27, 2022

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Europe is weak, but now, along with the large member states, it is becoming aware of it

De Vote’s criticism was an attempt to silence people’s voice

Marc Elcardis is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Vrije University in Brussels (VUB) and author Reset. On identity, society and democracy. His column appears every two weeks.

Mark Chardoss

Mood disorders are conditions in which emotions are severely disturbed or out of proportion to the situation. An example variable for a number of citizens occurred after the announcement of De Voting’s results.

According to Joel de Solaire To measure the conditions one must meet to be a Flemish right is wrong. Bart Ecot He finds questions in which “us” appears – such as “appropriating our culture and customs” – highly questionable from a scientific point of view. According to him, they testify to a prejudice because “citizens of foreign origin can never belong” to us “anyway.”

It seems to me that this is a misinterpretation of the opinions and intentions of the researchers. On the other hand, they assume that people know what is meant by “we” (when people say “our annelies” they do not mean that annelies are theirs, but their daughter; and our car does not mean that they bore him). On the basis of assumed shared meanings, the conditions that respondents believe must be fulfilled are evaluated for true belonging.

One could disagree with what some people think about this. Shooting the messenger is pretty crazy though. Two journalists from this newspaper are mentioned, but in many of the comments the scientific character of De Vote has been called into question for the reasons they give.

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Of course, not everyone gives the same meaning to all concepts. This to some extent affects the results of the surveys. However, it is unlikely that this will determine De Vote’s decisions. “The government should conduct practical tests to check that there is discrimination in employment.” 68 percent agree with this. There are two difficult concepts in this statement: practical testing and discrimination. I don’t think the percentage would drop below 50 percent, had these concepts been explained in detail.

By the way, I have a suggestion for those who think that we should not rely on shared meanings. In your next article, adequately explain each term used. Then explain the exact meaning of each word you used in this explanation, then again the words you use for that purpose, and so on. Try it, but stop after a few hours or else you won’t finish another article.

In fact, De Stemming’s criticism had little to do with the quality of this research. It was an attempt to silence the voice of the people. If people don’t like hearing what comes out of a population examination, the scientific nature of it is called into question. At the same time, it is remarkable that all the media uncritically quoted 800 unrepresented European citizens whose proposals for the future of Europe, having been affected, correspond to what the organizers wanted to hear.

On the other hand, the mood is full of cool and uncomfortable outcomes. I would just pick one: 37 per cent of respondents are of the opinion that in order to be truly Flemish/Belgian you must have parents and grandparents who come from our country. A similar question was recently asked in the Netherlands: does one have to have Dutch “ancestors” to be truly Dutch? Twelve percent think so. Perhaps the percentage in De Voting is much higher because the third generation immigrant has grandparents who come from our country, or perhaps it is more Flemish people than the Dutch who are of the opinion that one must have Flemish ancestors to be truly Flemish. Enter for further investigation. However, that 37 percent is causing quite a stir. Is she involved?

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People define how we feel on the basis of, among other things, common practices, language, clothing, holidays, weekly rhythm, eating habits… These things create a sense of belonging and familiarity, and immediately distinguish between “special” and “foreign”. Those who share practices belong more than those who do not. People are also happy with a certain, common way of eating, joking, or narrating. This small happiness also explains why many immigrants, while fully assimilated into our society, remain faithful to the practices of their country of origin, thus also distinguishing between us and them.

This 37 percent is remarkably high, but what is even more surprising is, for example, that 76 percent of people of Turkish descent in the Netherlands continue to identify with Turkey in the first place; Only 2 percent sympathize with the Netherlands (Hoffman, Makovsky and Werz, Global, 2020). This is a problem because migration means saying goodbye to the old and embracing the new. But this is understandable. Most people associate it with continuity with previous generations. Why shouldn’t it be only Flemish?

There is self-loathing in De Vote’s critique. This 37 percent is an invitation to think and understand people and to feel the warmth in the happiness that lies in the dedication of traditions small and large. It is also an opportunity to say: this warmth is not a reason to exclude people because they were not born here, nor is it a reason not to make efforts to integrate because one is of Turkish or Moroccan origin. People could have used De Vote – not a perfect sample survey, but better than a lot of research that makes headlines uncritical – in a much warmer and understandable way.

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