Reproducing Europe is an anthropological study of citizenship in a Europe where the presence of migrants is increasingly perceived as a burden or threat. This project asks how good citizenship is negotiated in this context, particularly by people with migrant backgrounds. In order to answer this question, we examine encounters between Egyptian parents and professionals in Amsterdam, Paris and Milan.

Reproducing Europe

The Reproducing Europe project is led by Dr. Anouk de Koning, Department of Anthropology and Development Studies, Radboud University. The research is financed by the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant, Project ID 640074) and runs from 2015 to 2020. The Reproducing Europe research team consists of six researchers, who work in three cities: Amsterdam, Paris, and Milan. In each city, one researcher works to cover the perspectives of Egyptian migrant parents, while another charts the perspectives of professionals. By bringing these perspectives together, Reproducing Europe shows how everyday citizenship is negotiated in Europe today.

Parenting and everyday citizenship

There is no legislation regarding the expectations of good citizenship, how to raise a child or the role played by mothers and fathers. These are ideas that you encounter when talking to your neighbours or to other parents. You may also come across them when you take your child to the child health clinic or parenting clinic or when you take your child to school. Such routine encounters may thus convey various ideas about being a good member of society, and a custodian of the country’s new generation. Ideas about the risks to society posed by certain forms of parenting or by particular categories of parents may also emerge in these encounters. Such encounters show how parents, professionals and other people in their surroundings negotiate conflicting notions of what it means to be a good citizen and parent.

Studying parenting encounters

Anouk de Koning and her team explore these types of expectations about parenthood and child rearing by studying ‘parenting encounters’. They draw on the experiences of Egyptian migrants in Paris, Milan and Amsterdam. Which ideas do they encounter about child rearing and parenthood and how do they deal with these expectations? In turn, the team also examines how professionals in the field of parenting deal with their socio-culturally diverse clientele. How do they envision their clientele and its needs and problems, and how do they deal with what they perceive as the main challenges in their work? By combining these perspectives, we learn how Europe’s diverse societies takes shape and we gain a better understanding of the role that various institutions play in processes of integration and segregation. Ultimately, Reproducing Europe hopes to shed light on the complex genesis of a new, diverse Europe.
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