Institute for Social Research – Marianne Gullestad: Mohammed Atta and I. Identification, discrimination and the formation of sleepers

Institute for Social Research: Publications
Marianne Gullestad
Mohammed Atta and I
Identification, discrimination and the formation of sleepers

(Mohammed Atta and I)

European Journal Of Cultural Studies 6 (4):529–548, 2003.

Summary

This article uses the popular thought figure of the sleeper as a methodological tool to get a new angle on the cultural analysis of majority minority–relations in Europe. I do so on the basis of an autobiographical essay written by Nazneen Khan, who considers the theoretical possibility that she too might have become a terrorist. The analysis focuses on descent and religion, as specific sources of identification and belonging, and on how and where, in present day identification, sleeper identities might be identified. The analysis reveals that the definition of the sleeper in the mass media is not the only one possible. This figure can be reconfigured more dynamically and processually as someone who has experienced repeated rejection within structured relations of power influenced by ideologies focusing on blood and religion. In addition, I argue that populist ideas in Europe can themselves be regarded as (racist) sleepers.

2 thoughts on “Institute for Social Research – Marianne Gullestad: Mohammed Atta and I. Identification, discrimination and the formation of sleepers

  1. Great article…I love Khan’s honesty and Gullestad’s spin on ‘sleeper identities’. It articulates something I have been interested in studying for a while. I have always said that I feel like I have a split personality – it is never simple to be Muslim in a secular society. The subject of identity is one that I am very interested in, mainly because I am trying to figure it out for myself. I find it especially dificult when one comes from a Western background – when your heritage is not traditionally Muslim. You are constantly navigating between two different worlds. I always wonder why it is so difficult. Maybe we make it harder than it actually has to be.
    Note aside: Half of me is Norwegian so the article was especially fun to read.

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