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Migrants@Work Research Group

Visual and linguistic symbolism of subordination: Understanding how symbolic violence works to naturalise and legitimate subordination of ethnic minority Turks in the labour market in Germany

Dr Joana Vassllopoulou, Brunel Business School; Brunel University, London

21st Nov 2017  12:00 pm - 12:00 pm Rm 4150, Abercrombie Building (H70)

This paper demonstrates how Bourdieu’s concept of ‘symbolic violence’: namely linguistic and visual symbolic violence, works to normalise and legitimate labour market marginalisation through a shared habitus of subordination. This is brought to light by examining the social and workplace context of ethnic minority Turks in Germany. The paper identifies how the subordination of Turkish minority workers and the construction and reproduction of their ethnic disadvantage through acts of symbolic violence, provides the majority group with the means to exclude men and women minorities from fully participating in the labour market. Drawing on interviews and observations within the context of a company case study, our empirical investigation of Turkish minority workers in Germany operationalises and expands the Bourdieuian conceptual trinity of habitus, different forms of capital and symbolic violence through the lens of ethnicity.