chapter  10
12 Pages

Familiar Strangers

Two ‘Turkish’ Employees in a Danish SME
WithHeidrun Knorr

In this chapter, I show how ethnic difference and national culture are ‘naturalized’ through organizational practices driven by powerful actors, how the process of ‘naturalization’ constructs ethnic identities and their expected behaviours as ‘fixed’ and ‘natural’, and how this construction renders ethnic-minority employees ‘familiar strangers’. I explain how the ‘naturalization’ of two ethnic-minority Turks employed by a Danish company leads to the construction of various intersecting differences between ethnic-minority Turks and ethnic-majority Danes. In this case, these seemingly ‘fixed’ and ‘stable’ differences become obstacles for promotions and lead to the withdrawal of the two employees of Turkish descent.