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Allochthons, Colonizers, and Scroungers: Exclusionary Populism in Belgium


This article analyzes the growth of autochthony in Belgium as an example of the increasing popularity of autochthony discourses in Western Europe. Autochthony discourses, which try to reserve the benefits of the welfare state to those who are said to really belong, tend to thrive in prosperous Western European welfare states with a strong Social-Democratic tradition that refuse to accept that they have become immigrant countries. In federalized Belgium, however, autochthony has a much stronger appeal in Flanders, which historically was dominated by Christian-Democratic parties, than in Wallonia, which remains a Social-Democratic bulwark. Analyzing Western European autochthony in terms of welfare chauvinism helps explain the ways in which prosperous Flemings, unlike impoverished Walloons, can afford to buy into the neoliberal rhetoric of choice and thus create themselves as autochthons.

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African Studies Review
  • ISSN: 0002-0206
  • EISSN: 1555-2462
  • URL: /core/journals/african-studies-review
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