Changing from Visibility to Invisibility—An Intersectional Perspective on Mixedness in Switzerland and Morocco

Gwendolyn Gillieron dans Genealogy 2022, 6(2), 30.

In the context of intermarriage, mixedness can take different forms. Most often, it refers to a mix of class, religion, nationality, ethnicity or ‘race’ in a couple. In this article, I go beyond a separate analysis of categories, analyzing the interrelation of these factors. The article discusses how and under which circumstances mixed children become visible in Switzerland and Morocco using a comparative and intersectional approach to mixedness. Based on 23 biographical narrative interviews, I analyze three situations of stigmatization: racialization, language practices and othering due to religious affiliation. Stigmatization processes due to mixedness, it is argued, are a relational phenomenon depending not only on markers such as ‘race’, ethnicity and religion but also on their interplay with gender, class, language and biographical experiences. The results suggest that mixed individuals have found creative ways to navigate their visibility: they normalize their binational origin, look for alternative spaces of belonging, emphasize their ‘Swiss-ness’ or ‘Moroccan-ness’, use languages to influence their social positioning or acquire knowledge about their binational origin in order to confront stigmatizations. The study reveals further that processes of othering due to mixedness are not only an issue in ‘Western’ societies that look back on a long history of immigration and have pronounced migration discourses. Even in Morocco, a country where immigration has so far been a marginal phenomenon, the importance of social hierarchies for the positioning of people of binational origin is evident. Lire l'article