Volume 30, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1018-2101
  • E-ISSN: 2406-4238



Recently, the Netherlands witnessed an agitated discussion over Black Pete, a blackface character associated with the Saint Nicholas festival. This paper analyzes a televised panel interview discussing a possible court ban of public Nicholas festivities, and demonstrates that participants not only disagree over the racist nature of the blackface character but also over the terms of the debate itself. Drawing on recent sociolinguistic work on stancetaking, it traces how panelists ‘laminate’ the interview’s participation framework by embedding their assessments of Black Pete in contrasting dialogical fields. Their stancetaking evokes opposing trajectories of earlier interactions and conjures up discursive complexes of identity/belonging that entail discrepant judgments over the acceptability of criticism. The extent to which a stance makes explicit the projected field’s phenomenal content, it is argued, reflects the relative (in)visibility of hegemonic we-ness.


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