Immigration, Minorities and Multiculturalism in Democracies
Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, Montréal
Co-Chairs: Marie-Joëlle Zahar, Départment de science politique, Université de Montréal Oded Haklai, Department of Political Studies, Queen’s University
Concern with issues of ethnic pluralism has come to the forefront of public debate in liberal democracies and newly democratizing states. Wide-ranging population movements around the globe, endorsement of cosmopolitanism, and the increasing importance of norms fuzzily labeled “civil rights”, have been widely regarded as positive trends. At the same time, there is little doubt that in many cases, ethnic heterogeneity has been characterized by mistrust, suspicion, alienation, and conflict. As many societies are undergoing demographic transformations, there is intense debate about how communal relations are best managed. At the forefront are issues such as the place of religious arbitration, dress codes in public schools, and the balance between freedom of speech, and the sensibilities of religious minorities, as demonstrated in the “cartoon affair” in Europe in the winter of 2006. Some believe that illiberal norms are being injected into liberal societies and are contributing to the erosion of social cohesion. Others fear that multicultural ideals are being taken over by increasing intolerance toward immigrant and indigenous ethnic communities. Yet others still feel that multiculturalism and social cohesion are not inconsistent policy objectives. The aim of the conference is to explore empirical, normative, and policy-relevant questions relating to inter-group relations in multiethnic societies, both Western and non-Western, and from diverse disciplinary perspectives.
I. Origins / history of ethno-cultural communities, immigrant and indigenous
No exploration of the phenomenon is complete without a story of origins. This theme explores the history of minorities and the impact such history has had on perceptions of and self-perceptions amongst ethnocultural communities. Why do people leave their ancestral homes? How are their identities reshaped in the lands of immigration?
• Internal and external politics of indigenous and immigrant ethnic communities
• Conditions (causes) of political mobilization of minorities or ethnic groups
• Internal and external socio-cultural factors in the creation of group identities
• Political economy of class and ethnicity among indigenous and immigrant groups
• Variations in the immigrant experience – immigration by choice, refugees, internal migrations, forced repatriation, etc.
• Ethnic networks as a local, national and transnational economic resources
II. The reciprocal impact of political and economic institutions on ethno-cultural communities
Polities are regulated by a set of laws, by political and economic institutions which provide constraints and opportunities to all societal groups. How do different laws and institutional settings accommodate or alienate ethnocultural communities? Are some laws and institutions better suited to the peaceful resolution of tensions than others?
• National and local state institutions and ethno-cultural communities
• Impact of community and civil society institutions, including educational and religious institutions, print and electronic media, cultural groups
• Assimilation, accommodation, recognition, and marginalization of the citizenship of indigenous and immigrant communities
• Immigrants, minorities and the urban experience: multi-cultural cities
III. International and transnational dimensions of population movements
No state is an island. In an increasingly globalized world, the international is increasingly intertwined with the transnational. Population movements are no exception. This theme explores the international and transnational institutions, formal and informal, that affect population movements and resettlement in new locales. Which international and transnational factors exacerbate tensions between ethnocultural communities and the polities where they have settled? Which contribute to peaceful conflict-regulation, and how?
• Economic and security implications of transnational population movements
• International norms and the empowerment or marginalization of ethno-cultural groups and identities
• Diasporas and transnational political, economic and cultural linkages
• Transnational immigration and the globalization of criminal underworlds, e.g. drugs and sexual trafficking
IV. Multi-culturalism in theory and practice in liberal democracies
Normative principles of justice and equality underpin the smooth functioning of multiethnic polities. What are these principles? How do they work to achieve ideals of peace and social harmony? Who are the agents of their dissemination in society?
• Individual rights vs. group rights of ethno-cultural communities, indigenous and immigrant
• Secular modernity, religion and the mobilization or accommodation of ethno-cultural communities
• Gender, sexuality and ethnicity in multi-cultural liberal democracies
• Revaluating the politics of multi-culturalism and other forms of ‘difference’ in liberal democracies
• European backlash against multiculturalism and a debate about its reasons: the rise of xenophobic populist right wing parties, European Islamophobia, irregular immigration, a crisis of European welfare state regimes and a reassertion of the national bases for social solidarity
The EDG committee welcomes the submission of paper and panel proposals related to the conference theme.
For paper proposals, please submit a 300-word (max.) abstract and a 75-word (max.) vitae paragraph.
For panel proposals, an abstract of the overall Panel Topic should be provided. Please submit a 200-word (max.) panel description summarizing the panel's rationale, a 300-word (max.) abstract for each paper, and a 75-word (max.) vitae paragraph for each speaker. Panels will be accepted or rejected as a whole. Proposals for linked panels are welcome.
Panels will be 90 – 120 minutes in length and may consist of either 3 to 4 papers or 2 to 3 papers and a respondent. Presentations should be no longer than twenty minutes and panel chairs are responsible for ensuring there is adequate time for discussion. Panels may be chaired by one of the presenters, but no individual may present more than one paper or organize more than one panel. Overhead projectors will be provided. If applicable, please indicate alternate form(s) of audio-visual equipment required (supplied at the presenters’ expense).
Please submit abstracts to email@example.com by March 31st, 2007. Please clearly label which of the four thematic areas your proposal falls under. Acknowledgment of receipt of the abstract will be sent by email as soon as possible after receipt. You will receive notification of acceptance no later than June 15th, 2007
For further information about the conference including registration and accommodation, please visit the EDG website at www.edg-gde.ca
Project Manager, SSHRC Ethnicity and Democratic Governance / GTRC Gouvernance démocratique et ethnicité
Phone: (613) 533-6000 x74523 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the website at http://www.edg-gde.ca/cfp.html
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