Events Calendar

Behind Immigration Debates

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Social Science Centre (SSC)
Room: 6210
Behind Immigration Debates: Discourse, Policy and Reality of Muslim Integration in Western Societies

Behind Immigration Debates: Discourse, Policy and Reality of Muslim Integration in Western Societies

Wed. Mar. 20, 11:00-12:00
in SSC 6210

Dr. Jeffrey G. Reitz
RF Harney Professor and Director of Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies
Munk School for Global Affairs and Public Policy
University of Toronto

Reitz examines the social, economic and political experiences of immigrant and ethnic populations, and has a number of projects underway in Canada.  His current comparative research examines the experience of Muslim immigration in France, Quebec and Canada, based on extensive quantitative data and new qualitative interviews.

Immigration debates varied greatly across Western societies, expressing distinctive national concerns and putting forward different approaches to immigrant integration.  With international conflicts and the ‘war on terror,’ these debates have emphasized possibly distinctive problems regarding Muslim groups.  Research on actual processes of Muslim minority integration in Western societies shows that while these distinctive national debates and ‘discourses’ represent symbolic inclusion and exclusion, and have important impacts on Muslims, overall they provide a poor representation of the reality of Muslim social and economic integration.  In this context, a comparison of France and Canada is of particular interest for two reasons: (1) they represent almost diametrically opposed integration ‘models’: republican secularism in France, multiculturalism in Canada; and (2) for each there are excellent large-scale survey data to assess Muslim minority integration.  Analysis shows that Muslims experience significant barriers to integration in both settings, mainly based on their human capital profile, and also on racial, cultural or ethnic differences, more than religion.  On some dimensions, religion matters more in France, while race matters more in Canada.  Specific policies such as citizenship laws and headscarf bans matter, but social and political experiences in the community reveal only minor differences across settings; differences in economic well-being reflect differences in political economy more than attitudes regarding immigrant minorities.

Everyone welcome. No RSVP required.

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