Multiculturalism on both sides of the Atlantic

RECODE, the programme on the politics of cultural diversity in Europe and Canada is arranging a panel and workshop for the first time in Finland, starting May 5th.

Multiculturalism on both sides of the Atlantic

The panel and workshop is arranged by the Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism, CEREN at the Swedish School of Social Science at the University of Helsinki.

The programme will kick off with a launch panel on Thursday May 5th where Professor in Political Science, Keith Banting, from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada will be one of the four panellists. The title of his presentation will be "Is the Atlantic Getting Bigger or Smaller? Multiculturalism and Civic Integration in Canada and Europe".

According to Banting, Canadian and European approaches to immigrant integration are moving together in some cases, and moving apart in others.

– Contemporary debates in Europe emphasize the "civic integration" of immigrants, and in many cases this is presented as a rejection of multiculturalism. However the Canadian approach to integration has always combined strong multiculturalism policies with strong civic integration, demonstrating that the two can be compatible.

The key to combining the two approaches is, according to Banting, the model of civic integration which is adopted.

– Some countries in Europe are adopting a more liberal approach, which is fully compatible with multiculturalism and resembles the Canadian model. But other countries, such as the Netherlands, are adopting a more illiberal, coercive approach to civic integration, which is inconsistent with multiculturalism.

The European approach is in flux politically, with each new national election altering the debate.

– It will be fascinating to see whether the liberal or the illiberal version of integration will dominate the continent. I hope that the seminar will launch RECODE as an exciting conversation that will last several years, Banting sums up.

RECODE is a research networking programme financed through the European Science Foundation (ESF). This interdisciplinary, comparative research programme is intended to explore to what extent the processes of transnationalisation, migration, religious mobilisation and cultural differentiation entail a new configuration of social conflict in post-industrial societies.

Please register no later than Tuesday May 3rd 2011 to Margarita Sakilayan-Latvala: or +358-9-191-28488.

Read more about the RECODE programme here » »

Learn more about Professor Keith Banting here » »

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Text: Nadine Aschan

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