Multiculturalism Failure or Multiculturalism Backlash: Global Discourses, Local Realities?

Fri, 25 Nov 2011 14:30 in Discussion Forums

Where: The Birmingham and Midland Institute, John Lee Lecture Theatre, Margaret Street, Birmingham, B3 3BS
Date: 25 November 2011
Time: 14:30-16:30
Organisers: Dialogue Society Birmingham Branch and University of Warwick, The Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations (CRER)

Panellists

  • Prof Muhammad Anwar (Chair), University of Warwick, The Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations (CRER)
  • Dr Khursheed Wadia, University of Warwick, (CRER)
  • Dr Saniye Dedeoglu, University of Warwick, (CRER)
  • Dr Brigitte Beauzamy, University of Warwick, (CRER)
  • Ömer F. Sener Ph.D. (Cand.), Dialogue Society Leeds Branch

Abstract

The theme of the failure of multiculturalism is today very popular in elite political discourses, where it is associated with a variety of topics, mostly related to security issues, such as the 7/7 events or the extreme right-wing “lone wolf terrorism” of Anders Behring Breivik in Norway. “Multiculturalism failure” may also be blamed for other social problems, such as a declining social cohesion in times of receding Welfare States in Europe. Yet these discourses tend to extend to whole statements about “civilization”, “globalization” and “identity”, for instance when German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared in October 2010 that “we feel tied to Christian values. Those who don’t accept them don’t have a place here”. Abstract commitments to gender equality are also mobilized in order to point at the dangers of multiculturalism, thereby reinforcing a stereotype associating the (mostly) Muslim “Other” with the oppression of women.

On the other hand, many NGOs have pointed to the fact that actual multicultural measures were very limited and in danger of complete disappearance, mostly for budgetary reasons. The theme of the “backlash” is here useful to mobilize in order to make sense of this rolling back of policies.

How does this recession of multiculturalism manifest itself concretely, and with what consequences? The panel will aim at making sense of it by examining the various components of these critiques of multiculturalism, and their political uses in the European Union at a time of crisis, and will offer some reflections on the future of European multiculturalism.

Biography of Muhammad Anwar

Research Professor and Director of CRER's PhD Programme. Formerly Director of CRER (1989-94) and Head of Research at the Commission for Racial Equality (1981-89). He has written extensively on ethnic and race relations and his publications include:Between Two Cultures (1976), The Myth of Return: Pakistanis in Britain (1979), Votes and Policies (1980), Ethnic Minorities and Broadcasting (1983), Race and Politics: Ethnic Minorities and the British Political System (1986), Race and Elections (1994), British Pakistanis (1996) and Between Cultures 1998. He is joint editor of Black and Ethnic Leaderships: The Cultural Dimensions of Political Action (1991) and From Legislation to Integration (1999). His research interests include: Muslims in Britain and Europe, the political participation of ethnic minorities and race relations legislation.

Biography of Khursheed Wadia

Khursheed Wadia is Principal Research Fellow. She joined CRER in September 2003. Prior to that she was Reader in European Politics at the University of Wolverhampton. She has previously taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses on European and French politics. At Warwick, she co-convened the MA in Race and Ethnic Studies and taught MA modules on 'Theories of Race and Ethnic Relations'; 'Ethnicity and the Global Order'; 'Refugees in Europe'. She contributes to both core and option modules on the MA in Islam in Contemporary Societies. She also supervises PhD students and is interested in supervising research students in any area which is linked to her teaching and research.

Biography of Saniye Dedeoglu

Dr Saniye Dedeoglu joined CRER in Summer 2010 as a Marie Curie Fellow. She gained her PhD degree in 2005 from the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) based on her research examining women’s garment work in Istanbul. She has extensively researched Turkish family-owned businesses and female employment during her PhD research. Her research Women Workers in Turkey: Global Industrial Production in Istanbul has been published in 2007 by I.B. Tauris. She then worked as a research fellow in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Southampton for an EU-funded research examining the impact of informal work on social cohesion. She is currently working as an Assistant Professor at the University of Mugla, Turkey. The Marie Curie fellowship will focus on her project entitled: Migrants, Work and Social Inclusion. This research aims to examine the relationship between gender, labour in the ethnic economy and the social inclusion of migrants in the wider society. With special reference to the Turkish community in Britain, this research will focus on the relationship between Turkish women’s work and their position in British society, through focusing on how ethnically based employment affects their capacity to become socially integrated in the dominant society.

Biography of Brigitte Beauzamy

Dr Brigitte Beauzamy holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the EHESS, Paris and was a lecturer in Political Science at the University of Paris 13 until 2009. She is currently a Marie Curie Fellow at the Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations of the University of Warwick. Her research interest deal primarily with the transnational agency of social movements, and she focuses currently on the case study of French Jewish peace movements in the Israel/Palestine conflict and their impact both on the conflict and on the French society. Among her latest publications: “Democratic Discourses and Practices within Transnational Social Movements”, in Eva Erman & Anders Uhlin (eds.), Legitimacy Beyond the State? Re-examining the Democratic Credentials of Transnational Actors, London, Palgrave, 2010. 2011, “A multi-dimensional approach to Right Wing Populism: the French case in a comparative perspective”, in Ruth Wodak, Brigitte Mral et Stig-Arne Nohrstedt (eds.) “Confronting Rightwing Populist Movements in the European Union”, London, Bloomsbury(in press). 2012, Nordic Journal of Migration, “Otherism in discourses, integration in policies ? Comparing French and Denmark educational policies for migrants”, (with Dr. Elise Féron) (in press)

Biography of Ömer F. Sener

Ömer F. Sener is a graduate of Kadir Has University, Istanbul, and holds a BA in American Literature. He studied at Frankfurt University for a semester as part of the ERASMUS student exchange programme. Currently doing his PhD at Leeds Metropolitan University in Cultural Studies and Literary Criticism, Ömer’s research interests include world cultures and languages, representation, cultural exchange and intercultural dialogue and world literature. As an active volunteer he contributes to the work of the Dialogue Society through project management, arranging seminars and organizing events.

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