Considerable research to date has focused on accommodating newcomers through official citizenship policies that promote integration through multiculturalism or assimilation. It has also focused on policies that securitize citizenship through restrictive border controls and security measures. Much less research has investigated creative, citizen-led initiatives of civil society organizations within communities. These initiatives seek to circumvent these citizenship policies (multicultural assimilationist or restrictive in nature) in favour of opening communities to newcomers and fostering cultural pluralism in ways that transform understanding about who is a citizen and who belongs to the community. This project investigates why, how, and under what conditions some communities are more open to cultural difference than others; what types of projects facilitate openness to newcomers and how do citizens and non-citizens participate in these projects in ways that transform understandings of citizenship and belonging. Rather than focusing on barriers to integration, the project will contribute to policy relevant scholarship that examines successful community initiatives across several European countries that foster living with cultural plurality and investigates why some communities, rather than acting in reactionary ways, open their doors to newcomers instead.
This is a SSHRC – funded project conducted by IMRC-affiliated faculty member, Dr. Kim Rygiel at Wilfrid Laurier University and Dr. Feyzi Baban, at Trent University.