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Narratives and Politics on Migration and Integration


The challenge

Narratives are an important part of migration policy making as they tell stories, create legitimacy or justify a means to an end. All narratives about migration are essentially political. Some concentrate more on who we are and who we want to be, who belongs and who does not. Other narratives focus on policy choices that both directly and indirectly construct insider and outsider criteria for “integrated” migrants.


Our research focus

Our work explores discourses, policies and practices in Canada and in other major migration countries, with a focus on:

  • Canadian political narratives, public attitudes on migration and asylum, and the rethinking of Canadian citizenship, multiculturalism and national identity from different partisan, civil society and provincial perspectives. The research questions examine: What are dominant and alternative narratives on immigration and asylum in Canada, and how have they changed over time? We investigate Canadian multiculturalism within the country’s settler colonial context to consider if new types of multiculturalism and other ideas and projects of belonging are emerging, and study how newly arrived immigrants and racialized minorities make sense of, and feel implicated in, the Truth and Reconciliation process. (John Carlaw, Cyrus Sundar Singh, Anna Triandafyllidou)
  • The governance of cultural and religious diversity in comparative perspective, looking at European, Middle Eastern and Asian approaches to citizenship, national identity and religion, with a special focus on how these concepts and realities evolve in an increasingly globalized and digitalized world. (Anna Triandafyllidou, Masoud Kianpour)
  • De-centred and pluralized migration narratives that include the views of migrants at destination, but also at origin and in transit, those who are left behind and those forced to return with notable work on migration journeys of West African migrants  and the Sino-African Migration Alternative Data Hub (external link) . (Zeynep Sahin Mencutek, Younes Ahouga, Alka Kumar, Anna TriandafyllidouOreva Olakpe, Richa Shivakoti)
  • Social media are becoming particularly influential in politics in Canada and around the world. They have the power to shape narratives and become powerful vehicles for both pro- and anti-social mobilizations. (Nicholas Fraser, Alice Massari, Masoud Kianpour)


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