Call for papers
Migrants, Minorities, Exclusion: Challenges to National Identities Britain, Ireland & the Commonwealth
International Conference, 21-22 October 2011, Université Charles-de-Gaulle – Lille 3 Laboratoire CECILLE EA 4074 http://cecille.recherche.univ-lille3.fr
As from the late 1940s, and even more from the 1980s, the United Kingdom has become increasingly multi-ethnic. Along with this demographic change, debates have been going on about the integration of immigrants and the means to fight racial discrimination. Policies to this effect were implemented as from the 1960s and were accompanied by restrictive measures aimed at limiting immigration from outside Europe. Multiculturalism, a concept initially developed in Canada and then exported to Australia and New-Zealand, became the official policy of New Labour in the late 1990s. However, this strategy of recognition and promotion of diversity has been called into question since the 2005 London bombings.
These evolutions contributed to the questioning of the definition of British identity. Since the late 1970s, historians, sociologists as well as politicians have been pondering the evolution of Britishness. This conference will provide an opportunity to discuss the multicultural project and its limits, both in Britain and in all the countries under consideration, especially as regards Muslim communities. Indeed, since the late 1980s, debates about integration, multiculturalism and national identity have largely focused on them.
We shall secondly examine the specificity of the situation of economic migrants and political refugees in each nation of Britain, in Ireland and in the Commonwealth. We shall try to define national or regional distinctive features concerning immigration laws, but also as regards the integration of migrants. Do national policies interact? To what extent is the status of ethnic minorities dependent on current debates over the redefinition of national identities? Conversely, are reflections on these identities affected by immigration discourse? Should the cosmopolitan nature of identities be taken for granted in the wake of globalization and should we regard the concept of ‘transnational’ or ‘post-national’ identity as valid? Patterns of ethnic minority mobilisation and their representation in local and national institutions should also be compared. Likewise, we should take stock of current reflections on access to citizenship, especially regarding naturalisation requirements.
This conference could also aim at a comparison of perceptions of immigration and integration issues in Britain, in Canada, in Australia, in New-Zealand and Ireland. Are stronger border controls unanimously supported within the United Kingdom? Are Commonwealth member states as distrustful of immigrants? What about Ireland? What are the effects of community cohesion policies promoted under Gordon Brown? Have similar schemes been supported by governments in other countries? Are we in a position to measure the impact of migrants on education systems? What sort of schemes have various countries implemented in order to give minorities easier access to job markets? What part did voluntary and community organisations play in this integration process?
Besides its political and social aspects, the conference theme can also be approached from a cultural history perspective. On the one hand, we shall examine the representation of immigration in the media (the press, cinema, television, the Internet). How are migrants and ethnic minorities portrayed? To what extent do these pictures influence public opinion? On the other hand, processes of institutionalisation of the memory of immigrant communities through commemorations and museums could be compared, including the use of oral history sources.
Proposals for papers in English or in French (one A4 maximum) and a short biography should be emailed by 30 November 2010 to Gilbert Millat email@example.com or Philippe Vervaecke firstname.lastname@example.org. We plan to publish a selection of papers.
Scientific board: Edwige Camp (Valenciennes), Peter Catterall (Queen Mary, London), Eric Chevaucherie (Université du Québec), Guyonne Leduc (Lille 3), Romain Garbaye (Paris 3), James Loughlin (University of Ulster, Londonderry), Catherine Maignant (Lille 3), Gilbert Millat (Lille 3), Tariq Modood (Bristol), Michael Rosie (University of Edinburgh), Susan Finding (Poitiers), Philippe Vervaecke (Lille 3).
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