We have seen two opposing trends across Europe: On the one hand, civil society has demonstrated a great degree of compassion with the plight of refugees, organizing local welcome committees and, in the Canadian case, even putting pressure on the government to accept more refugees from Syria as a fundamental humanitarian commitment of the country. On the other hand, the populist Right has exploited the influx of so many refugees for their political mobilization.
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About the authors:
Jennifer Elrick is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, McGill University. Her research activities focus on the following issues: immigration policy and the boundaries of national belonging; the place of culture in political institutions and policy making; state categorization practices (e.g. ethnic classifications in official statistics and legal categories created by immigration policies) and their role in producing social inequality; and the reciprocal relationship between ethnic identities and deliberation (understood as a particular form of political communication emphasizing inclusion and reason giving).
Oliver Schmidtke is Director of the Centre for Global Studies (CFGS) and Jean Monnet Chair in European Politics and History at the University of Victoria. Dr. Schmidtke, a former director of European Studies and president of the European Community Studies Association in Canada (ECSA-C), holds appointments in the departments of Political Science and History. Currently his research focuses on issues of democracy, populism, memory politics, the labour market inclusion of highly skilled immigrants as well as processes of political advocacy of migrant and minority groups.
Nicole Shea is the Director of the Council for European Studies and Executive Editor of EuropeNow.