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In the face of greater migration and refugee flows, we have seen a recent rise in populist movements and governments in Europe. While those movements and governments have ample visibility and significant impact on migration and refugee policy-making in the continent, they have also been challenged by local initiatives in communities across Europe. Our research highlights the crucial role that civil society and grassroots initiatives play in combatting racism and xenophobia, an often-overlooked reality in current public debates. The key questions we ask are:

  • Why, how and under what conditions some communities are more open to cultural difference than others?
  • What types of projects facilitate openness to newcomers?
  • How do citizens and non-citizens participate in these projects in ways that transform understandings of citizenship and belonging?

Through various projects such as kitchen hubs, arts projects, and sharing living spaces, we illustrate how newcomers and locals come together and create new, shared living experiences. This living together – what we call transgressive cosmopolitanism – is rooted in the everyday lives of uprooted and marginalized peoples such as migrants and refugees. Rather than a privileged way of being in the world, we argue that cosmopolitanism is a way of being that happens at grassroots levels and that is practiced within many neighborhoods and communities.

This is a five-year project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRC Insight Grant 435-2015-0140, 2015-2020) and conducted by Professor Kim Rygiel at Wilfrid Laurier University and Feyzi Baban, at Trent University in Canada.

Research Assistants

Diana Thomaz, Wilfrid Laurier University

Since 2015, Diana assists with research, reports, translation and maintaining the website. She is currently working on her PhD in Global Governance through Laurier and the Balsillie School of International Affairs on the topic, "Reappropriations of citizenship: migrants’ (and citizens’) struggles for housing in São Paulo."

Derya Tarhan, University of Toronto

Since 2015, Derya assists with research, reports, translation and maintaining the website. He is currently enrolled in the Adult Education and Community Development program as well as the Collaborative program in Environmental Studies with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

Alumni

James Howard, Wilfrid Laurier University (2017)

James was a research assistant, assisting with online surveys during spring 2017. He completed the Department of Political Science's Master of Applied Politics program in 2017.

Rachel Weiss, Wilfrid Laurier University (2017)

Rachel was a research assistant, assisting with online surveys during winter 2017. She completed the Department of Political Science's Master of Applied Politics program in 2017.

Anisah Madden, Trent University (2017)

Anisah was a research assistant, assisting with research from 2015 to 2017. She graduated with a BA from Trent University in 2017.

Rhys Machold, Wilfrid Laurier University (2015)

Rhys was a research assistant, assisting with research during winter 2016. He completed his PhD in Global Governance, Balsillie School of International Affairs on the topic of, "'Best Practice': Toward an Antipolitical Urban Security Governance" (2010-2015).

New Research Report Released

A new report on our research output, Living Together: Fostering Cultural Pluralism Through the Arts is just released.


Learn More

Contact Us:

Kim Rygiel, Associate Professor

E: krygiel@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x2032

Website: fosteringpluralism.com

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