Dr. Oliver Schmidtke: Collective identity & European-Canadian approaches to governing ...

Dr. Oliver Schmidtke: Collective identity & European-Canadian approaches to governing …



my name is Oliver Schmidt and I'm a professor in political science in history at the University of Victoria we're also direct the Center for Global Studies and let me reflect a bit on the trajectory of my own professional career in the broader field of European studies when I started studying the European Union and the process of European integration more broadly I've always been struck by an historically unprecedented attempt to establish something that you could call a post national European form of political community that goes beyond the traditional nation-state as it was established by the Westphalian peace treaty and this is something that if you think historically is something that is neutral territory you know we have an emergent sense of a collective identity at the supranational level and with it also socio and political processes of a supranational government structure and a true sense of a political community that goes beyond our traditional borders but also very concretely if you think about one of the key achievements of the European Union the freedom to move from one country to the other there's the freedom to take up residence and work in other countries it instills the sense of a shared destiny across national borders that clearly today is somewhat challenged but it is still at the core of what the European Union proposes to do and some of the promises also in terms of reinventing our imagined community this however also means that we need to have an approach to the to managing diversity immigration cross border mobility and diversity and here for me my Canadian experience comes in Canada has a long-standing tradition of welcoming huge numbers of immigrants but also managing the internal diversity with its policy of multiculturalism Europe is on the verge of addressing these kind of use of and learning from the Canadian context how do we do this how do we deal with a sense of community for which diversity ethnic cultural religious plurality is a defining mark and we see at the moment in Europe there's lots of resistance to this but I think we can learn from the Canadian experience and see what has worked you know since Canada introduced its multicultural policy and is there something that could be used for the European context but there's also another learning process you know to look at Europe at the moment what is happening in terms of the reefs nationalization of the discourse of the reaper's of nativist ideologies that push back against exactly this notion that Europe is going towards a transnational highly diverse sense of community and this is something here in the Canadian context that we can see some of the elements of the populist nationalist right that see immigration as a main threat to society have also arrived in North America very prominently in the US but also here in Canada so in a way my comparative perspective allows me to look into the politics of immigration and see how certain suggestions of dealing with diversity with refugees with border management are being addressed here in Canada and in the U and what we can learn and where there is the potential for comparing best practices and learning about the long term trajectory of dealing with this allegedly them you know clearly difficult political issue in a comparative perspective you

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