About the Conference

This event is by invitation, only


From Nicolas Sarkozy to Donald Trump, many Western leaders have expressed envy of Canada’s market-driven immigration policy, which, in the words of the former French President privileges immigration “chosen” not “endured” immigration. Striving to reboot its economy hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Canadian government further boosts immigration levels, specifically highly skilled economic immigration. This workshop will situate Canada’s ethnically heterogeneous middle-class nation-building in a comparative perspective. Indeed, many UN member states have tabled legislation that emulate the Canadian example of facilitating the influx of ethnoculturally diverse upper middle-class immigrants. These political decisions come at a time of unprecedented opposition by native populations in North America and Europe to what they see as the dismantling of their social and cultural citizenship rights by alleged global elites and unwanted migrants.

This workshop addresses the opportunities, challenges, and shortfalls of ethnically diverse middle-class nation-building against the backdrop of increasing divisions along the lines of class, culture, and status in receiving societies who also happen to be liberal democracies. Panellists provide answers to the following questions: Is there such as thing as middle-class nation-building through immigration? If so, a) how is its current version different from past editions and b) what are potential national/regional variations? Furthermore, what are the normative, political, and empirical prospects and pitfalls of this new logic of remodelling membership in the polity?