B12 - Xenophobia, Displacement, Race, and Class
Date: Jun 13 | Time: 12:00pm to 01:30pm | Location:
Racial Orders in Canadian Political Development: Anika Ganness (University of Toronto), Linda White (University of Toronto), Tari Ajadi (McGill University)
Abstract: In this paper, we respond to King and Smith’s (2005) article to theorize about the development and maintenance of racial institutional orders in Canada. While race is rarely discussed in Canadian politics (cf. Thompson, 2008; Nath, 2011; Bernhardt and Pin, 2018; Ajadi, 2023), we argue that ideas about race are institutionalized in structures impacting the ability of state and non-state actors to exercise governing power. We differ from King and Smith (2005), however, in understanding the development of national institutions through Canada’s distinct colonial history, immigration regime and multicultural policy alongside multilevel governance at the provincial and municipal levels. We opt to interrogate the development of provincial and municipal institutions like child welfare and policing to demonstrate how the contours of racial projects are influenced by concepts of nationhood based on white supremacy. Unlike the American context, Canada’s racial orders exist in what we call asymmetric contestation, with one order external to the state and advocating for its transformation. The first racial order can be traced to Canada’s political development under British colonial rule and is entrenched within formal state institutions. The second racial order exists externally to formal state institutions and includes community organizations, social movements, and other actors who aim to dismantle racial hierarchies of the Inequality racial order to assert an Equality Racial Order. Contestation by actors from the Inequality order drives the state to innovate towards equality in the interest of decreasing dissent, legitimizing state institutions, and maintaining state authority.
The Xenophobic Wave: Ideology and Social Movement Theory in White Power Terrorism: Alon Burstein (University of California, Irvine), Donal Gill (Concordia University)
Abstract: The rise in xenophobic terror attacks across the democratic world since Anders Behring Breivik committed a politically motivated massacre on the island of Utoya in July 2011 constitutes a vital development in the ongoing waves of terrorism (Auger 2020). We make the case in this paper that this new wave is best understood as a loose transnational social movement rooted in the ideology of white power. This conclusion is reached through close analysis of the key texts of perpetrators of these attacks through the methodological paradigm of social movement theory, unpacking core ideological continuities as well as noting relevant points of divergence. Social movement theory offers a rigorous analytical framework that facilitates the plasticity necessary to accommodate the way both actors resembling self-activated lone wolves and members of semi-organized hierarchical and disciplined collectives constitute a wave of terror. Given the social movement methodological paradigm utilized in this research, the ideological core of the movement is of particular interest. Our research locates ideological commonalities across a diffuse cross-section of cases that offer diversity across geographical, temporal and (ostensibly) motivational dimensions. We root the ongoing wave of terror specifically in the white power social movement, furthering the case that this is meaningfully distinct from white supremacy and white nationalism despite obvious points of historical and ideological overlap. The white power movement is a cohesive but not necessarily coherent suite of ideas that most notably fuse around 1) an often pessimistic or ambivalent (rather than triumphalist) disposition toward the fate of the white race 2) belief in the imminence of racial extinction and 3) commitment to a transnational borderless white nation. Ultimately, we argue that an ideologically engaged understanding of this particular social movement is the framework through which the interconnected nature of the contemporary wave of xenophobic terrorism is revealed.
Destroy Them Gradually: Displacement As Atrocity: Andrew Basso (Wilfrid Laurier University)
Abstract: All the most widely acknowledged twentieth-century atrocities incorporated displacement as a key element of the processes of destruction. Perpetrators of mass atrocities have used displacement to transfer victims to killing sites or extermination camps, transfer victims to sites of forced labour and attrition, ethnically homogenize regions by displacing victims out of their homes and lands, and destroy populations. This paper focusses on the last problem: why perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes use forced displacement as a process to destroy populations in whole or in part. This paper outlines the main conceptual and theoretical core of Displacement Atrocity (DA) crimes, situates this destructive practice in international law, and provides forward-looking analyses on the structural possibilities for climate violence based on insights from comparative historical analyses of previous instances of DA crimes. As a method of atrocity perpetration, DA crimes refer to the unique fusion of forced displacement and systematic deprivation of vital daily needs (food, water, clothing, shelter, and medical care) to create potent killing systems. Annihilatory forced displacement has for too long remained a hidden destructive process even though DA crimes have been perpetrated on every major inhabited continent across space and time, posing a ubiquitous problem for prevention and punishment regimes. This paper begins to illuminate these types of violent processes and brings some measure of justice for crimes of the past through discourse about what was done, why, and how to understand pathways to specific forms of political violence.
Descriptive Representation of Class and its Influence on Party Policies: Evidence from Canada and the United Kingdom: Thomas Rafie (Université de Montréal), Ruth Dassonneville (Université de Montréal)
Abstract: Extensive research has demonstrated that descriptive representation matters. Groups often share common interests and elected officials that are part of these groups can wield their power to advance their group's interests. While most representation studies are about women and ethnic minorities, fewer have inquired into the descriptive representation of economic groups. This paper tries to remediate this by asking two questions: how has descriptive representation of class changed, and how are these changes in representation connected to party policy? First, I use former occupation of Canadian MPs to analyze trends in the representation of class since the Second World War. Second, I combine these trends with data from the Comparative Manifesto Project (CMP) to establish a link between the proportion of working-class MPs and party policy. Descriptive results show that in Canada, the working class used to have some amount of representation among MPs, but that this representation has largely faded. Furthermore, regression results show that these changes have affected Canadian parties by making them adopt more right-wing policies. Implications from these results add to the debate on the importance of the representation of economic groups. Additionally, further work will add data from the United Kingdom, which will allow for comparison between systems and discussion of mechanisms that explain similarities or differences in the results.