ARC Seminar: Jeffrey Reitz: Behind Immigration Debates: Discourse, Policy and Reality of Muslim Integration in France and Canada
This presentation compares the social experiences of Muslim minorities in three contexts – France, Québec, and English Canada – each reflecting a different approach to immigrant integration. France’s republican model emphasizes the exclusion of religion from the public sphere; Canada’s multicultural model advocates official recognition of minority cultures; Québec shares Canada’s tradition of large-scale permanent immigration but embodies a unique intercultural discourse of integration, in some ways resembling France. We find that public attitudes reflect these differences only to a limited extent. To compare the social experiences of Muslim and non-Muslim minorities in these three settings I use the French “Trajectories and Origins” survey (2009) and the Canadian “Ethnic Diversity Survey” (2002) data on reports of discrimination, friendship networks, social trust, voluntarism and national identity. We find the Muslim/non-Muslim gap in social inclusion is significant in all three settings and results from ethnic, cultural or racial differences, more than religion. In assessing immigrants’ social inclusion, we suggest consideration be given to: (i) the reality of “national models” in the community, (ii) a tendency for minorities to locate in more accepting segments of mainstream society, and (iii) the limited impact of policies based on national models.
Jeffrey G. Reitz (Ph.D., FRSC) is the R.F. Harney Professor and Director of the Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies Program at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, and Professor and former Chair in the University’s Department of Sociology. He has published extensively on immigration and inter-group relations in Canada from comparative perspectives, and has frequently contributed to discussions of policies on immigration, multiculturalism and immigrant employment in Canada. He is co-author of Multiculturalism and Social Cohesion: Potentials and Challenges of Diversity (2009); recent articles have appeared in the International Migration Review, Ethnic and Racial Studies, the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and Social Science Research. During 2012-2014 he was Marie Curie International Fellow at l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris, and is a Research Fellow with the Institute for Research on Public Policy in Montreal.