ISA World Congress of Sociology, Yokohama, Japan, July 2014

Research Committee on
Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations, RC05

RC05 main page

Program Theme: Transformations in an Age of Austerity: Challenging Racism, Ethnocentrism and Xenophobia


Program Coordinator

Number of allocated sessions including Business Meeting: 22.


For sessions program and schedule see

On-line congress program


Articulations of Ethnicity, Race and Nationhood

Session Organizer
Sirma BILGE, Montreal University, Canada,

This session welcomes theoretically informed and empirically grounded papers on an array of issues pertaining to the articulations of ethnic and racialised difference across different national and supranational spaces and combining ideally in their analyses representational/discursive and structural/institutional elements.


Challenges of Ethnicity and Nationalism in the Asia Pacific Region

Session Organizer
Christine INGLIS, University of Sydney, Australia,

Historically the societies of the Asia Pacific region have been characterized by extreme diversity in their patterns of ethnic relations. Decolonization, economic change and international migration have been associated with major changes in these patterns which continue in flux as the societies in the region confront new challenges associated with political conflict and responses to the global economic crisis.

Papers in this session will examine the emerging patterns of inter-ethnic relations and ask whether or not they suggest the need for a major reformulation of our understandings of global approaches to diversity.


Challenges of Research on Belonging and Identity: Critical Engagements with Theory and Methods

Session Organizers
Helma LUTZ, Frankfurt University, Germany,
Karim MURJI, Open University, United Kingdom,

This session aims to build on the well-received panels on belonging at the Social Forum in 2012.

We invite papers that engage critically with the methodological and theoretical challenges of undertaking research on belonging and identity, including but not limited to questions such as the positionality of the researcher, and the challenges of avoiding “othering” and non-orientalist perspectives, as well as of representing the complexity of intersectional identities.


Comparative Xenophobia: State Responses in Different Countries

Session Organizers
Kogila MOODLEY, University of British Columbia, Canada,
Heribert ADAM, Simon Fraser University, Canada,

Xenophobia, racism and nationalism, like misogyny or homophobia, are part of a common syndrome, but are not identical. Directed against different collectivities, with different rationalizations, state responses also vary widely. They range from denial and repatriation (South Africa), exclusion (Europe), opportunistic tolerance (US) to a relative welcoming of immigrants (Canada). Under which social conditions does xenophobia thrive? Are these responses solely determined by economic exigencies? Should mainstream political parties accommodate the problematic sentiment or attempt to marginalize it in fringe right-wing parties? Can Western welfare states sustain their benefits with porous borders?

We invite papers that compare xenophobia in at least two societies empirically as well as theoretically.


Contemporary Right-Wing Racist Populism

Session Organizers
Scott POYNTING, University of Auckland, New Zealand,
Ulrike M. VIETEN, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom,

Right-wing populist movements are burgeoning globally, exacerbated by the insecurities of the global financial crisis and the associated ideological scapegoating. Neo-conservativism has for several decades fostered attacks on multiculturalism and appealed to the fantasy of assimilation and reinforcement of national culture. To what extent has this been associated with the current rise of popular xenophobia and racist movements? From the 1990s there has been virulent racism against asylum seekers in many countries, with populist campaigning for securing of borders and expulsion of so-called “illegals.” Since 9/11, the “War on Terror” and associated Islamophobia have prompted racist reactions involving international connections, often through the Internet. The global economic crisis and the social and political instability in the Euro-zone/EU engender the rise of neo-fascist and populist movements such as “Golden Dawn” in Greece. Meanwhile, in Western Europe for instance, coalition agreements move to normalise extreme right-wing, parochial and anti-foreigner populism and attendant policies.

There are interesting international connections in such movements, facilitated by the Internet sharing of ideologies but with perhaps indicative organisational links. A Florida pastor, infamous for publicly burning the Quran, has exchanged visits with the anti-Muslim and anti-immigration English Defence League, who for their part elicited written admiration from racist mass murderer Anders Breivik in Norway. The Netherlands parliamentarian Geert Wilders had taken his Islamophobic and anti-foreigner roadshow to the U.K. and to Australia at the invitation of populist right-wing Islamophobes. What is the significance of such connections?

This session aims to bring together case studies of movements of new right-wing racist populism, and particularly encourages international comparative studies.


Cosmopolitanism versus Post-Nationalism

Session Organizer
Farida FOZDAR, The University of Western Australia, Australia,

Cosmopolitanism has become something of dirty word, due to criticisms in some quarters that it is too broad and unspecific, too value laden, and limited to those in elite privileged positions.

This session asks whether it is time for a new, less invested word – would post-nationalism do the trick? Papers are invited that address the question of how cosmopolitanism and post-nationalism differ; whether, and in what contexts, nations still matter; whether nationalism and post-national (or cosmopolitan) sensibilities can and do co-exist; how post-nationalism at the structural level of transnational companies and political institutions is related to vernacular, everyday instances of cosmopolitanism; whether post-nationalism or cosmopolitanism is the more useful concept for consideration of human rights and issues of social justice; and how apparently growing xenophobia and the multiculturalism backlash are related to post-nationalism and cosmopolitanism. What might post-nationalism look like at a structural and individual level, and how might it differ from cosmopolitanism?


Critical Public Engagements with Race and Racism

Session Organizer
Karim MURJI, Open University, United Kingdom,

Questions about the purpose and impact of sociological and race related scholarship are of long standing. But what now are the issues and challenges of critical race research in different contexts and changing academic environments? In what ways have and can sociologists of race contest racism in academia but also beyond the university?

This session invites proposals of work that engage with these questions. In particular, examples and studies of the use of social media and other forms of public engagement, as well as of working with social movements, are sought with the aim of illustrating and analysing scholarly activism within and beyond the academy.


Facing an Unequal World: Challenges for Muslim Minorities

Session Organizer
Nahid KABIR, University of South Australia, Australia,

Many countries, both developed and developing, take pride in their democratic and secular ethos. But the democratic ethos is problematic when Muslim minorities are racially, ethnically and religiously marked as the “other.” Structural inequality can be revealed through political rhetoric, media representation, unequal labour market status, racial profiling, and anti-Muslim and Islamophobic acts.

Abstracts are welcome on three themes:


Japanese Identification: in Japan, in Diasporas, and Transnationally

Session Organizer
Georgina TSOLIDIS, University of Ballarat, Australia,

This session concerns Japanese identity issues and how these are framed in Japan, in diaspora(s) and/or transnationally. Diasporic identification is understood here in the sense developed by Hall: a process that reflects an interdependency between at least two cultural formations and, in so doing, both invokes an historical past and evokes new representations of what it is possible to become. Diasporic experience may vary depending on the location of the diaspora. Reflections on how transnationality may affect Japanese identity are also invited.

Family, particularly the role of women, is understood as pivotal in diasporic identification. The micro dynamics of the everyday offer an evocative “bottom up” means of understanding the tensions implicit in news ways of becoming. Through this framework it is possible to shed light on lived experiences of racism, dislocation and alienation on the one hand, and, on the other, to consider how the complex power relations within everyday life can mediate a sense of resistance and hope. Papers may also examine the utility of such a framework (or of alternatives) in understanding ways of belonging within Japanese society.

The session will bring together papers that offer insights into the lived experience of being Japanese – in Japan or in diaspora(s). Framed in relation to everyday life, these will explore the above questions in terms of family, youth, schooling and/or old age.


Local, National, and International Policies, and the Promotion of Ethnic and Racial Inclusion: Problematizing Systemic and Persistent Social and Economic Inequalities

Session Organizers
Lori WILKINSON, University of Manitoba, Canada,
Evangelia TASTSOGLOU, Saint Mary`s University, Canada,

Racial, ethnic, religious, and citizenship-based forms of discrimination are all products of social organization throughout the world. Various United Nations Conventions concerning inequality and discrimination are intended to address the inequalities perpetuated by the organization of our societies. Moreover, many local jurisdictions, states and supra-national entities have introduced their own policies and legislation in an attempt to balance the opportunities of those marginalized by virtue of their membership in one or more of these collectivities. An active human rights discourse has questioned, resisted and delegitimized existing hierarchies of belonging and consequent marginalization, but with limited success. Citizens continue to be marginalized by virtue of their membership in a particular social group. Economic, social and political inequalities are inevitable and in more dire conditions, social unrest and civil war result. Various explanations have been offered, including the proliferation of neoliberal agendas and global capitalism.

There are, however, grounds for hope, emerging examples of “best practices” that can be shared and analysed to allow us to dismantle political systems that perpetuate these inequalities. How can sociology help us to create more inclusive spaces for belonging? What has sociology contributed to our understanding and implementation of social justice? This session invites papers which examine social inequalities based on race, ethnicity, religion, citizenship, or other identification with a particular group, or a combination of these in a national context. Why are social, economic and political inequalities increasing despite the growing and vocal international human rights discourse? Why are cultural, religious, racial, national and ethnic labels increasingly relevant in the 21st century? Why do human rights discourses have little impact on international discourse on inequality? What practices can help societies address the inconsistencies between formal discourses on equality and inclusion and inequalities and marginalization on the ground? What practices can help societies recognize and resolve inequalities related to race, ethnicity, citizenship, belonging and nationality?

Papers may be primarily theoretical, individual case studies, or comparative (e.g. cross national) comparisons.


Migration, Racialization, and Autochthonous Far-Right Movements

Session Organizers
Umut EREL, Open University, United Kingdom,
Nira YUVAL-DAVIS, University of East London, United Kingdom,

This session addresses the relationship between migration and racialization and how autochthonous far-right movements are increasingly shaping public debate about this. Increasing mobility, alongside more and more strenuous border controls, the stratification of mobility, residence and social rights of migrants are factors leading to the racialization of the figure of the “migrant” and those who are constructed as “not belonging”. Those migrants who are seen to especially embody undesirable forms of mobility or as threatening those “who belong”: refugees, undocumented migrants and “terrorists” are especially targeted. Economic and legal factors as well as media and cultural representations contribute to the specific forms of racialized subordination of these “undesirable migrants”. Yet, the discourse on uncontrolled, undesirable migration also often revives racist imaginations and mobilizes these against the settled ethnic minority populations, even where these may hold formal citizenship. Migration has a potential of both disrupting and reinforcing existing dynamics of racialization in particular states and societies.

These issues are experienced differentially in different parts of the world, where notions of legitimate belonging are justified with recourse to a variety of themes, such as autochthonic belonging, long-term settlement, culture, language, “race”, religion etc. We encourage papers that take account of this diversity of experiences while seeking to articulate wider theoretical insights into the relationship between racialization, migration and the rise of the autochthonous far-right.

Papers might address but are not limited to the following questions: For example, is this done through justifying Othering and exclusion on the basis that minorities and migrants supposedly do not respect women`s and gay rights? Or are gender and sexual identities used as bases of solidarity that are opposed to racialized exclusions?


Politics of Excluded Peoples in the Nation-State of the 21st Century. Las políticas de los excluidos en el estado-nación del siglo veintiuno

Session Organizer
Natividad GUTIERREZ CHONG, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico,

Session in English/Spanish

Worldwide, the nation-state is facing internal dynamics aiming at changing its homogeneous cultural composition. The most visible and challenging internal forces are those of organized political groups, who seek accommodation in the nation-state on their own terms as they demand power, decision making and political representation. This session invites papers that discuss proposals of governability, autonomy and free determination within the nation state. Papers that address political inclusion in the democratic state are particularly welcome, especially ones authored by or from the perspective of excluded groups (as defined by ethnicity, race, gender, class).

Por todo el mundo, el estado-nación, enfrenta dinámicas internas que están cambiando su composición culturalmente homogénea. Las fuerzas internas más visibles y desafiantes provienen de organizaciones políticas que buscan acomodarse en el estado-nación bajo sus propios términos en la medida que demandan acceso al poder, poder de decisión y representación política. Esta sesión invita a presentar ponencias que incluyan propuestas de gobernabilidad, autonomía y libre terminación en co-existencia con el estado-nación. Aquellas ponencias que propongan la inclusión política dentro del estado de tendencia democrática son particularmente bienvenidas, especialmente las que provengan desde la perspectiva de grupos excluidos en razón a su diferencia de etnicidad, raza, género o clase.


Politics of Masculinities Racialised as Deviant and Dangerous

Session Organizers
Sirma BILGE, Montreal University, Canada,
Scott POYNTING, University of Auckland, New Zealand,

Many forms of contemporary racism involve the construction of the male immigrant from the Global South as deviant and dangerous, misogynistic and homophobic. Arguably, these types of sexualized and gendered representational practices have been at all times part and parcel of racialising processes. The legacy of slavery has entailed hypersexualisation and animalisation in racist modes of constructing the Black Other, both men and women. Colonialism in general, and Orientalism in particular, has relied on similarly racialised repertoires wherein the perceived gender and sexual inferiority of the non-European “Other” provided the civilizational index legitimating the colonisation.

At our historical juncture, public and political debates over immigration and integration tend increasingly to cluster around an array of hot topics, ranging from “ethnic gangs” to “honour crimes”, to “bogus asylum seekers”, to “forced marriages”, all operating through threatening male figures: the oppressive family patriarch, the uneducated juvenile delinquent, the religious fanatic, the terrorist, the criminal refugee claimant, the polygamist, the rapist, the homophobic youth, etc. In the context of post 9/11 globalised Islamophobia, Muslim masculinities are particularly demonised, regularly depicted as degenerate, primitive or backward, uncivilised, unreliable, sexually predatory, hyperpatriarchal, authoritarian and inimical to enlightened western values.

This session broadly tackles the increased role that pathologised masculinities from the Global South has come to play in the drawing of symbolic boundaries of the nationhood across the Global North. Topics might range from gang cultures to “honour crimes”, to polygamy, to sexual violence such as gang rape and sexual exploitation such as “grooming” rings, to domestic or family violence, to “radicalisation” implicated in the “war on terrorism”. We especially welcome analyses that attend to the workings of these racialised discursive formations in the cultural circuit, while also addressing the political economy of which they are part and parcel.


RC05 Business Meeting

Session Organizer
Ann DENIS, University of Ottawa, Canada,

Session in English

RC05 Business Meeting session will be followed by RC05 reception/party. Provisionally evening of Tuesday, July 15.


RC05 Roundtable. Articulations of Etnicity, Race and Nationhood

Session Organizer
Sirma BILGE, University of Montreal, Canada,

Session in English


Upsurge of Xenophobia in Contemporary Japan: Its Causes and Uniqueness

Session Organizers
Kikuko NAGAYOSHI, Tohoku University, Japan,
Shunsuke TANABE, Waseda University, Japan,

From the late 1990s, Japanese society has witnessed an upsurge of xenophobia along with the increase of foreign residents. On changing their target from “masochistic” history education to foreign residents, the grassroots right-wing movements have spread and radicalized. This session tries to examine the causes of the upsurge of xenophobia in Japan and its similarities and dissimilarities with the xenophobia in other countries. This session might include following themes:


Who Lives with Whom: Ethnic Relations, Community and Integration in Japan

Session Organizers
Milos DEBNAR, Kyoto University, Japan,
Ann DENIS, University of Ottawa, Canada,

Scholars focusing on increasing, multidimensional diversification of migration and its consequences, such as Steven Vertovec and his “super-diversity” (2007), those questioning presumptions of “natural” inclination to ethnic solidarity and group formation (Wimmer 2004, 2009), or the growing scholarship discussing cosmopolitanism among migrants in various forms all point to the need of scrutinizing the role of ethnic relations and communities in the process of integration. Although much of this work has studied countries with a longer immigration history, Japan has experienced unprecedented growth and diversification of its foreign populations in recent decades. Not only is the national and/or ethnic make-up of this population changing rapidly, growing scholarship on migration to Japan unveils patterns of migration which are also increasingly diversified along such dimensions such as class, region of origin or gender. Yet, the ethnic communities are often conceived, rather uncritically, as the sole units of organization and/or integration of migrants in Japan.

The purpose of this session is thus to critically asses how the increasing diversity does (or does not) affect the issue of “who lives with whom” in Japan. We would particularly welcome papers addressing one or more of the following issues:


Joint Sessions

Click on the session title to read its description and the scheduled day/time.

Becoming a Racial Subject, Negotiating Power: Comparative Historical Contexts

Joint session of RC05 Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations [host committee] and WG02 Historical and Comparative Sociology


Contested Citizenship: Transnationalism, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality

Joint session of RC05 Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations and RC32 Women in Society [host committee]


Intersectionality and Intellectual Biographies

Joint session of RC05 Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations [host committee] and RC38 Biography and Society


RC05RC32 Roundtable Social Structure and Identities: National and/or Transnational Analyses of Racism or Ethnic Relation

Joint session of RC05 Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations [host committee] and RC32 Women in Society


Temporary and Precarious Migration and the Securitized State. Human Rights, Culture, and Belonging in an Age of Economic and Moral Austerity

Joint session of RC05 Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations [host committee] and TG03 Human Rights and Global Justice



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