The lecture is entitled "Charlie Hebdo - crossroad for multiculturalism? A historical perspective on minority and immigration policy".
Multiculturalism as immigrant and minority policy has been high on the agenda in most Western countries the last three to four decades.
However, though multiculturalism was adopted as the leading ideological concept it was often contested. In particular since the turn of the millennium it has increasingly been faced with challenges in the shape of international terrorism and enemy pictures of Islam, with the 11 September tragedy as a turning point.
The key question raised by politicians was if the policy of multiculturalism had been naïve. Some Western leaders, like Merkel and Cameron, answered in the affirmative – they claimed that it had even been “a failure” in their countries.
The attack on the editorial offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo in January this year, followed by attacs on Jews in a Paris supermarket and and on a meeting in a synagogue in Copenhagen, seemingly adds to the escalation of anti-multiculturalist sentiments.
The presentation will be based on models and theories of integration ideas and cultural and ethnic encounters, in which the issues of political options and factors behind policy making are central, as well as the historiography of concepts and categories on ethnic minorities and migrant groups, demonstrating the Janus phase of them: they are not solely tools for necessary social order and governance but also political instruments legitimating political actions, in addition stigmatizing groups of people.
The concluding discussion will turn back to multiculturalism and Charlie Hebdo: are there actually any alternatives to multiculturalism, since the fact is that most societies are and obviously will be multicultural well into the future, not least due to the growing global migrations and refugee flows? Were there not in speeches by European leaders in the wake of Charlie Hebdo signals of exactly that, for example in the French President’s day after-speech’s insistence on “defence of pluralism”?