Politics of Representation
In today’s world, it is more critical than ever that we understand the roles of identity and culture in shaping citizenship and political representation in Canada and beyond.
The key themes in the field include: How power has influenced concepts about belonging, how identity has been experienced in different historical and geographic contexts; how existing practices in citizenship, government policy, and global relations impact and shape our world; how identities such as ethnicity shape political practices and representation; and how to create representation regimes that are both workable and just. These are members of our faculty with active research programs in this area:
J. Marshall Beier’s work is concerned with hybridized identities issuing from (post)colonial encounters. His research considers the negotiation of identity through citizenship practices (Indigenous peoples' participation at the UN), and in emergent global networks of resistance.
Karen Bird conducts comparative research on multicultural policies. Her work focuses on the political representation of women and ethnic minorities, the effectiveness of quotas under various electoral systems and circumstances of party competition, and on the conditions under which women and ethnic minorities act as group representatives. Visit our Women and Minorities Project website for more information.
Catherine Frost looks at the moral questions surrounding the claims of groups to political status – whether “the people” as a democratic concept, or specific nationalities and cultural minorities in the name of self-government or accommodation. Her work asks how identity, community, and collective consciousness are affected by the conditions of shared public life, including the impact that communication can have on knowledge. How, for instance, can a group found a political project to represent a multi-generational community? Why do some claims win recognition and others not? How does representation exclude as well as make present? Why are some forms of representation privileged over others? Addressing these issues require attention to representational practices, as well as to the way solidarity and boundedness is sustained through justice or violence.
Inder Marwah's research addresses the challenges that social, cultural and religious pluralism present for liberal democracies, both historically and in contemporary contexts. He works on the theory and practice of multiculturalism, secularism/religious rights, and immigration and social integration in Canada and Europe.
Peter Nyers does research on citizenship, refugees, and undocumented migration. His research focuses on the social mobilizations of non-status refugees and migrants, in particular their campaigns against deportation and detention and for regularization and global mobility rights. His primary interest in these movements has been to understand the ways in which they allow for a critical re-examination political subjectivity in relation to non-citizenship.
Netina Tan is interested in the political representation of women and ethnic minorities. She researches on ethnic and gender quotas, ethnic conflicts, electoral integrity, party politics, immigration and democracy in East and Southeast Asia.