Should progressive politics be nationalist?

In a recent special issue of the open access journal Comparative Migration Studies, Will Kymlicka, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy at Queen’s University wrote an essay on “Solidarity in diverse societies: beyond neoliberal multiculturalism and welfare chauvinism“. He discussed the so called “progressive’s dilemma” and argued that progressives should embrace a multicultural nationalism to overcome it. Several scholars discussed Kymlicka’s thesis in shorter responses, including the special issue editor Rainer Bauböck, Professor of Social and Political Theory at the European University Institute. Buaböck takes issue with Kymlicka’s thesis, being sceptical that liberalism nationalism is the way forward for progressives. In this podcast they discuss what they think is at stake in the “progressive’s dilemma” and whether nationalism is the answer.

If it’s to serve a progressive function, nationhood needs to be configured in a multicultural direction.

Will Kymlicka

Kymlicka’s main thesis is that we need nationalism to foster a sense of social solidarity, but that it needs to be combined with multiculturalism to avoid becoming exclusionary or stir prejudice. Kymlicka is the leading scholar on multiculturalism and has written several seminal books on the topic, see for example here and here. He has also researched the progressive’s dilemma empirically.

What we need in order to get democratic support for these three goals is basically build up democratic support for social solidarity at the national level, for diversity at the local level and for keeping borders relatively open at the supranational level.

Rainer Bauböck

Bauböck is sceptical that promoting the nation can help reconcile social solidarity with support for opennesses and diversity, what he calls “the progressive’s trilemma”. Instead, he argues that we must look for political community across, below and above the nation state. Bauböck has written extensively on democratic citizenship and migration, for example here and here. He has recently edited a volume on immigrant integration.

 

Who is welcome in Latin America?

In this episode, we speak to Dr Marcia Vera Espinoza, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Sheffield, and Esteban Sanchez Botero, Master student from Colombia at the University of Sheffield, about refugees and migration in Latin America. The discussion begins with the question of how a US wall at the Mexican border may affect immigrants in the US from Latin America, as well as immigration within Latin America. But what about Latin American countries themselves, how welcoming are they to refugees and migrants, and who is welcomed?

Many of these countries came out of dictatorships so they wanted to show that they were good partners of the international community [by accepting refugees]. They also wanted to give back and return in terms of gratitude what other countries did for their own citizens.

Maria Vera Espinoza

Vera Espinoza currently work on the research project Prospects for International Migration Governance, and has previously researched the experiences of resettlement and integration of Palestinian and Colombian refugees in Chile and Brazil, which she discusses here (Spanish). You can find more of what she has written here and here.

The rest of the Latin American countries [apart from Mexico], they don’t see it as a physical wall. They see it as a political clash between the US and the rest of the populations that live south of the wall.

Esteban Sanchez Botero

Sanchez Botero studies the MA programme Intercultural Communications and International Development. He has previously worked with the charities Gaia Amazonas Foundation and in Un Techo Para Mi País.