The IES Migration & Diversity Speaker Series: Phil Triadafilopoulos

January 12, 2018
Phil Triadafilopoulos, University of Toronto

Religious Groups, Liberal-Democratic States, and Competitive Boundary Making: The Debate Over Ritual Male Circumcision in Germany”

Debates over religious accommodation in liberal-democratic states are increasingly common. I offer a framework for making sense of their often-abrupt eruption, unpredictable dynamics, and variation across jurisdictions, arguing that an important sub-category of these cases are best understood as instances of competitive group boundary construction and maintenance. Religious believers’ interest in honouring their group’s customs is not only based on individual devotion but also reflects their interest in maintaining a sense of coherent religious group identity. Liberal-democratic societies simultaneously create liberal-democratic subjects, through public schooling and other means, including immigrant integration policies. These parallel processes of group formation typically proceed without incident but can intersect, sparking conflict. I outline the social mechanisms that generate conflict, illustrating my argument through reference to the debate over ritual male circumcision in Germany.

Phil Triadafilopoulos is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. His current research examines the extension of public funding for Islamic religious education in Canada and Germany. He is the author of Becoming Multicultural: Immigration and the Politics of Membership in Canada and Germany (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2012), which was shortlisted for the Canadian Political Science Association’s 2013 Donald Smiley Prize for the best book in Canadian politics and 2014 Comparative Politics Prize. He is the editor of Wanted and Welcome? Policies for Highly Skilled Immigrants in Comparative Perspective (New York: Springer, 2013), and co-editor (with Kristin Good and Luc Turgeon) of Segmented Cities? How Urban Contexts Shape Ethnic and Nationalist Politics (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2014). His recent scholarly publications have appeared in German Politics, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Social Politics, German Politics and Society, the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Social Research, and the Review of International Studies

Buchanan Penthouse
Lunch available starting 11:45; Please RSVP by January 8, 2018.

*To attend the group dinner or to schedule a one-on-one meeting with Dr. Triadafilopoulos, please contact by Dec 15th, 2017.