Welcoming Refugees – Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography/ Bibliographie annotée

Shifting public discourse and successful campaigning/
Faire évoluer le discours public et faire campagne avec succès

Prepared for CCR workshop participants of/ Préparé pour les participants à CCR

Refugees Welcome Here: Welcoming Communities

Bienvenue aux réfugiés: Des collectivités accueillantes

Prepared by/ Préparé par William Payne, Dina Taha, and/et Billy Ilunga Kalenga
Refugee Research Network
(Centre for Refugee Studies/ Centre d’études sur les réfugiés, Université York University)
With advice from/ Avec de conseils de John Carlaw

How does discourse shape attitudes towards refugees

Hardy, Cynthia and Nelson Phillips (1999) “No joking matter: Discursive struggle in the Canadian refugee system.” Organization Studies 20(1): 1-24.

Refugees are not produced solely by the discourse that takes place within the refugee system; they are also produced by much broader discourses that occur at a societal level. The paper analyzes a sample of cartoons to show how the societal immigration discourse helps to produce images and conceptions of the refugee. For example, the strategies used by the government to promote the concept of sovereignty enforces a portrayal of refugees as frauds, the immigration system as inadequate and the public as requiring protection. Another example: The strategies used by NGOs to advance human rights and paternalism could draw on depictions of the government as incompetent, corrupt and cruel, and portraits of the immigration system as too slow, too tough and inconsistent. Consequently, we might expect to see refugees attempting to draw on related discourses, such as community empowerment, race, and political correctness in order to find a subject position – or voice – from which to influence the public discourse.

Li, Peter (2003) “Deconstructing Canada’s discourse of immigrant integration.” Journal of International Migration and Integration 4(3): 315-333.

This paper deconstructs the integration discourse in policy statements, immigration debates, and academic writings. The analysis shows that the discourse at a first glance preaches tolerance in the abstract but remains intolerant toward cultural specificities deemed outside the mainstream. The paper advocates a more inclusive approach toward integration. In other words, the discourse recognizes the value of diversity, but at the same time questions it on the premise that growing racial diversity and cultural difference weakens Canada’s normative consensus and social cohesion. The article argues that integration can be framed more inclusively such that differences can be treated as assets in the building of a global and diverse society and not as liabilities that undermine the aesthetic past of traditional Canada. The article also tackles the main theoretical debates around integration relevant at the time.

How does discourse shape attitudes towards refugees (continued)

Simich, Laura, Morton Beiser, Miriam Stewart and Edward Mwakarimba (2005) “Providing social support for immigrants and refugees in Canada: Challenges and directions.” Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 7(4): 259-268.

This research suggests that changes in public discourse about immigrants’ contributions, improved governance and service coordination, and a holistic, long-term perspective are important to more effectively support immigrant settlement and to promote immigrant health and well-being. Results show that social support is perceived to play an important role in immigrant settlement and to have a positive impact on immigrant health, although immigrants face many systemic challenges. Systemic issues—limited resources, lack of integration of policies and programs and narrow service mandates—also limit service providers’ abilities to meet newcomer’s needs.

Intervening in the discourse production for strategic purposes

Hardy, Cynthia, Ian Palmer, and Nelson Phillips (2000) “Discourse as a strategic resource.” Human Relations 53(9): 1227-1248.

The article suggests that it is possible for individuals to engage in activities (dictated by the public discourse) to generate new meanings that help or hinder particular strategies. The article uses a case study of an international NGO operating in Palestine: “Mere et enfant” to show how one actor attempted to intervene in the process of the discourse production for strategic purposes. The article concludes that to be successful in using discursive activity strategically in order to change the public discourse, the symbols used must be both: familiar to the public and at the same time capable of replacing existing symbols.

Huot, Suzanne, Andrea Bobadilla, Antoine Bailliard and Debbie Laliberte Rudman (2016) “Constructing undesirables: A critical discourse analysis of ‘othering’ within the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act,” International Migration 54(2): 132-143.

These authors argue that shifts in immigration policy in Canada under the Conservative government reflected similar shifts in other western countries. They show how specific groups of migrants were reframed in legislation as “the other”, as a potential threat to Canada’s economy, national security and to the refugee system itself. This framing allowed for the articulation of different categories of migrants and for an emphasis on efficiency and greater governmental power. It also obscured the Canadian government’s responsibilities towards vulnerable groups and strengthened neoliberal governance that prioritizes a view of the citizen as simply the one who is gainfully employed rather than other forms of citizenship. Furthermore, this facilitated the depiction of legitimate asylum seekers as a threat and thus legitimized the abrogation of pathways for seeking asylum in Canada and justified the denial of rights to healthcare, social assistance and other social services. These processes of “othering” in turn reinforced xenophobic attitudes in Canadian society.

The limits of the humanitarian discourse

Bauder, Harald (2008) “Dialectics of humanitarian immigration and national identity in Canadian public discourse.” Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees 25(1): 84-93.

Humanitarian immigration is an important element in the construction of Canada’s identity as a liberal and compassionate country. This article examines processes of national identity formation through humanitarian immigration in the media. The analysis suggests that journalists and commentators strategically contrasts Canada’s reputation with current political and administrative practices to present some policies and practices as problematic—either as falling short of or overshooting Canada’s identity as a country of compassion and champion of human rights. i.e. The newspaper articles established the limits of Canada’s compassion. The integration of refugees into Canadian national identity, however, was rarely addressed in the sampled articles.

The role of the media in shaping discourse

Bradimore, Ashley and Harald Bauder (2011) “Mystery ships and risky boat people: Tamil refugee migration in the newsprint media.” Canadian Journal of Communication 36(4): 637-661.

These authors study how Canada’s print media reshaped the public discourse concerning asylum seekers by reframing issues of fundamental human rights as security matters and by inserting concepts such ‘bogus’ claimants that and “abuse’ of the system even in the absence of evidence to substantiate the position. The article traces the ways in which the media facilitated legislative action that emphasized a security-oriented framework in lieu of a human rights focus.

Chouliaraki, Lilie (2008) “The Mediation of suffering and the vision of a cosmopolitan public.” Television & New Media 9(5): 371-391.

This article pays attention to two broad contrasting framings of the world in contemporary media depictions as either communitarianism or cosmopolitanism. The author argues that these two “ethical norms” affect how suffering is depicted and that these different visions are key to whether the audience is oriented towards an active response. She argues that choices around language and image in media depictions are tied to specific ethical positions ranging from a sense of responsibility to indifference depending on whether they promote a cosmopolitan view rooted in a shared polity or a communitarian view that fails to provide a mechanism through which to enact care of the distant sufferer. She identifies three frames for news coverage of distant suffering: adventure news that focuses on the spectacularity of events to the detriment of expressions of pity; emergency news, which demands action in response to abject suffering of the distant other; and ecstatic news, which relies on the connections between the observer and the distant sufferer. This author concludes that only emergency news is able to reinforce cosmopolitanism through its ability to “personalize… and historicize… the sufferer,” and promote solidarity by providing the spectator with a concrete way to make a difference in relationship to suffering.

Discourse shaped through race and racism

Li, Peter (2001) “The racial subtext in Canada’s immigration discourse.” Journal of International Migration and Integration 2(1): 77-97.

This author argues that the subtle inclusion of messages about race are regularly inserted into Canadian public discourse through coded language in ways that support the idea of “immutable racial groups” that are subsequently reproduced and undermine the basic tenets of democracy through the valuation of inequality. Racism is an ideology that justifies inequality. This article documents how a racial subtext, despite its lack of grounding in science, has long been part of academic thinking and serves to insert social distance between groups in such a way that variant treatment based on “race” end up justifying violations through the insertion of a particular vocabulary that allows racism to impact understandings of immigration.  As an antidote to this “racial subtext”, the author proposes a refocusing on the building of a society based on difference.

Goodman, Simon and Shani Burke (2011) “Discursive deracialization in talk about asylum seeking.” Journal of Community Applied Social Psychology 21: 111-123.

This article reports on a study that considers the ways in which race and racism are actively removed from arguments opposing asylum. Through the deployment of arguments rooted in economics, the linkage of religion to terrorism, and the advancement of the proposal that refugees resist integration, the authors show how discourse can become deracialized and thus how those opposed to welcoming asylum seekers find ways to understand themselves as not racist. They conclude that the prevalence of these deracialized arguments opposing the welcoming of asylum seekers are detrimental to those fleeing persecution.

Challenging framings of migrants and refugees

Sales, Rosemary (2002) ”The deserving and the undeserving? Refugees, asylum seekers and welfare in Britain.” Critical Social Policy 22(3): 456-478

This author outlines how Britain’s asylum policy results in the isolation and social exclusion of some refugees. The article reviews the limited and uneven policy framework to encourage the integration of refugees at a time marked by high levels of negative attention to the issue of asylum. The author also laments the focus of public debate on issues of control of asylum seekers through the denial of rights and the related marginalization of refugees through government policy. In this article, the author furthermore celebrates the resistance to control measures by civil society organizations and questions whether recognized labour shortages could be in fact filled by refused asylum seekers were they granted a pathway to stay in the country.

Nail, Thomas (2016) “A Tale of two crises: Migration and terrorism after the Paris attacks.” Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 16(1): 158-167.

This paper argues that the figure of the migrant has come to be seen as a potential terrorist in the West. The refugee crisis in Europe can no longer be understood as separate from the crisis of terrorism after the Paris attacks. The European response to the Syrian refugees has now become explicit in the response to the tragic attacks in Paris: that migration is understood to be a form of barbarian warfare that threatens the European Union. Moreover, immigration is revealed to show a crisis in the nation-state model.

Behrman, Simon (2016) “Between law and the nation state: Novel representations of the refugee.” Refuge 32(1): 38-49.

This author recognizes that the figure of the refugee has a “degraded profile” in present day understandings. He contrasts historical literature that sees the refugee as a “romantic figure” that overcomes tragedy with the depiction of the exile as victim in the present day and in some more contemporary literature. Behrman argues that two factors explain this shift, first a rigid state structure with borders that are often impossible to traverse for many, and second an international legal framework that ignores the agency of the migrant and focuses instead on the management of populations. AS such, he contrasts two views of the figure of the refugee in literature, the refugee as hero versus the refugee as threat. He argues that what has emerged is a view of the refugee as “lacking the ultimate modern signifier of civilization: citizenship.” His antidote for the present state of affairs is that we seek ways to recognize the refugee as the active subject of the narrative told about her, a position that ultimately relies on listening to what she actually has to say.

Call for a different world-view

Anderson, Bridget, Nandita Sharma and Cynthia Wright (2009) “Editorial: Why no borders?” Refuge 26(2): 5-18.

In this article, the authors use the banner of “No Borders” to outline an argument in favour of the eradication of borders and related institutions.  They propose that borders are fundamentally about creating and maintaining inequality. As such, while they commend efforts by human rights activists to advocate in favour of more humanitarian border policy, they argue that borders should be understood as part of a set of institutions including citizenship, statehood and nationality that are central to capitalism and its reliance on inequality. These authors argue that borders are not only about keeping people out but are also about ensuring that employers have the additional mechanism of control of the threat of deportation over many of their workers. They call on all involved in migrants’ struggles to move beyond the matter of integration into bordered nations and instead call for an alternative global system based on the idea of “common rights” to movement, livelihood and full and equal societal membership for all.

L’hébergement temporaire comme un geste d’accueil:

Villalobos-Cid, Marcela (2016) “Accueil des réfugiés: retour sur l’expérience Welcome en France.” Vivre ensemble 23(81). Centre Justice et Foi.

Disponible: http://www.cjf.qc.ca/fr/ve/article.php?ida=3820&title=accueil-des-rfugis-retour-sur-lexprience-welcome-en-france

Cet article parle de l’expérience de Welcome en France (WenF), un mouvement né en France en 2009 qui est un réseau de foyers et de communauté qui répondre bénévolement aux besoins d‘hébergement des demandeurs d’asile en leur offrant un hébergement temporaire. Ce mouvement assure aux demandeurs d’asile un accompagnement d’un bénévole appelé ‘tuteur’ chargé de les aider dans leur parcours d’insertion dans la nouvelle société. Ce réseau accueille uniquement des hommes et des femmes seuls pour une durée de trois à neuf mois et dont la mission est d’accompagner, de servir et de défendre les réfugiés et les demandeurs d’asile. Les valeurs fondamentales de ce mouvement sont l’hospitalité et la spontanéité. Le mouvement condamne la stigmatisation, les préjugés, la marginalisation et les lois restrictives qui limitent l’hospitalité à l’instar des dispositions de protection tels les murs, mers, et barbelés.

Accueil scolaire

Vatz Laaroussi, Michèle (2016) “Les réfugiés et l’accueil scolaire.” Options politiques, 19 mai.

Disponible à: http://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/may-2016/les-refugies-et-laccueil-scolaire/

L’auteur parle des défis en matière d’éducation des jeunes réfugiés dont les familles arrivent au Québec par le parrainage public et dont les caractéristiques sont généralement les familles nombreuses, moins instruites, monoparentales,  jeunes enfants ayant vécu dans la promiscuité, subi la violence, les viols et majoritairement installées en dehors de la région de Montréal. L’école devient le pilier de leur espoir. Ces caractéristiques qui les distinguent des réfugiés parrainés par les privés posent des défis difficiles à relever tant par l’État que par les réfugiés eux-mêmes : le besoin pour l’État d’avoir des enseignants formés pour enseigner le Français, la permanence d’enseignants, les mesures scolaires qui assurent la continuité, les défis politiques et pratiques. Les difficultés de langue  pour tous les enfants sont les défis auxquels font face ces jeunes réfugiés et sont des obstacles à leur intégration.


Geling, Gert Jan (2015). “Pourquoi le Canada semble être le paradis des migrants (et pas l’Europe).” Le Vif. 29 décembre.

Disponible à: http://www.levif.be/actualite/international/pourquoi-le-canada-semble-etre-le-paradis-des-migrants-et-pas-l-europe/article-opinion-445317.html

L’article compare la politique d’immigration du Canada à celle des États de l’Union Européenne en épinglant la politique d’ouverture du Canada et son image d’une terre d’accueil qu’il véhicule au monde. Il compare les facteurs de différence dans trois domaines : la situation géographique, le nombre de réfugiés accueillis et le contrôle de frontières. En premier lieu, l’Europe est contigüe aux régions les plus explosives: l’Afrique subsaharienne, le Moyen-Orient et le Maghreb tandis que le Canada est très éloigné de ces régions. En suite, l’Europe reçoit le plus grand nombre de réfugiés tandis que le Canada ne connait pas de flux migratoire et a, dès lors, le pouvoir de limiter le nombre qu’il veut. Enfin, les pays européens ont provisoirement, à l’opposé du Canada, exclu les quotas. L’Europe ne pouvant changer sa situation géographique, l’auteur recommande l’adoption des mesures qui pourraient faire évoluer les mentalités vers une meilleure acceptation des réfugiés et le changement dans la façon dont l’Europe gère le flux de réfugiés.


Chicha, Marie-Thérèse et Éric Charest (2008). “L’intégration des immigrés sur le marché du travail à Montréal: politiques et enjeux.” Choix 14(2).  Montréal: Institut de Recherche en Politiques Publiques.

Disponible à: http://irpp.org/fr/research-studies/choix-vol14-no2/

Les auteurs examinent la nature et la portée des politiques et des programmes qui visent l’intégration des immigrés au marché du travail à Montréal. Ils comparent, d’une part, les statistiques des immigrés sur le marché du travail et analysent, de l’autre, le cadre institutionnel de l’immigration au Québec, le cadre administratif de la politique d’intégration en emploi ainsi que les politiques et programmes du marché du travail qui ont un impact important sur l’intégration de réfugiés.


Boudarbat, Brahim et Maude Boulet (2007).“Détérioration des salaires       des nouveaux immigrants au Québec par rapport à l’Ontario et à la Colombie britannique.” Choix 13(7). Montréal: Institut de Recherche en Politiques Publiques.

Disponible à: http://irpp.org/wp-content/uploads/assets/research/diversity-immigration-and-integration/deterioration-des-salaires-des-nouveaux-immigrants-au-quebec-par-rapport-a-lontario-et-a-la-colombie-britannique/vol13no7.pdf

L’article compare le niveau de salaires en Ontario, au Québec, et en Colombie britannique sur trois décennies, 1981, 1991 et 2001. Il épingle les facteurs de ces changements qui sont : des sources d’immigration et les modifications des compétences linguistiques; les changements dans le rendement de l’expérience de travail acquise à l’étranger et l’impact du cycle économique. L’article donne quelques résultats de cette étude où ils classent le Québec comme la province où les salaires des immigrants à l’entrée au marché du travail se sont moins dégradés par rapport à l’Ontario et la Colombie britannique. Aussi, ils attestent, qu’en général, les employeurs valorisent beaucoup plus l’expérience canadienne. Enfin, au niveau de la scolarité, le Québec enregistre un rendement plus élevé comparé aux deux autres provinces.

Facteurs facilitant l’intégration

Ponce, Cecilia Elizabeth (2007) Parcours d’intégration sociale des réfugiés: les Salvadoriens dans le secteur Hull de Gatineau. Centre d’étude et de recherche en intervention sociale, Vol. 4. Gatineau (Québec): Université du Québec en Outaouais.

L’auteur identifie les facteurs facilitant l’intégration dans la région de l’Outaouais en étudiant le départ, l’arrivée et la post-arrivée partant des Salvadoriens habitant dans le secteur Hull de la ville de Gatineau. Les formes d’exclusion vécues dans leur parcours migratoire et les progrès réalisés pour réussir leur intégration sont analysés dans cet livre. Les facteurs, selon cette étude, sont de deux orders: facilitant et ceux qui ont entravé l’intégration, tous liés à la société d’accueil et aux migrants eux-mêmes: migration, exclusion, identité, reconnaissance sociale et intégration.

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