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Becoming Multicultural: Immigration and the Politics of Membership in Canada and Germany

Becoming Multicultural: Immigration and the Politics of Membership in Canada and Germany

by Triadafilos Triadafilopoulos
  • academic
  • diversity
  • history-politics-current-affairs

In a world of nation-states, international migration raises questions of membership: Should foreigners be admitted to the national space? If so, according to what criteria and for what ends? And should they and their children be granted citizenship?

Canada and Germany’s responses to these questions during the first half of the twentieth century consisted of discriminatory immigration and citizenship policies aimed at harnessing migration for economic ends while minimizing its costs. Yet, by the end of the century, the admission, settlement, and incorporation of previously excluded groups had transformed both countries into highly diverse multicultural societies.

Becoming Multicultural explains how this remarkable shift came about. Triadafilopoulos argues that world-historical events and epoch-defining processes  including the Holocaust, decolonization, and the emergence of global human rights culture  gave rise to a markedly different normative context after the Second World War. These changes in global norms made the maintenance of established membership regimes difficult to defend, opening the way for the liberalization of Canada and Germany’s immigration and citizenship policies.

Combining sophisticated theoretical reflection and careful empirical analysis, this thought-provoking book sheds light on the dynamics of membership politics and policy making in contemporary liberal-democratic countries.


Triadafilos Triadafilopoulos, author

Triadafilos Triadafilopoulos is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. He is the co-editor (with Kristin Good and Luc Turgeon) of Segmented Cities? How Urban Contexts Shape Ethnic and Nationalist Politics (UBC Press 2014) and editor of Wanted and Welcome? Policies for Highly Skilled Immigrants in Comparative Perspective (Springer, 2013).


  • Shortlisted, 2014 Prize in Comparative Politics, Canadian Political Science Association
  • Shortlisted, 2013 Donald Smiley Prize, Canadian Political Science Association

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: UBC Press



rights available: World, excl. English

Additional Information

number of pages: 304

publication date: 04/25/2012

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book