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Global Migration & the New Cosmopolitanism

The global expansion of migration has ushered in major social and economic changes, as well as profound ethical challenges concerning how citizens are to coexist in pluralistic societies. The challenge of migration and social pluralism is a matter of public ethics and citizen socialization as much as it is economic development and formal political representation. Secular and religious actors have a pivotal role to play in the construction of the terms for this pluralist citizenship. Devising and socializing a public ethics and practice of citizenship capable of responding to migration and the new pluralism is one of the central political and ethical challenges of our age.


Over the past generation the unprecedented expansion of migration to Western countries has coincided with the global revitalization of religion. These two developments have raised deep questions about received values and practices of pluralist co-existence in Western societies—questions that are likely to remain at the heart of political and social debate in Western societies for some years to come. Read the full article »


Following the launch of the latest Contending Modernities publication “Making Multiculturalism Work”, a range of politicians, scholars and journalists have engaged with the findings of author David Barclay of the Contextual Theology Center. Here, Barclay outlines reaction to the report. Read the full article »


The business of creating a more practical multiculturalism and overcoming the challenges presented by diversity is more complex than it first seems. My research set out to investigate how projects in the UK are bringing diverse groups together and forming what Harvard scholar Danielle Allen has called ‘political friendships’ across difference. Dialogue is all very well, but without tangible common action it is hard to create any sense of shared destiny. The future success of multiculturalism will not be won by lofty new theories or more debates on national identity, but by encouraging real relationships at a grass roots level between people of every background and belief. Read the full article »


The experiences of Christian, Muslim and Secular leaders involved in Community Organising in East London highlight the importance of learning from and accepting otherness. Although they have differing worldviews, they are able to compromise and work together for the common good in their community. However, the congregating of these values is not without its compromise and tension. Read the full article »


The Contending Modernities Global Migration working group is pleased to announce an interdisciplinary conference to be held in London, UK on 14 & 15 October 2013 - The New Cosmopolitanism: Global Migration and the Building of a Common Life. The conference grows out of the working group’s research project in London, which focuses on the ways that broad-based community organizing enables secular and religious citizens to build a common life. The conference will bring this research into dialogue with a wide range of theoretical and empirical research on the role of faith in public life in pluralist and culturally diverse societies. Read the full article »


Community organising has significant potential for redressing low levels of democratic participation - through processes which actively engage citizens, encourage integration, and allow the voices of all individuals to be heard at local, national and international levels. My experience of engaging members of London’s Congolese diaspora in community organising has highlighted the increasing demand for both intentional processes of integration, and the opening of spaces within which citizens can actively engage in public life. Read the full article »


The ambition of Contending Modernities is to bring academic research into dialogue with policy-making and grassroots practice. Its east London research project - with the Contextual Theology Centre (CTC) - is focused on the ways that community organising enables diverse communities to work together to discern and promote a common good. As well as producing research papers, it is generating a number of resources for the wider community. Read the full article »