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The Return of the Native: Can Liberalism Safeguard Us Against Nativism?

The Return of the Native: Can Liberalism Safeguard Us Against Nativism?

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A book talk by Jan Willem Duyvendak on how and why there has been a resurgence of nativist logic.


The Center for European and Russian Studies held a book talk by Jan Willem Duyvendak to discuss his recent publication The Return of the Native (co-authored with Josip Kesic and Timothy Stacey). The talk was followed by discussion with Professor Jason Ferguson, UCLA Department of Sociology and audience Q&A.  

About the Book

It was once thought that liberalism and globalization would consign nativist logics to the fringes of societies and eventually to history. But if it ever left, nativism has well and truly returned, spreading across nations, across the political spectrum, and from the fringes back into the mainstream. In The Return of the Native, Jan Willem Duyvendak, Josip Kesic, and Timothy Stacey explore how nativist logics have infiltrated liberal settings and discourses, primarily in the Netherlands as well as other countries with strong liberal traditions like the US and France. They deconstruct and explain the underlying logic of nativist narratives and show how these narratives are emerging in the discourses of secularism (a religious nativism that problematizes Islam and Muslims), racism (a racial nativism that problematizes black anti-racism), populism (a populist nativism that problematizes elites), and left-wing politics (a left nativism that sees religious, racial, and populist nativists themselves as a threat to national culture). By moving systematically through these key iterations of nativism, the authors show how liberal ideas themselves are becoming tools for claiming that some people do not belong to the nation. A unique analysis of the most fundamental political transformation of our days, this book illuminates the resurgence of the figure of the "native," who claims the country at the expense of those perceived as foreign.

About the Speaker

Jan Willem Duyvendak is Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. Previously, he was Director of the Verwey-Jonker Research Institute for Social Issues (1999-2003) and Professor of Community Development at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. His latest books include The Politics of Home: Nostalgia and Belonging in Western Europe and the United States (2011), Crafting Citizenship: Negotiating Tensions in Modern Society (2012, co-authored with Menno Hurenkamp and Evelien Tonkens), European States and Their Muslim Citizens: The Impact of Institutions on Perceptions and Boundaries (2014, co-edited with John Bowen, Christophe Bertossi, Mona Lena Krook), New York and Amsterdam: Immigration and the New Urban Landscape (2014, co-edited with Nancy Foner, Jan Rath and Rogier van Reekum), Players and Arenas: The Interactive Dynamics of Protest (2015, co-edited with James M. Jasper), and The Culturalization of Citizenship: Belonging and Polarization in a Globalizing World (2016, co-edited with Peter Geschiere and Evelien Tonkens). In 2013-2014, Duyvendak was Distinguished Fellow at the Advanced Research Collaborative at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. In Spring 2016 he was Research Fellow at the Paris Institute for Advanced Studies. From July 2017 -July 2019 he was Executive Committee Chair at Council for European Studies. Since January 1st 2018 he is rector of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (NIAS-KNAW). 

About the Discussant

Jason Ferguson is Assistant Professor of Sociology at UCLA. Jason studies the global struggle for and against homosexual rights, the divergent trajectories of nations in how they regulate same-sex practices, and the domestic and geopolitical dimensions of that regulation. Jason's research focuses on the elaboration and evolution of laws governing sex and sexuality in the global environment, as well as the intensifying struggle over sexual rights unfolding within and across diverse national contexts. The empirical project is multi-scalar and draws on archival, qualitative and quantitative methods. Theoretically his work considers the underappreciated role of sexuality as an axis of social and national distinction. Jason’s scholarship has been published in The American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, and Gender & Society.



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