Refugee Catastrophe, Ethno-National Conflict and the Crisis of Democracy

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Azril BACAL ROIJ, Uppsala University, Sweden
The aim of this theoretical study is to understand the relationship between the refugee catastrophe, the increase of nationalism, inter-ethnic conflict and violence and the crisis of democracy in the 21st Century. The refugee catastrophe alludes to the estimated 70 million migrants/refugees expelled from their homes and home countries by a complex set of factors, such as: global and national inequalities, climate change, growing xenophobia, inter-ethnic conflict and violence. The increase of nationalism refers to the appeal of "essentialist," "communalistic" notions, and mythical claims of imagined "volks" and "nations," which ignites "normal" ethnocentrism to its heights. The crisis of democracy alludes to the growth of fundamentalism and authoritarian regimes in all corners of the world: India, Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Poland, and recently the USA, accompanied by the rise of national-populism and far-right political movements and parties in all corners of the world. The poor management of a similar refugee crisis in the past century, accompanied by the growth of nationalism, fascism and nazism, produced the most violent century in world history. If these developments are not better managed, in a humane and democratic way, the likely outcomes in the 21st Century are to be feared. What to do? For a short time, policies such as the "New Deal" helped to confront the systemic crisis of the 30s, same as the welfare societies in the post-war period, ECOSOC at the time the UN was created, namely, development to diminish the socio-economic gap between the haves and have nots, as a platform to sustain democracy, might be looked anew - as an urgent alternative to global militarization and violence, before is too late. Is another world possible? The answer lies in each and all of us, sociologists or not.