Colloquium: Strangers at Home:
Current Narratives of Fear and Resistance in Europe
Dr. Shayna Plaut
Department of Sociology, UBC
In Europe, waves of immigrants – some political refugees fleeing wars; others fleeing a system that assumes a migration of capital without people — have renewed feelings of resentment towards people perceived as “outsiders.” Such political and economic uncertainty has led some politicians to search for scapegoats in traditionally ostracized communities like the Roma and Jews, as well as immigrant communities. Extremist voices are gaining political power, inspiring white Europeans to take to the streets to “claim back” their place in Europe. As a result, millions of people in Europe are feeling like strangers at home.
The goal of Strangers at Home – a nine segment “anthology documentary” – challenges traditional content and method. It problematizes the simple narrative and embraces the complexity and nuance of this troubling trend. How is the rise of the right manifesting in different countries? Who is cast aside as the strangers, often in their own “home:” Roma, Jews, LGBT peoples, people with Muslim or Arab last names. Just as importantly – why is this happening? And how is this affecting, and affected, by the majority populations in these countries?