Willem Schinkel wins Book Prize in the Study of Citizenship 2019

The book Imagined Societies: A Critique of Immigrant Integration in Western Europe written by sociologist prof. dr. Willem Schinkel from Erasmus University Rotterdam won the Book Prize in the Study of Citizenship 2019. The Center for the Study of Citizenship at Wayne State University, USA, awarded the book at their 16th Annual Conference. The jury commended both Willem Schinkel and Cambridge University Press for producing this landmark contribution to the global struggle for social peace.

 

From the jury report Book Prize in the Study of Citizenship:

“In recent years, mass migrations of displaced people have triggered public emergencies, social anxiety, and xenophobia in Europe, North America, and elsewhere. In response, scholars have generated dozens of diagnoses and policy proposals in order to stabilize well-established, culturally homogenous nation-states. Few have succeeded. 

The Center for the Study of Citizenship proudly recognizes Willem Schinkel’s important contribution to that growing bookshelf, entitled Imagined Societies:  A Critique of Immigrant Integration in Western Europe. Schinkel, who is Professor of Social Theory at Erasmus University Rotterdam and a member of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, seeks to break through the seemingly intractable chaos that accompanies global responses to migrant pleas for asylum and eventual citizenship in nation-states accustomed to absorbing newcomers with similar histories, cultures, languages, and religions. Schinkel makes brilliant use of discourse theory (including the concept of social imaginaries) to lay bare the entrenched, antiquated, counter-productive social and political practices that have led overwhelmingly to failure and public violence. 

He is particularly alarmed by the long life of what he calls “moral citizenship” within old visualizations of the nation-state and citizenship as Europeans set about determining eligibility for citizenship or refugee status. Such reliances, he argues, erect and perpetuate irrational walls between “good and active citizens” and inadequate, “inactive citizens.”  When the “formal aspects of citizenship are downplayed relative to the moral aspects,” adequacy and social ‘fit’ never can be found among immigrants and their descendants.  Newcomers stand forever charged with “disturbing the imagined match between nation and society.”

"We commend both Schinkel and Cambridge University Press for producing this landmark contribution to the global struggle for social peace."

Jury: Prof. Sandra F. Van Burkleo, Dept of History, Wayne State University, Detroit, USA and Prasenjit Biswas, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at North Eastern Hill University,  India

About the Book Award

The Book Award in the Study of Citizenship from Center for the Study of Citizenship at Wayne State University, USA is given biennially to a book that illuminates the study of citizenship in a fresh, thought provoking, and engaging manner. The Book Award recognizes books published during the previous two calendar years. Nominations for the award are made to the Center for the Study of Citizenship at Wayne State University by advisors, authors, and publishers. Selection of the winning book is made by a three-person selection committee, which changes biennially.

More information

Marjolein Kooistra, media relations ESSB, 010 408 2135, kooistra@essb.eur.nl