Yasmeen Abu-Laban

Canada Research Chair in the Politics of Citizenship and Human Rights

Tier 1 - 2018-01-07
University of Alberta
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council


Research involves

Determining how marginalized groups are affected by changes like neoliberalism and surveillance, as well as by a populist backlash against minorities, immigrants and democratic values.

Research relevance

This research will provide insight into citizenship and human rights and how they can be best protected.

Citizenship and Human Rights in Challenging Times

Today, in many countries around the globe, there is a backlash against democratic values and stigmatized groups such as minorities and immigrants. This form of xenophobic populism seems to be fuelled by the emergence of new forms of digital communication, just as the global flow of migrants and refugees has also dramatically increased. This backlash has not been fully analyzed to determine its effect on citizenship and human rights.

Dr. Yasmeen Abu-Laban, Canada Research Chair in the Politics of Citizenship and Human Rights, hopes to close this gap. Her research addresses the rights and treatment of marginalized peoples in the 21st century. She and her research team are exploring how these groups are affected by societal changes such as neoliberal governance, increased surveillance, and a rapidly changing communications environment that has resulted in a populist backlash.

Abu-Laban and her team are comparing policies and outcomes in Canada, the United States and Australia—three countries that have all been shaped by their colonial pasts and ongoing immigration. She and her team will then assess the stability and expansion or contraction in refugees’ and immigrants’ citizenship and human rights in order to understand continuity and change in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Ultimately, her research will improve our understanding of citizenship and human rights over the past half-century and lead to policies to protect them.