Emily Laxer – Feature Profile

Laxer - Pic_for_ProfileContact information:
Emily Laxer, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
York University, Glendon Campus
E-mail: emily.laxer@glendon.yorku.ca
Website: laxeremily.wordpress.com


I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at York University’s Glendon Campus. My research bridges the sociological study of politics, nationalism, immigration and gender to examine how contests for political power shape the way national governments respond to debates around immigrants’ religious signs.  I approach this topic by interrogating the role of state and civil society actors in the contested process of producing nationhood in diverse societies.

My doctoral dissertation – entitled A Nation’s Dilemma: Party Politics and the Production of Nationhood, Belonging and Citizenship in France’s Face Veil Debate – demonstrates the under-appreciated role of party politics in producing laws that restrict Islamic veiling in particular.  Based on an in-depth qualitative study of debates surrounding France’s 2011 face veil ban, I argue that, rather than derive from widely shared republican values as many prior studies suggest, this law arose in significant part out of political parties’ struggle for the power and legitimacy to govern.

My current and future research extends the dissertation’s investigation into the political underpinnings of nation-building in diverse societies in two ways. A first project examines the gendered dimensions of this process, by assessing how competing feminist approaches to Islamic veiling intersect with state nation-building projects in France and Québec.  A second project aims to further elucidate the ways that right-wing political parties shape contestations over the boundaries of nationhood in diverse societies.  I intend to study these processes through a comparative analysis of party political discourses attending immigrants’ citizenship and belonging in three corresponding debates: those attending U.S. president Donald Trump’s call to ‘ban’ entry to individuals from predominantly Muslim countries; those surrounding warnings of an ‘immigrant threat’ in the campaign for the United Kingdom’s 2016 exit (‘Brexit’) from the E.U.; and those pertaining to the National Front’s framing of Muslims and Islam in the 2017 contest for the French presidency.

Selected publications:


Laxer, Emily. 2019. Unveiling the Nation: The Politics of Secularism in France and Québec. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.  

Journal articles:

Laxer, Emily“‘We Are All Republicans’: Political Articulation and the Production of Nationhood in France’s Face Veil Debate”.Comparative Studies in Society and History, 60(04): 938-967.

Laxer, Emily and Anna C. Korteweg. Online 2017. “Party Competition and the Production of Nationhood in the Immigration Context: Particularizing the Universal for Political Gain in France and Québec”.  Ethnic and Racial Studies. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01419870.2017.1324168.

Reitz, Jeffrey, Patrick Simon and Emily Laxer. Online 2017. “Muslims’ Social Inclusion in Canada, Québec and France: Does National Context Matter?” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studieshttp://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1369183X.2017.1313105.

Laxer, Emily and Anna C. Korteweg. 2016. “Culture politique et politique de la culture: Luttes démocratiques dans le débat sur la charte des valeurs québécoises” (‘The Culture of Politics and the Politics of Culture: Democratic Struggles in the Debate over the Charter of Québec Values’). Recherches Sociographiques LVII(2-3): 427-453.

Laxer, Emily, Rachael D. Carson and Anna C. Korteweg. 2014. “Articulating Minority Nationhood: Cultural and Political Dimensions in Québec’s Reasonable Accommodation Debate”. Nations and Nationalism 20(1): 133-153.

Laxer, Emily. 2013. “Integration Discourses and Generational Trajectories of Civic Participation in Multi-Nation States: A Comparison of the Canadian Provinces of Québec and Ontario”. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 39(10): 1577-1599.

Book chapters:

 Laxer, Emily. 2017. “Gender Inequality and the Role of Power, Politics and Representation.” In Robert Brym, ed. Income Inequality and the Future of Canadian Society.  Toronto: Rock’s Mills Press.

Boyd, Monica and Emily Laxer. 2011. “Voting Across Immigrant Generations”. In Lorne Tepperman and Angela Kalyta (eds). Reading Sociology.  Toronto: Oxford Press.




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