Vicki Esses named a Fellow of CIFAR program in Boundaries, Membership and Belonging

May 29, 2019

Vicki Esses, Professor of Psychology

Vicki Esses has been named as a Fellow of the CIFAR program in Boundaries, Membership and Belonging.

Esses is a Professor of Psychology, as well as Director of the Centre for Migration and Ethnic Relations (MER), and Director of the Network for Economic and Social Trends (NEST).

CIFAR – the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research – is a “Canadian-based, global charitable organization that convenes extraordinary minds to address science and humanity’s most important questions.”

The Boundaries, Membership and Belonging group brings together social scientists and political and legal theorists to consider why membership matters in a globalizing world.

From the CIFAR site:

“As migration and globalization weaken traditional boundaries around the world, many people are searching for a sense of belonging and are staking claims to membership. Recent political events show that if a new, inclusive sense of "we" is not developed, people may turn instead to appeals based on exclusionary boundaries of ethnicity, religion and class.”

“As a social psychologist, I will contribute my expertise on intergroup relations, particularly my work over the years on ethic relations and on immigration attitudes, which is very relevant to the issues we will tackle in considering boundaries, membership and belonging,” said Esses.

This includes the unified instrumental model of group conflict Esses developed to explain the role of competition and zero-sum beliefs in relations among groups, cross-national research on national identity and immigration attitudes, and research on the dehumanization of immigrants and refugees.

The Boundaries, Membership & Belonging program explores ways to create and empower groups without falling back on ideas that produce pernicious divisions and hierarchies. The program brings together researchers who will collaborate to make sense of membership politics and Esses looks forward to the interdisciplinary collaborations that will result from the CIFAR Fellowship.

“The opportunity to hold in depth discussions with leading researchers across disciplines and internationally on issues of boundaries, membership and belonging will enrich my own research and perspectives, and bring new ideas to the work of MER and NEST,” said Esses. “Being part of this high-level network will also promote new connections and collaborations for MER and NEST.”


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