Different causes and expressions of xenophobia are analysed by comparing three countries: South Africa, Germany and Canada. On a spectrum of rejection of migrants, South Africa is situated at one extreme, with Germany in the middle, and Canada at the other extreme. In each country, different rationalizations are used for ‘othering’ and different policies have been adopted for dealing with legal and illegal migrants. This project aims at a deeper understanding by a) probing xenophobia in the context of the general literature on ethnicity, nationalism and racism, b) contributing some neglected ethnographic data in each context and c) drawing lessons about appropriate interventions and policies in multi-ethnic societies.
Examples for puzzling question are, for South Africa: why would the victims of Apartheid exclusion turn violently against fellow Africans and what does this imply for political education in the post-apartheid era? For Germany: why is assimilation now advocated and multiculturalism been declared a failure when it has hardly been implemented in the first place? For Canada: can the country’s successful multiculturalism be exported and under what conditions can a modern welfare state be sustained and benefit from relatively high immigration rates?