Congratulations to Professor Emine Fidan Elcioglu on receiving the Connaught New Researcher Award

Congratulations to Professor Emine Fidan Elcioglu, whose work has been recognized with the Connaught New Researcher Award. Professor Elcioglu is one of six sociology faculty members to receive this award in 2019. The annual award provides up to $20,000 to new tenure-stream faculty members, and is intended to help them establish a strong research program, and subsequently increase their competitiveness for external funding. “These researchers are doing exciting, innovative work across many different disciplines. It’s the University of Toronto’s hope that this funding will help set the stage for world-leading scholarship and important new discoveries,” stated Vivek Goel, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives.

Professor Elcioglu’s project is entitled, “The Political Effects of Taking in Strangers: An Interview-Based Study of the Motivations, Experiences, and Worldviews of Private Refugee Sponsors in Canada”, and aims to discover how people decide to become sponsors and how this decision is shaped by and affects their identities. She also seeks to learn how the experience of sponsorship affects their expectations about who ‘refugees’ are and what their resettlement should look like. And lastly, her research looks to determine whether and how the process of sponsorship reshapes sponsors’ views about the social world, including their own position of relative privilege in the global political economy. 

Immigration policy involves both exclusionary practices–the policing of borders and the deportation of unwanted immigrants–and integrative practices–resettlement programs facilitating the integration of immigrants and refugees accepted into a nation. Canada’s program of Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) offers a rare case study for exploring the political effects of devolving integrative immigration measures. This project will investigate the political effects of this program on the sponsors. Specifically, she will explore whether and how sponsorship reshapes citizens’ worldviews particularly in relation to the state, newcomers, and inequality. In so doing, this project also underlines questions about whether and in what ways participation in statecraft facilitates deeper political and civic engagement among citizens.

As a result, this project will extend and complicate existing theories about the political consequences of involving citizens and civil society in the statecraft of refugee admittance. At the same time, Professor Elcioglu hopes that the findings will also help inform policymakers and the general public about how to make private sponsorship a more sustainable and equitable method of refugee resettlement.