The others amongst us: Western societies, otherness and the law


In a time of economic crisis, social divides become particularly visible. They affect notably minorities. Looking at the area of immigration, the proposed research will examine how legislators can avoid that law contributes to these social divides and how law can foster social cohesion. Underlying is the fact that minorities at large and immigrants in particular tend to be conceived of as ?others?, which raises the question of the construction and effect of ?otherness? in law in our Western societies.

Managing increasing diversity in effective ways whilst preserving legitimate interests of all members of society is a real challenge, not merely an academic or judicial question. In this project I will focus on immigration legislation within the EU and four selected Member States. I will identify what has caused legislative differentiations of immigrants. My hypothesis is that at times legislative choices were informed by little more than sentiments or even prejudice playing in western societies. This had direct consequences on the capability and effectiveness of this legislation to include foreigners and to foster social cohesion.

After identifying reasons for differentiations in immigration legislation, I will develop advice on what pitfalls await legislators and civil servants in the legislative process, which put the effectiveness of the law at peril long before its adoption. This research is innovative as it does not merely provide insights into how the material law ought to look like, but how legislative processes are influenced, which could lead to bad legislation.

The project will make all findings available through open access publishing. It will have a public webpage containing a blog so that current developments can be commented upon. The project will produce practical reports at all stages as well as a final report that will be presented at a closing conference.


Boek of monografie

  • M Jesse(2016): The Civic Citizens of Europe , Leiden

Hoofdstuk in boek

Wetenschappelijk artikel


  • M Jesse(2017): The "Others" amongst "Us": Thoughts on Western Societies, Otherness, and the Law





Dr. M. Jesse

Verbonden aan

Universiteit Leiden, Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid, Departement Publiekrecht


Dr. M. Jesse


01/01/2015 tot 12/06/2018