Migration in Europe: a call for papers

Written by Nicholas Barrett on . Posted in Academic news, New posts

The Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, the Department of Political and Social Sciences and the IMISCOE Network have issued a call for papers in view of the upcoming conference Is Europe becoming more mobile during the economic crisis or is European mobility in crisis?.

The Conference, “Is Europe becoming more mobile during the economic crisis or is European mobility in crisis?” will take place on the 29th and 30th of January.

The organisers are looking for proposals that tackle the following:

  1. Is Europe mobile or sedentary? Patterns of mobility and diversity in Europe: internal and international, past and present.
  2. Is there a socio-economic, cultural and political divide between mobile and stable populations in Europe and if so, how is it political articulated?

The deadline is 30 September and all submissions should be sent to [email protected]

The Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies have published the following description of the event on the EUI website:

This conference aims to generate critical debate and new empirical and theoretical knowledge on mobility, or rather mobilities in the European space.

The conference questions the nature of mobility. We prefer to speak of mobilities, in the plural (see also Urry 2007, 2002). Mobility is defined as not necessarily spatial, but also virtual, and subjectively experienced rather than only objectively described (as migration from place A to place B or transition from study to work, or from job A to job B). Our theoretical framework is informed by Anthony Giddens’ analysis of modernity and self-identity (1991), as well as Zygmunt Bauman’s notion of liquid modernity (2000, 2007, 2011) and its critiques (for instance Abrahamson 2004, Atkinson 2008, Lee 2011, Beck and Lau 2005). Understanding the seemingly paradoxical picture of spatial ‘immobility’ of Europeans or even seeming apathy or inability to either angrily ‘voice’ or ‘exit’ (Hirschmann 1970) in the face of increasing hardship and decreasing hope, needs to factor in the in-built uncertainty, the liquidity of late modernity.

Our reading is open-ended: we question whether the limited spatial mobility of citizens and residents of the EU is a symptom of resistance to the neo-liberal transformation of societies and has a potential for re-embeddedness (re-solidification), or whether it is a sign of defeat: in a world that worships ‘travelling light’ as improvement and progress, Europeans are/perceive themselves to be among the settled majority losers, unable to recast themselves as members of the nomadic, extraterritorial elites that Bauman has so poetically analysed.

If the crisis has induced both involuntary mobility and persistent sedentariness, the following questions arise: How is this division articulated in terms of socio-economic inequalities and cultural distinctions between mobile and sedentary populations in Europe? How are these divisions politically mobilized and how are they reinforced or modified through regulatory policies? Is the distinction between free internal movement for EU citizens, on the one hand, and immigration control and integration policies for third country nationals, on the other hand, gradually eroding and being replaced by a deeper division between mobile and sedentary populations?

Building on these reflections, the conference questions how cultural attachments and social networks assume a central role in defining the social experience and are crucial meso-factors that guide decision-making on spatial as well as socio-economic mobility, even in conditions of ‘free movement’ policies within the EU.