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Call for papers for the international conference on
The Fragility of Global Migration
Spring meeting of the DGS section “Migration and Ethnic Minorities” in cooperation with the Center of Methods in Social Sciences, University of Göttingen
May 20 and 21, 2021, Tagungszentrum an der Sternwarte / Online, University of Göttingen
While fragility may be a novel and unexpected aspect of migration for many in Germany, Europe, or the Global North, it is nothing new for those in the Global South for whom travel restrictions, disruptions, vulnerabilities, and uncertainties play a central role in the planning and practice of migration, the maintaining of transnational/translocal connections, and memories of migration. It can confidently be said that only for those who are more privileged has the Covid-19 pandemic revealed how fragile migration can be, even for well-connected mobile individuals. We will use the current pandemic crisis as an opportunity for reflection, with a conference theme that focuses on the “fragility of migration”.
The term fragility has rarely been used systematically and in a well-defined way in sociology. We suggest taking the meaning “the state of being easily broken, damaged or destroyed” as a starting point to explore disruptions, vulnerabilities, and uncertainties in the context of migration, and to elaborate its analytical power. In this way, we shift the perspective from fragile regions, countries or societies to the fragility of migration itself. Clearly, “unforeseen” disruptions are an important aspect of fragility. We think of environmental disasters, unnatural catastrophes, and all sorts of crises that lead to stalled and failed migration processes, and the long and short-term consequences. Especially processes of refugee migration are structurally fragile, involving vulnerabilities, strange and difficult encounters, and often overwhelming economic, social, or legal hindrances.
We invite papers dealing with research questions that include (but are not limited to) the following topics:
- What are the fragilities of the process of migration itself? What are the consequences of these fragilities, both negative and positive?
- How do disrupting events affect processes of migration (generate, distort...)?
- How do experiences of fragile migration impact life histories and how are memories of it transmitted between different generations in families or within other social groups?
- How are people rendered vulnerable before, during, and after migration? How does it influence people, their decisions, perceptions, etc.?
- What patterns can be identified in different processes of stalled and failed migration?
- What strategies are used to maintain transnational/translocal connections in times of crisis?
- In what different ways do people experience curfews, travel bans and other travel restrictions in and between the Global North and the Global South?
- What opportunities are there for new forms of agency in the context of fragility?
- Is there a “normality” in global migration and what would be its other?
- Can the freedom of movement and migration be curtailed and/or structured by global regimes such as economic, security or human rights regimes?
- What is the structure and impact of emergency regimes on migration?
- Fragile states, fragile ecologies, fragile migration... Is fragility the new normal?
We invite papers that contribute to the above-mentioned topics or other aspects of the “fragility” of migration. We welcome presentations of quantitative or qualitative research dealing with contemporary or historical phenomena, or looking at them from a processual perspective. We prefer papers that combine empirical and conceptual considerations. Contributions from colleagues in the Global South are encouraged.
The deadline for applications is January 31, 2021.
Please send your abstracts (250 words, in English) via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notification of admissions will be announced by February 28, 2021.
We intend to hold the conference on-site on the specified dates. However, due to the global pandemic conditions, we ask you to keep in mind that we might have to move it to an online platform or use a hybrid format. We will try to keep you informed in a timely manner. Thank you for your understanding.
Johannes Becker, University of Göttingen
Mathias Bös, Leibniz University Hannover
Sevil Çakır Kılınçoğlu, University of Göttingen
Salah E. El-Kahil
University of Duisburg-Essen