CFP: Proposal for journal special issue “Beyond borders and belonging: Reconceptualizing legality, mobility, and inclusion in global context”

Jennifer Cook's picture
Call for Papers
July 31, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Borderlands, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Political Science, Sociology

Call for contributors:

Proposed special issue on

im/migrant legal inclusion



Beyond borders and belonging: Reconceptualizing legality, mobility, and inclusion in global context”



Jennifer A. Cook, Southern Methodist University

Estefanía Castañeda Pérez, University of California, Los Angeles



For more than three decades, scholars across the social sciences have examined how the categories of exclusion encoded in state immigration laws shape im/migrant life. A robust body of literature examines the impact of illegality (ie. undocumented/unauthorized status) and liminal legality (ie. temporary statuses like guestworker visas) on im/migrant populations, and in turn, how immigrants and their families cope with, resist, negotiate, and even reshape the legal parameters that constrain their lives.


In contrast, im/migration studies scholarship has placed relatively little focus on the forms of legal inclusion created by states.


This special issue proposes to bring together innovative articles focused on underexplored populations including transnational and transborder citizens and “full” legal immigrants (ie. “lawful permanent resident” in the U.S., “carte de resident” in France, “visa de residencia permanente” in Mexico, etc.). Especially encouraged are contributions centered on the attainment of legality/citizenship as a form of strategic mobility (ie. socioeconomic, spatial, etc.), the meaning or reconceptualization of legality and citizenship across borders and in transnational contexts, and the relationship between legal inclusion and subjectivity among im/migrants and citizens. Questions of particular interest include:


  • What are the different forms of “full” legal status in international context? What are the pathways to legal inclusion and how do these distinct pathways shape im/migrant incorporation, identity, and belonging?
  • How do (im)migrants with legal status and/or citizens conceive of and negotiate legal inclusion in contexts of transnational/global mobility? How does legal inclusion influence identity, membership, and belonging?
  • How do legalities/legal statuses translate across borders? How does “legal” or “authorized” mobility across borders and boundaries intersect with notions of morality and belonging?
  • How does geographic mobility shape the rights and benefits of legal inclusion and/or citizenship?
  • What impact does legality have on the rights and wellbeing of im/migrant and transnationally mobile citizens? What protections does it afford and what vulnerabilities remain? (How) does legal status intersect with other identities (ie. race, class, gender), to magnify, transform, or mitigate intersecting forms of vulnerability?


Taken together, the articles in this special issue will contribute to a more complete theorization and reconceptualization of im/migrant il/legality and chart an agenda for more robust exploration of legality in im/migration studies.


Call for submissions:

We are seeking 3-5 additional contributors to submit original pieces for this special issue. We plan to submit the selected contributions for consideration for publication in a special issue. Depending on the final list of selected authors, contributions may be requested as full article-length pieces (ie. 9-10,000 words) or as shorter pieces (5,000 words).


We welcome contributions from scholars from all disciplines whose articles focus on the social, cultural, political, and historical dimensions of immigrant legality/legal inclusion. While we welcome a variety of methodological approaches, we prefer perspectives on im/migrant life that utilize ethnographic, in-depth, conceptual, interpretive, or theoretical approaches.


Articles may address populations with legal im/migrant or citizenship status in any global context (including economic and forced migration, and domestic/internal migrations as well as international migrations). We are particularly interested in contributors writing about non-U.S./Mexico migration contexts.


To be considered for the proposal for the special issue, please submit a 250-word (max) abstract with your name, current affiliation and title, and contact information by Monday, July 27th, to the editors at: and, with the following subject line: “Legality SI Abstract: [LAST NAME].” Participating contributors will be selected and notified by August 5th. In your email, please indicate the current status of the paper (ie. if it has been outlined or drafted). Please also indicate your primary discipline and methodological approach in either your abstract or email.

Contact Info: 

Jennifer A. Cook, Southern Methodist University,,

Estefanía Castañeda Pérez, University of California, Los Angeles,

Contact Email: