Se också information om föreläsningar och seminarier inom Forum för transnationell migration.



CEIFO seminar

Monday January 29, 13.00–14.30, B600
Niina Vuolajarvi, PhD candidate, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and visiting researcher, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

Precarious Intimacies – Migration and Sex Work in the Nordic Region

The combination of migration and sex work often evokes images of sexual violence and exploitation associated with sex trafficking. Many activists and scholars have begun to criticize the proliferation of the sex trafficking discourse and the way it has begun to dominate current discussions on commercial sex in general. They recognize that the extent of sex trafficking is exaggerated and that trafficked persons do not form a majority of persons in commercial sex. It is clear, then, that the trafficking framework is inadequate to the task of describing the variety of experiences of labor and exploitation in the field of commercial sex: the problems migrants encounter in this field are more often related to the institutional structures of immigration and the implementation of prostitution policies that restrict and prevent possibilities for autonomous work and access to alternative spheres of labor than to individual traffickers.

Based on an ongoing fieldwork among migrant sex workers in Finland, Norway and Sweden this paper examines the meaning of borders - the spaces where immigration policies and restrictions are materially condensed - in the lives of sex workers. Following the formulation of Enrica Rigo, borders need to be viewed as institutions that produce social relations. I provide a theoretical and conceptual framework to discuss the role of borders in creating living and working conditions for sex workers within the European border regime. This regime both restricts and enables a structural background for migrant sex work. Migration enables new forms of income, but at the same time borders often strip migrants from their acquired and accumulated resources and compel them to resort instead to their embodied resources. As a result intimacy, in the form of gendered sexuality, becomes for many the means of acquiring mobility and income. This paper explores the forms of intimate relationships migrants develop in their migration and residency processes. Migrants’ various types of intimate relations to men function as ways to get income, organize housing, gain access to the country, avoid police harassment and gain permanent residence. These relations posit migrants into uncertain and shifting gendered relations of dependency that they use to advance their lives, but which also make them vulnerable to exploitation. Intimacy, then, assumes a double function: it is both a resource and a source of precarity, a dual nature I try to capture with the concept of precarious intimacies.

Niina Vuolajärvi is a PhD student at Rutgers University, Department of Sociology. She has conducted over two years of ethnographic fieldwork and around 200 interviews with primarily migrant sex workers, but also with national sex workers, social and health care workers, the police, and policy-makers. Her PhD project studies the so-called Nordic prostitution model and its intersection with immigration policies in three countries that have adopted some degree of client criminalization: Finland, Norway, and Sweden.



CEIFO seminar

Monday February 12, 13.00–14.30, B600
Livia Johannesson, PhD, Department of Political Science, Stockholm University

In Courts We Trust: administrative Justice in Swedish Migration Courts

In my research I have investigated how judicial practices generate administrative justice in asylum determination procedures. Previous research on immigration policies argues that when asylum determinations are processed in courts, principles of administrative justice are ensured and immigrants’ rights protected. I scrutinize that argument by approaching administrative justice as an empirical phenomenon open for different types of interpretations. Instead of assuming that administrative justice characterizes courts, I assume that this concept acquires particular meanings through the practices of the courts.

Empirically, this dissertation studies practices of assessing asylum claims at the Swedish migration courts. By interviewing and observing judges at the migration courts, litigators from the Migration Board and public counsels from different law firms, this interpretive and ethnographic study analyzes how administrative justice acquires meanings in the daily practices of assessing asylum claims at the migration courts.

The main result is that a ceremonial version of administrative justice is generated at the migration courts. This version of administrative justice forefronts symbolic dimensions of justice. The asylum appeal procedure succeeds in communicating justice through rituals, building design and metaphors, which emphasize objectivity, impartiality and certainty on behalf of the judicial practices. However, these symbols of justice disguise several unfair aspects of the asylum appeal procedure. The implications of these findings are that immigration policy research needs to reconsider the relationship between the courts and immigrants’ rights by paying more attention to the everyday practices of ensuing administrative justice in courts than on the instances when courts oppose political attempts to restrict immigrants’ rights.

Livia Johannesson is a political scientist specialized in immigration research, public administration and interpretive policy analysis. She defended her dissertation thesis in March 2017, which dealt with Swedish asylum policy and the role of courts in determining asylum claims. Livia often uses ethnographic methods in her research and has co-authored an introductory book to ethnography for political science. Currently, she studies decision-making in mega-project planning as she is part of a research project about the new University Hospital in Stockholm, Nya Karolinska Solna.


CEIFO seminar

Thursday February 22, 10.00–11.30, venue TBA
Thomas Faist, Professor, Bielefeld University

From Voice to Exit? Cross-Border Migration as a Transnational Social Question from the 19th to the 21st Century

On a world scale, distress and social instability are reminiscent of the social inequalities that obtained in a large part of nineteenth-century Europe. At that time the social question was the central subject of extremely volatile political conflicts between the ruling classes and working-class movements. Are we now on the verge of a new social conflict, this time on a world scale, characterized by manifold boundaries – such as those between capital and labour, global North and global South? This lecture traces exit and voice as the principal options for potential cross-border migrants from the late 19th century until the contemporary period. One major feature underlying the causes and dynamics of cross-border migration in Europe over the past 200 years has been social inequalities between regions of emigration, transit and immigration and within these regions. The politicization of such inequalities which refer to cross-border flows can be called the transnational social question. It becomes clear that an interpretation of the late 19th and early 20th century as the time of voice with respect to working class organization and of today as the time of exit in the face of an “age of migration” would be misleading. Instead, there are distinctive combinations of exit, voice and loyalty across time. Markedly, four long-term trends from the late 19th & early 20th century, through the post-World War Two period and the 21st century can be discerned: (1) the development of national welfare states as the main regulators of social protection as a response to political struggles around social inequalities; (2) the gradual emergence of sophisticated state migration control; (3) a perception of increasing heterogeneities and their politicization beyond class; and (4) in contrast to the 19th century and part of the 20th century a lack of a coherent theory around the social question which would be able to mobilize politically and intellectually. Instead, we find a multitude of theories and multiple new social movements.

See also filmed lecture with Thomas Faist: “Social Inequalities: What Role for Transnationality?

Thomas Faist is professor of Sociology of Transnationalization, Development & Migration at Bielefeld University. Professor Faist is a world-leading scholar in the research on cross-border migration but also on citizenship and development issues. Among his most famous publications are The Volume and Dynamics of International Migration and Transnational Social Spaces (Oxford 2000); Diaspora and Transnationalism: Concepts, Theories and Methods (with Rainer Bauböck, IMISCOE 2010) and Transnational Migration (with Fauser and Reisenauer, Cambridge 2013).



CEIFO seminar

Thursday March 15, 10.00–12.00, D900 (NB)
Peter Gatrell, Professor, University of Manchester

Writing migration into a history of Europe since 1945

I am writing a history of Europe since 1945 seen through the prism of migration. Europe has always been a continent of people on the move; it’s difficult to imagine any part of the continent that has been untouched by migration of one kind or another. The continent’s history and the history of individual European countries have been shaped by migration, by people voluntarily and often quietly crossing international frontiers or moving within a single country, by people who have migrated in order to escape from violence, by people who have been deported, and by those who didn’t migrate.

My book will begin with dead bodies: ‘People trying every way to get out in boats. Bigger ships could not come in, only little ships. I remember there was an old lady left to die, screaming. No-one to help her. Left to herself. We were lucky. We get out on little ship and then to big ship … There was no water in town. Canals full of dead people’. There are many more stories in the same vein, of individuals being literally as well as metaphorically engulfed. One eye-witness recalled: ‘the stench was terrible. There was no air. We didn’t know where we were going. We didn’t know how long we’d be on the ship. We couldn’t see anything’. Migration is partly about engulfment. The first quotation is the testimony of a Latvian refugee, describing the journey she made from the Baltic coast to Lübeck, in a desperate attempt to evade the Soviet Red Army in May 1945. The second is a quotation from the words of an Algerian woman described being transported to France in 1962, along with hundreds of other harkis, Algerians and their families who fought on behalf of the French during the bitter conflict over the status of Algeria.

Historical testimony such as this can make us sit up and take notice. It can prompt us to think about what is familiar and what is unfamiliar about migration and about how migration is and has been represented. It has the capacity to challenge unwarranted suggestions that what happens today is ‘unprecedented’. Precedents direct our attention to the scale and suddenness of migration, as in ‘refugee crisis’, but also require us to think about motives, opportunities and constraints on people who migrate. As the late Adam McKeown put it: ‘the arguments about migration are numbingly familiar … the intractable positions of migration debates seem to be trapped in an incestuous cycle of call and response that has little to do with the dynamics of migration itself’. In my presentation I want to talk about dynamics – changes in political, economic and other contexts – and about the aspirations of migrants, against the backdrop of constraints of numerous kinds.

Peter Gatrell teaches history at the University of Manchester where he is also affiliated to the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute. He is the author of a trilogy of books on refugee history, including A Whole Empire Walking: Refugees in Russia during World War 1 (1999) and The Making of the Modern Refugee (2013). His latest book, co-edited with Lyubov Zhvanko, is Europe on the Move: Refugees in the Era of the Great War, 1912-1923 (2017). He is currently writing a history of migration in/to Europe since 1945, for Penguin Books and Basic Books.

Organised together with the Department of History (Modernhistoriska seminariet), Stockholm University.



CEIFO seminar

Monday May 7, 13.00–14.30, B600
Megha Amrith, PhD, Max Planck Institute for The Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

Title and abstract TBA