February

(Open) Seminar in Forum for Transnational Migration Research

February 21, 15.00–17.00, Högbomsalen, Geovetenskapens hus
Thomas Faist, Professor, Bielefeld University

A Transnational Approach to Migration: Concepts and Methodology

This seminar examines the transnational approach in migration studies. First, we discuss the initial conceptualizations of the transnational perspective on migration and efforts at systematization. Second, we evaluate the discussions around contentious issues regarding past vs. present transnationalism, the extent of transnationality among migrants, and transnationalization, globalization, states and politics. This part includes a typology of transnationalization in which transnational social spaces are differentiated according to the internal characteristics of group organization and the extent of common or shared values and symbols. Third, we examine methodological notes on transnational research in order to assess the term transnationality. We identify multiple research techniques used in transnational studies in light of the fact that nowadays mixed methods research is on the rise. Finally, we discuss some venues for further research through a transnational optic where the focus should be on changing boundaries as social spaces are composed of dynamic processes.

Recommended reading: Thomas Faist, Margit Fauser, Eveline Reisenauer. 2013. Transnational Migration. Cambridge: Polity.

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

February 22, 10.00–12.00, B600
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).

 

March

(Open) Seminar in Forum for Transnational Migration Research

March 14, 15.00–17.00, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus
Peter Gatrell, Professor, University of Manchester

Writing Refugees into Modern World History

The plight of refugees has again become a dominant focus of public debate as it was in the aftermath of the two world wars. It seems to speak to the desperation of displaced people and the intransigent stance adopted by many governments. In reflecting on the stance and role of historians, my talk proposes a history of population displacement that is attentive to the circumstances, actions and trajectories of refugees in different times and places, and what it means for refugees to encounter government officials and aid agencies, and to interact with one another as well as with people who had not been displaced. In thinking about refugees as agents rather than as flotsam and jetsam, I consider how refugees have expressed themselves, including as historians of their own predicament. My talk draws upon my own research and upon the growing historiography on key sites and moments of displacement in the 20th century. Ultimately it invites the audience to think about the category of ‘refugee’ and the contours of ‘refugee history’.

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.

 

CEIFO seminar

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.

 

April

CEIFO seminar

April 17, 13.00–14.30, B600
Anju Mary Paul, Associate Professor, Yale-NUS College, Division of Social Sciences (Sociology)

Is The Trailing Wife Always Disadvantaged?: Varying Contexts Of Return For The Wives Of Western-Trained Asian Scientists

Asian scientists who train in the West may settle down overseas or may choose to return to Asia at some point in their careers. For returning scientists who are married, this return decision will also impact their spouse.

Drawing from 50 interviews with Western-trained, Asian academic bioscientists and/or their spouses who returned to China, India, Singapore or Taiwan as a result of husband-directed or joint-directed decision-making, I examine the return experiences of trailing wives. I find significant variations in these experiences across the group of trailing wives as a whole, as well as within any given wife’s post-return experience. A typology of supportive and unsupportive “contexts of return” is proposed to highlight how social, cultural, legal, and economic factors influence the post-return experience of trailing wives, independent of husbands’ gender role attitudes, and challenge the stereotype of the disadvantaged trailing spouse.

Anju Mary Paul is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Yale-NUS College, Singapore. She is an international migration scholar with a research focus on migration to, from, and within Asia. She is especially interested in how gender, labour, race and ethnicity, as well as class, intersect at the moment of migration and the post-migration experience. Her research spans the migrations of low-wage Asian migrant domestic workers as well as high-skilled Asian-born, Western-trained bioscientists. She has published sole-authored articles in several journals, including the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Migration Studies, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Her books include Multinational Maids (Cambridge University Press 2017) and Local Encounters in a Global City (Ethos Books 2017).

Organised together with Forum for Asian Studies, Stockholm University.

 

(Open) Seminar in Forum for Transnational Migration Research

April 18, 15.00–17.00, Högbomsalen, Geovetenskapens hus
Anju Mary Paul, Associate Professor, Yale-NUS College, Division of Social Sciences (Sociology)

Multinational Maids: Stepwise Migration in a Global Labour Market

“Multinational” mobility is not restricted to the global elite. Drawing upon surveys with more than 1,000 Filipino and Indonesian migrant domestic workers in Singapore and Hong Kong, and in-depth interviews with well over 200 of these workers in Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Canada, and the United States, Anju Paul documents how some migrant domestic workers are agentically adopting stepwise international labor migration as part of long-term mobility projects for themselves and their families. In her talk, Dr Paul lays out the building blocks that have led to the emergence of this global phenomenon, highlighting similar patterns of stepwise migration among other migrant groups, including migrant nurses, IT professionals, foreign academics, and international students.

Anju Mary Paul is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Yale-NUS College, Singapore. She is an international migration scholar with a research focus on migration to, from, and within Asia. She is especially interested in how gender, labour, race and ethnicity, as well as class, intersect at the moment of migration and the post-migration experience. Her research spans the migrations of low-wage Asian migrant domestic workers as well as high-skilled Asian-born, Western-trained bioscientists. She has published sole-authored articles in several journals, including the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Migration Studies, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Her books include Multinational Maids (Cambridge University Press 2017) and Local Encounters in a Global City (Ethos Books 2017).

Discussant: Mark Johnson, Goldsmiths College, University of London

Organised together with Forum for Asian Studies, Stockholm University.

 

May

(Open) Seminar in Forum for Transnational Migration Research

May 23, 15.00–17.00, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus
Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology, The New School for Social Research, New York

Border Walls: Transnational Design and the Politics of Humanity

In an age where people and things are circulating over an increasingly wide geographic range and with ever-greater speed – the refugee “crisis” in Europe is one such example of people on the move – we also see an invigorated commitment to technologies that confine movement – there are now 70 border walls or fences worldwide. Yet how do these walls work? In this talk, I am concerned by the ways in which border walls and zones come not simply to defend (i.e. certain territories), but to define – that is, to shape or alter categories of natural and human kinds. I will discuss the role and design of walls, and suggest that borders walls – such as those at the border of US-Mexico, Spain and Morocco, and France and the UK – and all the surrounding and transnational auxiliary technologies they harness, work by shifting how we understand different kinds of beings, ultimately rendering certain kinds killable.

Miriam Ticktin is Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology at the New School for Social Research. Her research has focused in the broadest sense on what it means to make political claims in the name of a universal humanity. She is the author of Casualties of Care: Immigration and the Politics of Humanitarianism in France (University of California Press, 2011) and In the Name of Humanity: The Government of Threat and Care (co-edited with Ilana Feldman, Duke University Press, 2010), along with many other articles and book chapters. She is a founding editor of the journal Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development. Ticktin is currently at work on two related book projects: 1) a short book on innocence as a political concept, and how it produces an unending search for purity; 2) a book on practices of containment at the border, from border walls to spaces of quarantine.

 

CEIFO seminar

Thursday May 24, 15.00–17.00, B658
Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology, The New School for Social Research, New York

Innocence, Care and the Politics of Sanctuary?

This talk will explore the relationship of innocence and care, particularly in humanitarian situations, with the goal of reconfiguring and reclaiming a more radical political concept of care that works across temporalities and affective registers. Is a non-innocent form of political care possible? If so, what does it look like? I will draw on recent feminist theories of care, and think with other political movements, such as that for “expanded sanctuary”; ultimately, the talk will push anthropological methods into the speculative: how might we imagine, design and amplify possible alternate political forms?

Miriam Ticktin is Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology at the New School for Social Research. Her research has focused in the broadest sense on what it means to make political claims in the name of a universal humanity. She is the author of Casualties of Care: Immigration and the Politics of Humanitarianism in France (University of California Press, 2011) and In the Name of Humanity: The Government of Threat and Care (co-edited with Ilana Feldman, Duke University Press, 2010), along with many other articles and book chapters. She is a founding editor of the journal Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development. Ticktin is currently at work on two related book projects: 1) a short book on innocence as a political concept, and how it produces an unending search for purity; 2) a book on practices of containment at the border, from border walls to spaces of quarantine.