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IMER Bergen
NMR Conference 2024

The politics of mobility and precarity – and the alternatives

IMER Bergen is honoured to invite you to the 22nd Nordic Migration Research Conference at the University of Bergen 14-16 August 2024. The conference is organized in cooperation with Nordic Migration Research

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Main content

The 22nd NMR conference focuses on the complex entanglements of mobility and precarity in the context of international migration. By focusing on mobility and precarity, the conference draws attention to how migrants and different ethnic groups experience precarity from subjective and structural standpoints and how these shape how they navigate their everyday lives. 

Synopsis

Increased movement across geopolitical borders are emerging together with new forms of exclusion, exploitation, and stratification. Migrants and refugees, those on the move and those who have arrived in Nordic countries and beyond, face precarity when navigating different welfare and migration regimes and in their everyday lives. Precarity also shapes their (transnational) family and intimate relations, and possibilities for agency. 

Drawing attention to the connections between mobility and precarity before, during, and after migration offers a point of departure for exploring how migrants’ movements and presence are embedded in and shaped by asymmetric, historically evolved power structures and relations that operate at various scales. It highlights how precarity is produced and exacerbated, sometimes unintended, through policies, political and economic forces, socio-cultural practices as well as processes of racialization. It also attends to the subjective, social and embodied experiences of mobility and being a migrant or refugee. Mobility and precarity can be a condition of marginality, but also a basis for mobilization and activism among migrants. 

Migration scholarship has documented how citizenship, migration and asylum policies differently distribute access to (social and physical) mobility along the axis of gender, race, ethnicity, nationality and class. The salience of disparities in human mobility is illustrated in the normative distinction between positively connoted mobility of so-called expats on the one hand and problematised migration on the other. The concept of precarity, and related notions such as precariousness, precarisation, and the precariat, has gained importance in migration research and social sciences more broadly.

Definitions of precarity
While there are different, and at times conflicting, definitions of precarity, the concept is broadly used to articulate life worlds characterised by unpredictability and insecurity. It commonly foregrounds the political economy of neoliberal globalisation and its affective implications, but can also address the unequal distribution, and interlinkages, of social recognition and support more broadly. Although not all migrants are facing precarious conditions, and not everyone who is precarious is a migrant, measures to control mobility and migration are no doubt distinctive drivers of precarisation. Precariousness affects people differently depending on intersectional differences such as race, class, legal status, migration background, gender, and education.

The issue of precarisation is affecting both the global south and the global north, although in different ways. By focusing on mobility and precarity, the conference invites discussion on

(i) how migranticisation and precarisation operate in and through citizenship, migration and refugee policies and migration management/control, 

(ii) how migration and asylum governance is co-constitutive of broader systems of inequality,

(iii) how migrant precariousness is one effect of various labour and economic relations and dynamics (both in the global south and the global north),

(iv) how the restructuring of the labour market affects migrants, because it frequently includes a higher percentage of migrants than non-migrants,  

v) precariousness as an emergent form of migrant subjectivity, affecting everyday life, as well as intimate and social relations

vi) how precarity and processes of racialisation and ‘othering’ affect communities and ethnic groups in the Nordic countries,

vii) how mobility and precarity shape agency, including creating grounds for activism,

viii) the role that governments, international organizations like UN and EU, non-state organizations, private enterprises, and citizens and their attitudes play in the making of the mobility-precarity nexus. 

ix) We also ask what a focus on the politics of mobility and precarity brings forth – and what are the alternatives? Could it contribute to the called for effort to de-migrantisize the field? Or does it reinforce and reproduce the exceptionalism of the migrant subject and naturalizing migrants as precarious?

Keynote speakers

We are delighted that Bridget Anderson (University of Bristol), Ayhan Kaya (Istanbul Bilgi University) and Shahram Khosravi (University of Stockholm) will each deliver keynotes.

Keynote Abstracts

Migration and Precarity, a Denationalist Approach - Bridget Anderson

In this presentation I will argue for the importance of thinking with and against migration in the research and politics of precarity. Thinking with migration illuminates the productive nature of immigration controls, and their importance as a mechanism of labour control and profit. Thinking against migration enables us to make connections between migrants and citizens’ struggles against precarity, rather than taking them as competitors for the privileges of membership. Both of these moves emphasise the temporal nature of precarity, and highlight the importance of attending to the (often invisibilised) temporalities of state controls over citizens and migrants alike.

Politics of Hospitality and Precarity - Ayhan Kaya

Forced migration produces multiple vulnerabilities in terms of safety, accommodation, employment, mental health, and future prospects. Wrestling precarity and uncertainty as well as living in limbo, thus, often represent the norm rather than the exception in the everyday lives of refugees everywhere. Migration scholarship has so far studied many pathways to precarity that refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers navigate through their differential inclusion in receiving societies. In the first place, the ambiguity in the legal status of refugees places them in positions that foster their subordination and structural outsiderism. By creating a selective spectrum of legal statuses that let some people in while keeping others out, migratory regimes create cheap and disposable sources of labour without political influence or protection. The status of temporary protection granted to the Syrian migrants by the Turkish state since the beginning of their mass migration in 2011 illustrates very well how these selective legal statuses can operate in creating cheap and disposable sources of labour. Referring to the findings of my ongoing research regarding the state of Syrian refugees in Turkey over the last decade, this talk will delve into the elaboration of how they have been so far framed by the Justice and Development Party rule, and how they have responded to the ongoing state of precarity in everyday life. This talk will first elaborate on the main discursive frames constructed by the state actors in Turkey to frame the Syrians underscoring the discourse of guesthood and hospitality, and how the Syrian refugees have responded to these frames that resulted in hyper-precarity over the years. Deconstructing the main discursive frame that has been generated by the government over the last decade with a specific focus on the Islamist discourse of Ansar (an Arabic word that means helper), I will argue that this was an attempt by the pro-government business circles with religious backgrounds to conceal their acts of creating cheap and disposable sources of the workforce in the predominantly informal labour market. I will also argue that Syrian refugees respond to their state of precarity by relying on jokes, irony, humor, metaphorical speech acts, and various other tactics that we are familiar with in the works of sociologists such as Michel de Certeau, James C. Scott, and Alf Lüdtke. As part of this examination, I will also explore how members of the majority society perceive them within various local contexts, contributing to the emergence of an increasing Arabophobia in Turkey.

Precarization through Integration- Shahram Khosravi

Integration both as an analytical tool and as a policy concept is grounded on a contradiction, i.e. assuming people who already are inside to be outside. The integration discourse exists through reproducing the migrant figure as one who is perpetually an outsider and should be integrated through transformation. Accordingly integration results in sustaining the bordering practices in the form of the idea that there are some people who are outside the society and should be transformed into translatable people to be included. Through systemic repetition of bordering, the society reproduces an image of itself as fixed and given. In this talk, I will argue how precarization operates in and through integration. Governmental precarization, in the name of integration, destabilizes people’s ways of living and their sense of belonging. 

 

Nordic Panel

Title: Precarity of migrants in the Nordic countries: conditions, challenges and research approaches

Panelists : Lena Näre, Zachary Whyte, Oksana Shmulyar Gréen, Marry-Anne Karlsen

List of accepted panels/workshops

1. Mobilization in precarious times

This workshop draws attention to forms of social mobilization around issues of mobility and precarity. How do migrants and minorities mobilize against precarious living conditions, racialized forms of exclusion, and various forms of racial and material injustice?

How do they produce future imaginaries, politics of hope, and new ways of living together? How are alliances forged across social movement groups, and with other actors, including within the state?  How do advocates and protest groups engage in strategies to shift verbal and visual representations along with policy? What are the different vehicles of protest and mobilisation, such as for instance street protests, arts, legal contestations, the organisation of self-help or autonomous groups?

We welcome papers that address different forms of mobilization across multiple spatialities and temporalities, empirically and/or theoretically.

Keywords: mobilization, precarity, racialization, alliances, imaginaries

Authors: Mette Andersson (presenting),  Christine M. Jacobsen (presenting)

3. Strategies for overcoming uncertainty and creating belonging among globally mobile individuals

Today’s world strongly challenges the assumption that people would live in a single place throughout their lives. Global mobility is here to stay, and it has permanent consequences on who we are and where we belong. Transnational migration spans geographical, cultural and societal boundaries and calls for us to understand how (new) forms of identity, belonging and nationhood emerge. The focus of this panel lies on the strategies which differently situated migrants develop in order to overcome the uncertainty related to them being ‘on the move’ and in an in-between space.

This panel adopts two theoretical lenses, belonging and liminality, to look at how highly educated migrants, refugees, and cosmopolitan individuals experience global mobility and how are they able to seek out, grasp and create new opportunities along their journey. In doing so, the presentations highlight more nuanced ways to understand migration from an agentic perspective of the involved individuals rather than as a global policy-level phenomenon treating mobile individuals as subjects of support rather than active agents.

Keywords: uncertainty, liminality, belonging

Authors: Riikka Harikkala-Laihinen (presenting), Maria Ivanova-Gongne (presenting), Niina Nummela (presenting)

4. A new beginning? Precarity as total social fact and enduring condition among resettled refugees

Refugees in UNHCR’s resettlement program have fled their country of origin and lived, often for many years, in refugee camps. Camp life is marked by an ‘all-encompassing precarity’, understood as a range of intersecting vulnerabilities and insecurities related to legal status, poverty, food scarcity, safety, insufficient access to health or education, etc. In this respect, precarity becomes what Marcel Mauss famously coined ‘a total social fact’, affecting all aspects of life. Resettlement involves a radical transition from one part of the world to another. In many countries, resettled refugees are subject to work-fare programs promoting (neoliberal) values such as independence, discipline, and self-sufficiency, and the refugees often encounter an arrival infrastructure of state and non-state actors such as NGOs, religious communities, diaspora-networks, and new neighbours. Despite the differences between the receiving countries in “the global north”, the precarity of the camp life oftentimes continue to be salient after resettlement but may take new forms.

Resettlement is nonetheless conceptualized as a new beginning; a move towards a life marked by security and new possibilities. In this panel, we wish to explore this assumption by asking: How do various forms of precarity inform everyday life after resettlement? How do pre-resettlement experiences of physical and sexual violence, food scarcity, illness, poverty, or other forms of suppression travel along and haunt individuals after resettlement? How do factors such as legal status, housing, social services and economic support, access to health, education, or the labour market sustain or produce new forms of precarity? And to what extent do significant others in the guise of family, kin, or diaspora networks shape experiences of precarity? We invite papers that shed light on resettlement processes and pay particular attention to how various forms of precarity “travel along”, and how they are experienced and transformed in the everyday.

Keywords, Resettlement, precarity, everyday life, refugees

Authors,  Emilie Mortensen (presenting), Mikkel Rytter (presenting), Mette Kusk (presenting)

5. Sociolegal precaritisation of Migrant Workers and their labour

The panel will discuss existing discrepancies and inequalities of welfare and citizenship shaped by im/mobilities of migrant workers, and how that in turn shapes global im/mobilities. Understanding precarity as structural, this panel calls for a conversation that connects different negotiation modes against precarious life and work circumstances endured by migrant workers, across different levels such as individual workers, collectives, organisations, and states. It aims to shed light on tangible strategies against precarious life conditions unique to migrant workers. At the same time, this panel is interested in finding out how certain tactics can also reproduce new divisions and hierarchies, leading to the creation of new inequalities.

We focus on the nexus of precarious work and legal/illegal status surrounding workers, i.e. citizenship understood as a set of rights and obligations, embodied hierarchies of nationality, race and gender, and class. In doing so, it explores precarious work and the relevant contextual factors (Legal, social economic or political) that foster this precarity. Its aim is to open up interdisciplinary discussion enabling a better understanding of precarious migrant workers’ negotiation - within, outside and in between legal frameworks - with the migration system, national state, and society. We invite submissions on themes such as, but not exclusively:

  • precarious work as downward mobility of professional and legal status, e.g. residence status
  • how precarity is fostered through legal apparatus, e.g. social welfare, labour and migration laws
  • Regulation of platform work and digitalisation of societal sphere and work
  • Social construction of ‘illegal’ work and precarity
  • Workers’ negotiation of precarious work conditions; allies and obstacles

Keywords: welfare, statuses, hierarchies, inequalities, negotiations

Authors: Dionysia Kang (presenting), Anna Sjödal (presenting)

6. Mixed-status transnational families in small and big crises: precarities and beyond

The struggle with migration policies and the exclusionary nature of citizenship affecting family life is certainly not a new phenomenon and has been explored in various contexts. While some transnational families live mobile lives seemingly unhindered by international borders and different citizenship statuses of the individual members, other transnational families are less privileged, such as those who have experiences deportations. In studies of transnational family life, a recurring find is that there is a definite incoherence between how people define, belong to, and experience their families versus the national and international legislative definitions of family.

Bonjour & de Hart’s concept of intimate citizenship (2020: 9) is one way to approach the way rights, identities, sense of belonging and status tied to citizenship is experienced on the ground. The last years’ various crises (e.g., Brexit, Covid-19, tightened immigration policies, wars in Ukraine and elsewhere) will have put strains on all transnational families, to various degrees. This workshop invites to a discussion of new developments in family migration research: How do transnational families handle the day-to-day issues arising from living across borders? Have recent crises changed the way transnational families see their future as mobile individuals and groups? How does “forced transnationalism” feature in mixed-status families’ narratives of precarity and resistance? Are there new developments in legal frameworks that will affect transnational living?

Keywords: mixed-status, transnational families, crisis

Authors:  Ida Tolgensbakk (presenting),  Eveliina Lyytinen (presenting), Anne Staver (presenting), Justyna Bell (presenting)

7. Revisiting the Interplay of Precarity, Housing, and Forced Migration

Experiences of precarity and safety among refugees are closely intertwined with their living and housing conditions. The necessity to provide adequate housing for refugees has therefore been acknowledged and is being emphasized on global, national and local levels of governance. However, stark discrepancies exist between stated needs and lived experiences of refugee housing. Also, in different national and regional contexts, refugee accommodation has become a source of political contestation and activism involving different actors with a variety of agendas. The quality of accommodation significantly impacts the physical and emotional well-being of individuals, including refugees. Research has shown that appropriate housing can foster a sense of belonging and facilitates positive experiences with the host society. Housing serves as a vital source of personal safety as it enables refugees to reclaim their privacy, establish a sense of familiarity, and build local networks. Conversely, housing can be a reflection and amplifier of precarity.

Persons who are seeking protection as well as persons holding refugee status often confront discrimination on the housing market, where they compete for limited affordable (social) housing with other socioeconomically marginalized groups. As a result, many refugees live in substandard and unhealthy conditions and experience socio-spatial segregation. Previous research has highlighted the intersection of precarity, housing and forced migration. In recent years, however, we have been observing new trends in public-political debates. These are tied to state-led attempts to develop strategies for short- and long-term accommodation of refugees amid a general intensifying housing crisis in urban areas across Northern European countries. Given these developments, we identify a need to revisit the interplay of precarity, safety and the politics of housing in the context of forced migration. In this workshop, we aim to discuss where the foci in migration research should lie when engaging with these issues from different disciplinary perspectives.

Keywords, housing, precarity, forced migration, asylum

Authors: Carolin Fischer (presenting), Manuel Insberg (presenting)

8. High-skilled migration - high mobility, low precarity?

The share of high-skilled migrants in global migration figures is increasing (importantly in the Nordics too), as is the academic interest in this particular form of migration. In contrast to their lower-skilled counterparts, high-skilled migrants are rarely seen as problematic entities in national policy frameworks. This divergence can be attributed, in part, to the perceived adaptability of high-skilled migrants to new environments, their reduced reliance on welfare state resources, the presumption of their transient nature, and their possession of comparable social class characteristics that make them more similar to the host population. As a result, national policies often focus on attracting 'foreign talent', while the societal impact of such initiatives is more likely to be felt and debated at the local or regional level, not least among high-skilled migrants themselves (how well are they received, how easy is it to feel at ‘home’, questions of social, spatial and temporal mobility, unforeseen vertical and horizontal social differentiation, etc.).

The panel welcomes papers that examine, the multidimensionality of high-skilled migrants’ constitution as a group and their experiences of transnational relocation. Topics include but are not limited to: policy on high-skilled migrants, how these ‘high skills’ are conceptualised within the companies employed them, various aspects of family dynamics that shape transnational mobility and processes of forming connections and relations in new countries and residence, how relations to ‘home’ and national identity are maintained, among others.

The panel will critically examine whether high-skilled migrants are indeed less vulnerable to precarity, or whether they face different forms of precariousness when compared to other migrant cohorts. Thus, the papers will examine differences between high-skilled migrants and other migrant groups, while also examining intra-group differences along the lines of citizenship, migration trajectories, gender, professional background, sector of employment and/or race or ethnic background.

Keywords: high-skilled migration, privileged migration, skills

Authors: Claire Maxwell (presenting), Gregor Schäfer (presenting)

9. Circular entanglements of mobility, precarity and health

Integration upon resettlement is influenced by health, yet, the experience of health itself is a co-production involving multiple and multifaceted post-migratory experiences of integration alongside pre-existing health problems and pre- and peri-migratory experiences. Centrally involved in this complex interaction is the individual’s own perception of one’s health and capabilities, and the understanding of the same held by society, including representants of healthcare and welfare services and gatekeepers to work and education. On the one side, poor health affects one’s ability to participate in the education system and the labour market and engage in society in general, and thus may be a risk towards social exclusion.

On the other side, poor integration policies, labour precarity and the lack of meaningful professional tasks, may result in deteriorating health. Health as assessed by healthcare services by the different diagnoses further affects the distribution of benefits, opportunities and barriers, and ultimately, determines quality of life. For high-skilled migrants, often seen and treated as resourceful, the dissonance between physical mobility across borders and lack of mobility in the labour market might be especially harming for health.  Migrants with higher education in their country of origin have lower employment rates than those who studied in Norway or find works for which there are overqualified and that they experience as meaningless. The processes of stagnation, struggle against bureaucracy, deskilling and fall in status resulting from the inability to convert higher education to the new home country constitutes a considerable fall in terms of mobility.

In this panel we propose that mobility can be understood not only in terms of physical migration but also within the professional sphere and that both can affect and be affected by health, and invite for papers related to the circular entanglements of physical and professional mobility and health.

Keywords, health, education, integration, migration

Authors,  Esperanza Diaz (presenting), Astrid Ouahyb Sundsbø (presenting)

10. Pathways to reduce precarity: perspectives, challenges, and opportunities

The ongoing war right on the border of the Nordic countries and the following increase in migration flow creates challenges for inclusion and potential root for precarity among ethnic minority groups. Several perspectives explain why ethnic minorities are discriminated against, experience disadvantages in education, work, and health. The concept of precarity may be more contextual rather than categorical, and can be understood as a consequence of situations, related to social positions and thus varying across contexts that disproportionately expose certain groups to risks of precariousness. Accordingly, people may become more or less vulnerable over the life course, especially at crucial transitions, as well as across different societal spheres.

To gain a better understanding of why and under which contextual conditions unequal access to resources are shaped and how context puts ethnic minorities in vulnerable positions and precarity, knowledge on the importance of intersectionality is needed. The aim of this panel is to bring together a range of perspectives of unequal access to resources, such as education, healthcare, welfare benefits, and work, and relate such factors to the intersection of e.g., immigration background, ethnicity, gender, disability, and age. Both single country and cross-national work, and qualitative and quantitative contributions are welcome.

The general questions of interest for the panel are not limited to, but include: What strategies do immigrants and ethnic minorities have to navigate for access to resources? What are the contextual determinants of precarity in education and work? How can social policy reduce the precarity in education, work, and access to welfare benefits of minority groups with migration background?

The “Pathways to inclusion” panel is hosted by members of the PATHS2INCLUDE project.

Keywords, precarity, minorities, education, work, intersectionality

Authors,  Elisabeth Ugreninov (presenting), Justyna Bell (presenting), Jon Rogstad (presenting)

11. Climate change-immobility nexus in Africa

Climate change is a threat to human survival and a defining crisis of our time. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its Sixth Assessment Report, emphasizes the wide-ranging effects of climate change, including changes in ecosystem structures, health and well-being, impacts on settlements, infrastructure, and implications for water and food security. Climate change is leading to rising sea levels, altering rainfall patterns, and an alarming surge in extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, and heatwaves, which are increasingly becoming the norm. These climatic events have far-reaching implications for human mobility. Existing studies on the climate change-mobility nexus broadly converge around two literature strands. One suggests that climate-induced stress and shocks significantly impact human mobility.  The other perspective highlights a less pronounced impact on human mobility. 

Recent years have witnessed a growing recognition of and focus on climate change and human immobility in a variety of contexts. These studies have shown that place attachment, family, occupational, social, cultural, and spiritual ties, ontological security, and risk assessment are factors that influence voluntary immobility amidst climate change stressors. Interestingly, these studies have focused mainly on coastal and island communities in Asia and Pacific regions, with limited attention to climate change-immobility in other geographic contexts, such as Africa. Meanwhile, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recognizes the coast of Africa as among “climate hotspots” in the world which constantly experiences the adverse effects of natural disasters ascribed to climate change.

In view of this scholarly gap, this panel proposal seeks papers from African scholars interested in the following questions:

  • What factors are shaping the migration–human immobility in the context of climate change in Africa?
  • How do people affected by climate change resist climate change regime discourses of relocation and resettlement in Africa?

Keywords, Africa, climate change, displacement, immobility.

Authors, Senanu Kutor (presenting)

12. Endings in migration and refugeehood

In order to start anew, one must find an ending. In migration studies, endings are an essential yet often underexplored part of the migration process; to settle in a new country, one must at least physically end the life in the previous country of residence. Residence permits end, and even asylum or citizenship may be revoked. The closing of refugee camps and onward migration close chapters in people’s lives; finally, even one's life may end in exile. Endings are a form of governance and of using political power. While an ending in the form of, for example, gaining citizenship can bring stability into one's life, other kinds of endings create and sustain precarity. As endings may be voluntary, forced, or something in between, the possibility of an involuntary ending is an essential source and producer of precarity. 

This workshop welcomes contributions about different types of endings related to migration, for example residence, refugeehood or naturalisation. The contributions can examine endings in their everyday, emotional, legal, institutional, material, or other dimensions. We focus especially, but not exclusively, on how endings are produced and constructed by policies and politics, on the one hand, and how they are experienced by those affected by them, on the other.

The workshop is organized in relation to Endings – Refuge, Time, and Space, a project combining research and arts to address whether refugeehood ever ends, and if so, how, when, and where. The project therefore explores possible closures, ends, finishes, cancellations, afterlives, post’s, no more’s, or terminations in refugeehood – and the spaces related to them.

Keywords, ending, experiences, legality, refugeehood, residence

Authors, Erna Bodström (presenting), Camilla Marucco Al-Mimar (presenting)

13. The End of Scandinavian Egalitarianism? Migration Policies in the long shadow of the 2015 “Refugee Crisis”

This session explores the extensive policy changes in Scandinavia in the wake of the so-called “refugee crisis” in 2015, and the long shadow cast by this event. Governments took the opportunity presented by this crisis to overhaul not only refugee law, but also rules concerning immigration, integration, citizenship and social security. These changes have occurred on different time frames in each country, and some changes were initially “temporary”, but later made permanent. Despite dominant discourses emphasizing aid to the “most vulnerable”, migrants now have more precarious access to social rights, family reunification and permanent residence.

The influx of large numbers of Ukrainian refugees in 2022 has led to further stratification, through a combination of easier access to protection, while at the same time limiting access to social rights and permanent residence for the very same group. In this session, we discuss some of the policy changes introduced after 2015 and examine their longer-term consequences for precarity, equality, and inclusion in the Scandinavian welfare states. We seek to understand policy rationales as well as public attitudes toward policy requirements. We ultimately ask how restrictive migration and refugee policies risk increasing inequality between citizens and different categories of migrants, and consider how they relate to long-term risks of economic and social precarity.

Proposed presentations:

  • Income requirements for permanent residence in Norway and Sweden
  • Who deserves to be granted family migration? A conjoint survey experiment on attitudes toward family migration in Sweden, Germany and Italy
  • In aid of the most vulnerable: Rhetorical and political responses at the Norwegian Parliament post-2015
  • The Economic Precarity of Elderly Refugees: Unintended Consequences of Policy Restrictions in Norway.

Keywords: "refugee crisis", immigration policy, egalitarianism

Authors: Helga Eggebø (presenting), Anne Balke Staver (Presenting), Guri Tyldum (presenting), Ragna Lillevik (presenting), Karin Borevi (presenting)

14. Trust Dynamics in Integration: Exploring the Two-way Process in Migration and Mobility Studies

In the fields of migration and mobility studies, integration is commonly understood as a two-way process encompassing the whole society. This perspective highlights that integration extends beyond the sole efforts and commitments of migrants, placing equal emphasis on societal receptivity towards all of us. Integration processes on local and societal levels are intricately linked to the notions of social and institutional trust. Trust is an integral part of social structures of work life, educational institutions, social services, leisure activities, and intimate relationships. The critical role of trust is particularly evident in instances of its betrayal or failure. Importantly, however, distrust or lack of trust may also be functional and serve, for example, as a survival strategy or a way of coping.

This workshop calls for presentations that discuss how trust is defined, built, challenged, broken or renegotiated in the contexts of integration. How can trust or distrust create or restrain precarity in the contexts of integration? How can we critically review the concept of integration and examine the possibilities and pitfalls of ‘two-wayness’ in integration research? We welcome presentations from various disciplines relating to trust and integration in various geographical and temporal contexts, and concerning various sectors of life (e.g., everyday life, labour market, institutional settings, social relationships). The proposals can be both traditional academic paper proposals or creative presentations. The workshop is organized by the researchers of the Mobile Futures research consortium.

Keywords: integration, two-way integration, trust, distrust

Authors: Elina Turjanmaa (presenting), Joa HiitolaSeija JalaginIida KauhanenLiselott SundbäckSari Vanhanen

15. Troubles in ethnic minority family relationships – exploring strains, conflicts and access to support

Migration brings different parts of the world into contact, counter-positioning divergent understandings of the state, the family and the individual. In Scandinavia, the state rather, than the family, ensures individual access to education, health care and protection against destitution. Minor children have individual rights, and a dual-earner model (rather than a bread-winner / home maker model) underpins high levels of both female employment and gender equality.

Arrival in this societal context can potentially challenge established power hierarchies and interactional dynamics in ethnic minority families. Intimate relations (between genders as well as between generations) can also come under pressure when families live with high rates of poverty, poor housing conditions, limited access to the (better parts of the) labour market, and other experiences of societal marginalization. 

This workshop explores how migrants live with, negotiate, and seek to amend, the precariousness arising from strained intimate relations: How may gender-equal access to divorce, and female access to both employment and state support be implicated in family conflicts and abuse? How may families respond to life in a society, where schools teach young people about gender-equal universal rights and inform children of hotlines to contact if they experience family hardships? In what ways are established ways of providing support for troubled families ill (or well) suited for the particular needs of ethnic minorities? How may troubled ethnic minority families be subjected to institutionalized forms of “civilizing” and domesticating practices that reinforce experiences of otherness and inequality?

The workshop welcomes empirical papers taking the perspective of individuals or families, facing a variety of intimate troubles. The workshop also welcomes papers that tackle the subject from the perspective of welfare state agencies or NGO’s, as they strive to provide troubled ethnic minority individuals and families with relevant forms of support.

Keywords: family relations, IPV, social work

Authors:  Anika Liversage (presenting), Rúna Baianstovu 

16. Migration, precarity and climate change: Beyond ‘catastrophist’ and ‘resilientist’ dichotomies

Migration related to climate change has been widely recognised as both a crucial global challenge (IOM, 2023), and a political tool used to securitise discourse around migration and maintain a neo-colonial, capitalist status quo (Ahuja, 2021). In academic debates, binary ‘catastrophist’ and ‘resilientist’ schools of thought have grown up in opposition to each other, arguably oversimplifying the complex relationships between climate change, migration, and political, economic, and social systems (Agustoni & Maretti, 2019).

In this panel, we examine the relationship between climate change and migration through a critical, cross-disciplinary lens. Our aim is to challenge oversimplified conceptualisations, introduce complexity, and initiate discussion about potential research directions in this field. The panel is rooted in the conference subthemes ‘intersections between climate, migration and precarity’ and ‘an analytical lens of mobility and precarity’. These themes are explored via three central questions:

  • How do migration, climate change and precarity intersect and in what ways can this impact individuals?
  • How do ‘climate reductive translations’ of migration (Dewan, 2023) circumvent discussion of political causes – and solutions – to improving global livelihoods?
  • How can interdisciplinary approaches to researching climate change and migration capture complex social, political and ecological drivers – and how can such an approach be applied to empirical work?

The first part of the panel will examine ways in which climate change stressors can impact upon children’s education outcomes, often via the pathway of forced migration and exacerbated by existing precarity. This will be followed by a presentation of empirical work that challenges climate-reductive narratives around migration in coastal Bangladesh. Finally, we introduce a novel analytical framework to guide interdisciplinary research about climate change and migration going forward.

Keywords: climate change, precarity, migration drivers

Authors: Caitlin Prentice (presenting), Camelia Dewan (presenting), Andréas Litsegård (presenting)  

17. Participatory approaches in migration and integration research- exploring aspects of knowledge production, ethics, practicalities and possible dilemmas in participatory methods

Participatory methods have gained widespread recognition for their utility in migration and integration studies. However, there has been limited systematic methodological elaboration around the merits, pitfalls and prospects of participatory research methods in this field.

Participatory research can involve both methods but also be based on ideological perspectives of democratization of knowledge. In participatory design, by striving to involve research participants more thoroughly in the research process, the goal is to establish more equitable power relations. Participants may be engaged as partners throughout the research process, from planning the research (including the research question) to conducting the research, and analysing the research results. The participatory approach often strives towards societal change and social justice. Importantly, it addresses questions such as epistemic positions and knowledge generation. We understand participatory methods as an umbrella theme including e.g. action research, participatory research, participatory action research and co-researching.

The aim of this workshop is an open and critical discussion based on the papers submitted as well as the researchers’ own experience. Participants are expected to actively engage in discussions that may extend beyond the scope of the submitted materials. We also encourage participants to pose “burning” questions related to participatory research designs. We invite early career and senior colleagues from various disciplines conducting or planning to conduct participatory research to discuss the following and related themes:

  • the meaning of co-creation of knowledge and shared learning processes in research
  • the ability of and conditions for participatory research to support societal change
  • the practicalities of doing participatory research
  • the ethics and possible dilemmas in doing participatory research

The workshop is arranged by researchers in the Mobile Futures research consortium. The workshop will be conducted in English.

Keywords: participatory methods, ethics, knowledge production

Authors: Sari Vanhanen (presenting), Liselott Sundbäck (presenting), Iida Kauhanen (presenting), Mervi Leppäkorpi, (presenting) Magdalena Kosová (presenting)

18. The role of labor market and the welfare state in labour inclusion of migrant women

In this panel, we are interested in exploring the role of systems and institutions in the (re-)production of these observed inequalities. We seek to move beyond and challenge the explanatory power of single individual (or cultural) factors commonly used to explain why migrant women do not (have paid) work. In the study of inclusion and exclusion processes we scrutinize how contexts, systems and institutions contribute to shape the problem of worklife inclusion and thus produce situated and embedded labour trajectories for migrant women.

Dynamics of marginalization occurs across levels and social fields (private sphere, labour market, welfare services), and precarization also takes place within the framework of the welfare state where the welfare state itself is the Across the Nordics we observe low labour market participation and precarious labour conditions of migrants and female refugees in particular. This situation has been persistent despite the welfare states’ efforts to foster social integration through work inclusion for all. This issue represents a societal challenge at the micro, meso and macro levels, as it among others may cause child poverty, poor women’s health, social and economic instability, limited social networks and loneliness. migrants’ employer (i.e. health and social care).

We welcome papers that address knowledge needs on the interplay between different factors – such as the relationship between legal regulations, welfare and employment policies, institutional practices and services; and lived experiences. We also invite contributions addressing a stated need for building knowledge around migrants’ own perceptions and experiences as regards access to services that support the likelihood of engagement in paid labour or notions of barriers and facilitating factors for participation in paid work.

Keywords: labour market, welfare state, women

Authors: Astrid Ouahyb Sundsbø (presenting), Carmen Theresa Hedlund Quintanilla (presenting)

19. Kinship and Precarity in the Contexts of Transnational Mobility

In the face of barriers to regular migration and changing contexts of transnational mobility, kinship obtains a particular significance for migrants and aspiring migrants. Different forms of kinship emerge in migration and mobility settings, materialising as a conduit to resources, especially for migrants in precarious situations. Migrants have often relied on the resources afforded by kinship before, during and after their migration journey, with kinship relations sometimes being the reason for migrating, including to breakout of relations, support the family or fulfil kinship expectations. Kinship is further a form of social capital that migrants sometimes use to realise their goals, often characterised by financial and social support undergirded by respect, reciprocity, intimacy, and trust. Yet, kinship and assistance through kinship sometimes place additional burdens on migrants living in precarious situations. Kinship relations can be the cause of exploitation and abuse amongst different migrant groups. Precarity can sever or reinforce kinship relations and vis-a-versa. 

In this panel, we explore the role of kinship in migration contexts, the various forms kinship can take in migration settings and how kinship contributes to prevent, reduce, or reinforce precarity. We welcome papers examining how kinship and kinship roles are created, performed, nurtured, or severed across borders and how kinship is linked to precarity. We also welcome papers that offer new conceptualisations of kinship that embrace its flexible and dynamic nature at the backdrop of restrictive migration policies globally and consequent precarity amongst different migrant groups. Ethnographically driven papers focusing on migrants within and from the Global South are particularly welcome, but ethnographic studies from other contexts are also welcomed.

Keywords: kinship, precarity, migration, mobility

Authors: Synnøve Bendixsen (presenting), Felicity Okoth (presenting)

20. Migrant Workers’ Multiple Precarities

In recent years, employment and labour market regimes have become increasingly flexible and employment security has eroded also in the Nordic countries. Employment-related precarity takes various forms ranging from involuntary part-time employment and zero-hour work contracts to gig work and bogus entrepreneurship characteristic in platform work. For migrant workers, labour market precarity is intensified by precarity related to residence permits, whether temporary or lacking altogether, in addition to labour market discrimination.

This panel proposes to include papers that examine how migrant workers confront and resist these multiple precarities, i.e., precarity in relation to employment, migration, and racialised labour regimes in the Nordic countries but also beyond. We are also interested in papers that examine the wider consequences of the erosion of secure employment in the Nordic countries. The panel is organised by the project Tackling Precarious and Informal Work in the Nordic Countries (PrecaNord, 2022-2026), funded by Future Challenges in the Nordics programme. 

Keywords: precarious work/mobilities, multiple precarities

Authors: Lena Näre (presenting), Ann Cathrin Corrales-Øverlid (presenting), Paula Merikoski (presenting)

21. Precariousness in the lives of creative and academic ‘migrants’ in the Nordics: on work, class, identities and hierarchies

Richard Florida's influential work, “The Rise of the Creative Class” (2002), categorises professionals such as scientists, engineers, academics, poets, architects, individuals in design, arts, music, and entertainment as part of the “creative class”. This group is characterised by its economic and social role in generating innovative ideas, technology, and creative content. The concept of the creative class is employed to elucidate disparities in urban and regional economic performance, particularly in developed market economies during the era of globalisation. In contrast to traditional human capital theories that primarily emphasise skill concentrations, the creative class framework places greater emphasis on factors related to quality of life when accounting for the distribution of highly skilled occupations across geographical areas.

However, within the framework of the “creative class” and “creative city”, there has been a notable oversight regarding the migration and mobility dynamics of this group, along with the economic and social challenges they encounter abroad. The recent literature on creative class as ‘migrants’ increasingly underscore the mobility-precarity nexus and experiences of socio-economic inequalities. This panel invites scholars to engage in theoretical and empirical discussions focusing on creative and academic ‘migrants’ including PhDs, in the Nordic region.

The proposed papers may encompass themes such as, a) the reasons for immigration to specific Nordic countries, b) experiences and challenges in the labour market, c) reflections on ethnic, national, and class identities and hierarchies, d) the ways in which intersectionality play out (e.g. gender, immigration status, nationality) in precariousness related to work and social life, e) strategies to overcome precariousness related to work and residence permit, f) experiences of systematic and perceived discrimination hindering economic, social, and political integration.

The panel is primary focused on – but not restricted to – the cases of migrants (voluntary or forced) who are initially non-EU nationals, residing in a Nordic country.

Keywords: creative migrants, Nordics, precariousness

Author: Nilay Kılınç (presenting)

22. Navigating the Nexus: Climate Change, Migration, and Vulnerabilities in the Global South

Climate change represents one of the most pressing challenges of our time, with its impact felt disproportionately by the Global South. In a world grappling with increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, and erratic weather patterns, one of the most salient repercussions is the displacement of populations. Yet, the ramifications of climate change on human mobility are multifaceted. Beyond merely inducing migration or displacement, it exacerbates vulnerabilities of potential migrants, migrants in transit, and migrants after their arrival at their destinations. In light of this, it is imperative to interrogate how climate change intersects with the reciprocal relationship between migration and development processes.

Responding to this, our panel seeks to unravel the intricate connections between climate change, human mobility, and vulnerabilities in the Global South. Beyond the widely referenced term "climate refugee", we assert the need to recognize the myriad causes and manifestations of climate-induced and climate-affected migration. These can span from voluntary adaptive transitions to outright forced displacements, internal or cross-border movements, or even climate-related immobility. In this exploration, we highlight the intertwining of climatic factors and migratory movements with elements such as poverty, governance, institutional constraints, socio-economic disparities, and socio-cultural facets like age, race, class, and gender.

Striving to bridge existing disciplinary chasms in this research domain, we offer a holistic view into challenges faced before, en route, and at migration destinations. We look at how the added burden of climate change affects the adaptation and migration strategies of the individuals affected.  The panel will also venture into policy terrain, emphasizing the role of government and NGO stakeholders in mitigating or responding to climate-induced or -affected migration. In summary, the paper presentations included endeavour to illuminate the multifaceted nexus of climate, migration, and precarity in the Global South, offering insights into the challenges faced and their potential solutions.

Keywords: climate change, migration, Global South

Authors: Jon Einar Flatnes (presenting), Cathrine Talleraas (presenting), Hanna Geschewski (presenting), Are Knudsen (presenting), Yograj Gautam (presenting)

23. Precarious health encounters - migrant women’s unequal access to health care in the Nordic welfare states

Health, and consequently ill-health, hits differently in a population. Research on immigration health in Norway concludes that the burden of disease is higher for immigrants, and that immigrants utilize health care services differently than the majority population. The Norwegian Official Expert Report “The Big Difference” (NOU 2023:5), strongly highlights that women’s health and wellbeing is de-prioritized in both research and the health system, leading to greater inequalities in health for women, and particularly migrant women, throughout their life course.

Neoliberalism has changed the Nordic Welfare Model and also the healthcare system. Through the key notions of efficiency improvement and audit culture in governance of health, women’s health issues has been silenced and a “crisis of care” in now strongly emerging (Hansen et al., 2022). Precariousness is coined as the new situation describing contemporary labour, yet, it is also a concept useful for analysing healthcare as regards too women’s health. Precariousness as a concept has a potential to open up different levels of understandings of how health governance affects instability, risk and vulnerability in health care. This panel invites participants to discuss how the relationship between migrants, health and Nordic welfare services may be underpinned by precarity and mobility.

We invite questions such as; Is precariousness a useful concept to understand health inequalities? How can empirical studies explore the complex relationship between precariousness, migration and health in the Nordic welfare states?  How can the precariousness of health and ill-health be understood and communicated in different ways between migrant women and health care professionals? Can perspectives of precarity and mobility expand otherwise often flat understandings of the “social” in social determinates in health?  

Panel organisers: Malin Kleppe, Maria Bakke Ulvesæter and Professor Anette Fagertun 

Discussant: Anette Fagertun

Keywords: women's health, precariousness, nordic welfare

Authors:  Malin Håland Kleppe, (presenting) Maria Bakke Ulvesæter, (presenting), Anette Fagertun. 

24. Refugees and Bureaucratic Violence

As Hanna Arendt famously observed, refugees and especially stateless people are often subjected to extreme violence and remain unprotected when they do not have a nation-state that can provide them with (access to) civil and social rights. Violence or the threat of violence is an inevitable part of the experiences of most forcibly displaced people. Physical violence in this context is the type of violence that can consist of shelling, torture, maiming, sexual assault, arrests, forced pushbacks and other behaviours that characterize experiences of forced displacement and constitute a violation of the migrants’ human rights. However, many forcibly displaced people also encounter less physical forms of violence, often post migration and especially in liminal situations such as during the asylum-seeking process, while crossing borders, or in refugee camps.

Much of these experiences of violence post-migration are caused by bureaucratic structures and actors that become increasingly significant in the life of the refugee. Therefore, this panel focuses on bureaucratic violence and examines how bureaucracies as social institutions, besides providing access to rights, also impact refugees in ways that are constraining, humiliating, soul-killing and, sometimes, life-threatening.

The contributions to the panel will provide insights regarding the violent consequences of discourses, policies and practices in relation to forced displacement and refugee migration in varied bureaucratic settings and the ways such violence is experienced by different actors. Collectively, the panellists will explore new manners of understanding both forced migration and bureaucratic violence in diverse political and cultural contexts across different countries and continents. The proposed panel will thus contribute to the empirical and theoretical discussion about refugees and bureaucratic violence.

Keywords: bureaucratic violence, refugees, rights

Authors: Dalia Abdelhady (presenting), Nina Gren (presenting),  Martin Joormann (presenting) 

25. External migration and development interventions in Africa and the Middle East: Navigating priorities in an EU-centric policy context

This panel focuses on the complex interplay between European migration policies and development concerns in Africa and the Middle East. Despite the local perception of migration as beneficial, e.g. for its economic contributions through remittances, European efforts to control (irregular) migration have become increasingly influential across these regions. This influence is evident in the integration of migration management into EU-funded development and humanitarian initiatives, such as the European Union Trust Funds.

Recent research challenges the European view of African and Middle Eastern migration as a security threat and a sign of development failure. It also highlights the unintended consequences of European external migration control policies, which, rather than halting migration, modify its nature and direction, often with negative local impacts.

This raises concerns about the effectiveness and implications of development and humanitarian funds focusing on migration control. Drawing on this, the panel will explore how stakeholders in Africa and the Middle East navigate these dynamics within a predominantly EU-centric policy landscape, examining the impact on migration, development, and humanitarian processes.

Utilizing a multi-scalar approach, the panel will present new research findings, including the institutionalization of migration discourses and the local effects of policy instruments in six countries targeted by European external migration control under the guise of development or humanitarian support: Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Senegal, Ghana, and Ethiopia. The discussion will highlight both similarities and differences in experiences across these regions, providing a nuanced understanding of how non-European stakeholders manage the intersection of regional and European priorities in migration and development.

This panel will have a double-session.

Keywords: Africa, Middle East, externalization, development

Authors: Cathrine Talleraas (presenting), Zoë Jordan (presenting), Hans Lucht (presenting), Oliver Bakewell (presenting), Ida Marie Savio Vammen (presenting), Are Knudsen (presenting) 

26. Unaccompanied refugee minors and family relations

Over the last decade, the Nordic countries have seen an increase in the arrival of unaccompanied refugee minors (URMs), with a peak in 2015, when the number of URMs seeking asylum in Denmark, Norway and Sweden went from about 5,000 per year to over 40,000, with the majority settling in Sweden (Lidén 2022). URMs are a particularly vulnerable group when it comes to psychosocial health and integration, and many report suffering from feelings of grief, extensive worries about their family’s situation, and not having their family nearby to guide and support them in everyday life (Lynnebakke, Pastoor & Eide, 2020).

The Nordic countries have differing policies regarding family reunification for URMs. In Norway, for example, 2000 URMs have been granted family reunification over the last 25 years (UDI, 2020). Being reunited with their family is generally regarded as positive for URMs. However, it can also be complex and challenging, for example related to changing family dynamics, transition of care responsibilities, and intergenerational tensions stemming from changing roles and levels of control.

This workshop welcomes papers that focus on unaccompanied refugee minors and family relations. Relevant topics include (but are not restricted to):

  • URMs and transnational family relations
  • Experiences of family reunification or of waiting to be reunited
  • Notions of home and belonging
  • URMs and family relations from a gender perspective
  • Public services’, voluntary organizations’ and school services’ experiences of working with URMs in the context of family relations and/or URMs experiences of these services
  • URMs siblings or parents’ experience of family reunification

Keywords: unaccompanied refugee, minors, family

Authors: Turid Sætermo (presenting), Priscilla Ringrose

27. Rural migrations and precarity: from lived experience to policy making

The workshop welcomes presentations that scrutinize a form of international mobility considered to play an increasingly significant role, labour-related migration to rural areas. While urbanization and the division of labour in cities have been crucially regarded as the central framework for precarious migrant labour, migration flows related to labour extending to rural areas also mirror and reinforce existing socio-spatial inequalities in the global economy.

An expanding migrant labour force is assuming an increased responsibility for essential work in rural areas. Simultaneously, this often underpaid and flexible labour force is considered a potential remedy for revitalizing peripheral rural areas. Specifically, across rural sectors such as wild berry-picking, horticulture, forestry, mining, fish-processing but also construction, restaurants, cleaning, and care services in peripheral regions, there is likely to be a rise in exploitative labour arrangements. Within these exploitative labour structures, state intervention frequently proves inadequate, and the international or national labour protection standards are not met. For instance, in the context of food production, European agricultural sector has been characterized as “a ‘race to the bottom’ in terms of pay and working conditions” (Rye & Scott 2018). 

The workshop aims to bring together various approaches to labour-related rural migrations. We welcome presentations that examine different aspects of precarity and rural migration. These may include, but are not limited to, empirical case studies focusing on specific geographical locations, sectors of rural work related to lived experiences or institutional infrastructure, theoretical contributions that address permanent, temporal or circular rural migrations, or advocacy-related contributions on related themes. 

Keywords: rural migration, fair and decent work, deregulation of labour, seasonal work

Authors: Wasiq Silan (presenting), Minna Seikkula, Chaitawat Boonjubun (presenting)

28. Race, bordering and disobedient knowledge

The panel explores distinct ways in which racialisation-migration nexus is challenged in everyday life, art and activism. More precisely, by focusing on resistant small-scale practices that challenge the grim realities of people seeking to cross the external borders of the Schengen area and everyday racism and structural inequalities within European states the panel addresses knowledge as a site for disobedience.

Disobedient knowledge, both contesting and seeking to exceed racial categories, is articulated in activism and social movement practices, but also in the everyday struggles that build on the gendered, racialised and classed experiences of racialised minorities and postcolonial migrants living their lives at the border.

The panel draws on contributions to the edited volume Race, Bordering and Disobedient Knowledge (Manchester University Press, spring 2024) that brings together analyses of antiracist activism and migrant (solidarity) mobilisations, as well as centring everyday struggles rather than protests or mass demonstrations. It elaborates theoretically and empirically how disobedient knowledge is created by racialised minorities and postcolonial migrants living their lives at the crossroad of different kinds of (b)ordering practices. Further, the book addresses the often disharmonious and sometimes painful negotiations between differently positioned actors in the everyday struggles of activism, antiracism practices, migrant and solidarity movements, and collaborative research.

Keywords: race, racialization, bordering, disobedient knowledge

Authors: Suvi Keskinen (presenting), Minna Seikkula 

29. Iraq: The Country of Displacement: What next? 

In a state of repeated conflict, instability and widespread corruption, Iraq has not only hosted refugees, but it has also produced them. Since 1980, Iraq has consistently been in the top 20 source countries, and Iraqi refugees are one of the three groups of refugees to remain in this list (UNHCR, 2014). Therefore, there are limited resources for the host community and no resources for forcibly displaced populations (NRC, 2023). As such, there is a huge appetite for migration towards Europe and the push factors are clear, with well over a quarter of Iraq’s young people being unemployed.

Two-thirds of the population are under the age of 24, trapped in a system of wasta, and ‘held captive by power dynamics that undermine the entire country’s potential for progress’ (Travers, 2023). This frustration has translated into migration to Europe through dangerous routes. There is a huge desire to reach the so-called ‘promise land’ (Seefar, 2021). The influx of thousands of mostly Kurdish Iraqi refugees migrating along the dangerous route from Turkey, Greece to the heart of Europe. The sitiation is also bleak for IDPs in the country. In fact, as of 2023, there is an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis are still displaced. While some of them live in homes, most live in makeshift shelters, often in airless tents at the mercy of the extreme weather. Across the country, year after year, the heat compounds their suffering, threatens to undo painstaking gains in livelihoods and food security.

All this is happening in a country rebuilding from 20 years of conflict; to 45 million people looking to find a way to move forward with their lives. In addition to potential migrants and IDPs, Iraq also hosts 300,000 Syrian refugees and over 50,000 refugees from Turkey and Iran and these refugees continuously being attacked by Turkish and Iranian drones on the grounds that combatants are present and operating in Iraq violating international law and state sovereignty. The panel through mixed methodology of desk research and qualitative interviews examine different phenomenon of migration from/to Iraq to highlight the pattern of displacement and identify durable solutions.

Despite lack of appropriate legal framework, Iraq hosts refugees, but also produces refugees due to unemployment, political instability, and corruption. This has also impeded 1.2 million IDPs from returning to their region of origin. The Iraqi government has vowed to close all 26 camps that host IDPs; this is despite having appropriate mechanism and strategy to facilitate their return. Although Iraq has been generous in hosting refugees, it has failed to provide safe heaven and protect them from external interference. The papers in this panel address the complex legal, policy and practice of displacement from/to/within Iraq.

Keywords: Kurdistan region of Iraq, durable solutions, potential migrant, IDPs

Authors: Abdullah Yassen (presenting), Thomas McGee (presenting), Mr Hawkar Mohammed (presenting).

Ms. Zozan Yasar (presenting), Mr. Jehat Mirkhan 

30. Navigating Intersectionality in Displacement: Sudanese Displacement Post-2023 Conflict

Sudan, central in the minds of millions of forcefully displaced people, remains underrepresented in refugee and migration studies. This panel proposed from the network forming the Sudan-Norway Academic Collaboration addresses this gap by examining the migration crisis following Sudan's 2023 conflict. Recent statistics reveal about 5 million new internal displacements and 1.4 million cross-border movements, highlighting the crisis's magnitude.

The panel explores how intersectional barriers and identities impact the ability to leave Sudan and settle elsewhere. Displacements from Khartoum and other conflict zones show that economic status, gender, sexual, ethnic, and racial identities intersect in creating a stratified displacement experience. A significant issue is the non-recognition of displaced Sudanese as refugees. Often labelled as migrants, workers, or “guests,” the categorization of people combined with the way their intersectional identities are perceived affects their rights and ability to claim asylum.

We emphasize the diverse Sudanese experiences, avoiding generalizations. The exploration includes the dynamics within hosting communities, seeking to understand their interaction with the influx of displaced people. The panel encourages interdisciplinary contributions focused on the lived experiences within Sudanese communities within and beyond Sudan. Employing an intersectional approach, we delve into identitarian categories and mobility access, offering an empirical lens to understand the complexities of Sudanese migration. This theoretical framework reveals how intersecting social identities affect migration experiences.

The panel will theorize on hierarchies of (power and) privilege, addressing how privilege influences the existential situation of displaced people and the value of academic contributions to migration studies. In doing so we seek to deconstruct privilege in order to focus on the processes that (re)produce, uphold and cement it.

Keywords: Sudan, displacement, intersectionality, privilege, categorization

Authors: Mari Norbakk (presenting), Samah Khalaf Allah (presenting)

31. Lived experience of precarity: Implications for research and practice.

The panel directs its attention towards the challenges faced by migrants in both the workplace and mental health care settings. Special emphasis is placed on the significance of research in improving the living and working conditions for individuals with a migrant or refugee background. The session will feature three presentations, followed by a round-table discussion moderated by an individual with lived experience in forced migration.

The first presentation focuses on migrants in precarious work. Research shows that in comparison to non-migrants, the migrant workers are exposed to more psychosocially stressful and negative working conditions such as adverse employment arrangement, more shift work, less freedom at work, and higher working speed. We investigate the subjective experience among warehouse workers with a specific focus on the effect of systematic quantification of working experience through surveillance and the consequences of extremely precarious working condition and heavily surveilled environment on the workers’ identity and wellbeing.

The second presentation delves into potential barriers that refugees might encounter when trying to access mental health services, with an emphasis on potential differences in explanatory models. Drawing on interviews with refugees, this presentation shares experiences and discusses implications for the development of health services tailored to these specific groups.

The third presentation expands on the experiences of refugees working in the humanitarian field providing support to their peers in Greece. In a collaborative approach we present what resources they gain access to and what challenges they face.

Overall, we will look at the psychological experience of precarity among refugees and migrants when they migrate and when they engage in the labor market and when they seek help in the host country. Lived experience is reflected in various ways including the material presented, the collaborative process of research and the active participation of an individual with a refugee background.

Keywords: precarity, lived experience, help-seeking behaviour

Authors: Gro Sandal (presenting), Ali Teymoori (presenting), Michalis Lavdas (presenting)

32. A life course perspective on mobility and precarity

A central topic related to mobility and precarity is the interlinkage of structural forces such as welfare and migration regimes, and the everyday, intimate lives of migrants and refugees.  The sociological life course perspective has been suggested as a promising starting point for addressing these interlinkages (Wingens et al, 2011). This perspective examines the dynamic interplay between everyday lives and historical, geographical and political contexts, through its focus on the interplay between individual lives and historical times, the timing of lives, linked lives and agency. The perspective opens for understanding processes of precarisation and marginalisation, but also processes of inclusion and integration both across individual life courses and across generations in a specific time and place.

The purpose of this proposed panel is to further the discussion on how the life course perspective processes of precarisation and marginalisation, but also integration and inclusion across the life course and across generations in specific societal contexts.  We welcome empirical and theoretical contributions exploring mobility and precarity, either zooming in on specific life course events and transitions or taking the long haul of the life course into account.

Contributions may include questions of how timing of life events such as migration, marriage, and family establishment, leaving school and entry into the labour market or educational system act to shape processes of precarisation, and vice versa; how precarisation associated with mobility act to shape life course events and intimate lives. Contributions may also focus on how experiences of mobility and precarity shapes feelings of belonging in later life, and the continuation of or changes in precarity across generations.

Keywords: life transitions, generations, inclusion, integration

Author:  Katrine Bjerke (presenting)

33. Migrant Incorporations in Rural Communities

Rural areas are increasingly diverse and heterogenous places with transnational populations. They, like urban areas, are part of the global neoliberal restructuring and their integration into international economy has transformed the local labour markets and social structure, engendering new forms of uncertainties and precarity. Different kinds of internal and international migrants, such as those arriving as laborers, refugees, and lifestyle migrants inform the heterogeneity of contemporary migrations. Their conditions, opportunities, right to stay and/or access to welfare varies, producing new lines of inequality along with differentiated hierarchies of mobile subject.

This panel intends to explore this complex reality by focusing on how immigrating populations themselves experience processes of inclusion and exclusion in rural localities. It attempts to cover broad spectrum of issues to reflect multifaceted character of migration to rural areas. While many studies have focused on the perspectives of the receiving locations (e.g., services, policies) this panel seeks contributions from the point of view of the in-migrating persons and examines the lived experiences of incorporation of various groups.

We are interested in studies that deal with the complex and multifaceted processes of integration and belonging, based on diverse research methods and theoretical perspectives. For example, studies that ask what integration means to participants. How are they able to become active agents of change both personally and in local transformations? To what extent do migrating populations see themselves as included and part of local communities? What kinds of challenges do different groups encounter and on what bases are they excluded? How they navigate different welfare regimes and challenge existing power structures? What is migrants’ position on the local labour market?

Keywords: Rural areas, inclusion, exclusion

Authors: Unnur Dís Skaptadóttir (presenting), Pamela Innes (presenting), Anna Wojtynska (presenting)

34. Linguistic justice, global migration, and Nordic social services

In this workshop, we will look at linguistic diversity and justice in the Nordic social services settings. We approach linguistic diversity as an already existing and permanent everyday reality which, nevertheless, is often treated as a “new” challenge and a state of temporality and transience that should be surpassed and resolved. With our focus on linguistic diversity related to migration and our interest in social services settings, we address the topic within two perspectives that have received relatively little research interest compared to, for example, research conducted in education and health care settings or on autochthonous linguistic diversity.

We are interested in presentations tackling the ways in which migration related linguistic diversity is enacted and understood in the context of Nordic social services institutions, in terms of legislation and policy as well as service encounters and practices. We are particularly looking for empirical studies; interdisciplinary approaches as well as different perspectives, such as those from practitioners and service users, public service providers and NGO workers. We are also interested in presentations discussing the role of technology and technological changes with respect to linguistic diversity and related multimodality. We also welcome relevant theoretical and conceptual approaches. Furthermore, we welcome methodological considerations on research on linguistic diversity in multilingual contexts.

Keywords: linguistic diversity, social services, Nordic

Authors: Hanna Kara (presenting), Kristina Gustafsson (presenting), Zoe Nikolaidou (presenting) Linnéa Åberg (presenting), Eveliina Tolvanen (presenting), Camilla Nordberg (presenting)

35. Exploring Intersectionality: Perspectives on (Im)mobility and Precarity in Different Contexts.

Intersectionality, a pivotal framework in disciplines like sociology, anthropology, and migration studies, informs this panel's exploration of (im)mobility, precarity, and social inequality in diverse national contexts: Iran, Finland, and Norway. By doing so, this panel aims to stimulate discussions on intersecting identities and complexities of gender, language, social class, nationality, race, age, and migration histories in shaping people’s everyday experiences of (im)mobility and precarity.

Delving into the employment experiences of minority women in a Norwegian city, the first study focuses on municipal work training and a volunteer organization for immigrant women. Through an intersectional lens, the research reveals the challenges faced by these women in short-term, insecure positions, shedding light on the multifaceted influences on their integration efforts.

The second study investigates the (im)mobility experiences of married middle-class Iranian women in their late 30s and early 40s applying for student visas to Canada and the US. Against the backdrop of Iran's complex women's rights landscape and global discriminatory mobility regimes, the research illuminates the conditions influencing these women's migration aspiration and their struggles in realizing migration projects. 

The third presentation adopts an institutional ethnographic approach to scrutinize work practices in a Finnish asylum centre. By emphasizing the perspectives of practitioners, the research uncovers lived experiences and explores interpretations of intersectionality embedded in specific work practices, providing insights into the daily workings of the asylum reception. 

Investigating Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) work in a Norwegian university, the final presentation focuses on the creation of EDI university action plans. The study reveals gender equality and diversity work are perceived as competing regimes of (in)equality. This shapes social categories as fixed (‘international’, ‘migrant’, ‘women’) and impedes EDI efforts, offering insights into the challenges faced in equity work within the university setting.

Keywords: intersectionality, immobility, precarity, institutional ethnography

Authors: Gabriela Wale Soto (Presenting), Amanda Tallis (Presenting)

Somayeh Rahimi (Presenting), Eila Isolatus (Presenting), Tijana Przulj

36. Migration and integration policy frameworks, citizens’ rights and precarity 

In this workshop, we address the inequality, unpredictability and insecurity created by and operation through policies targeting certain groups of migrants and the practical interpretation and implementation of policies in the frontline of the Nordic welfare states and beyond. Policies potentially represent and create inequalities between groups of migrants and local citizens. Moreover, frontline policy interpretations and implementations may (re-)produce certain logics, subjectivities and expectation of how migrants should receive the policies and its consequences, which migrants may adapt to or resist. The workshop papers unfold these dynamics in various national and policy area contexts to throw light on processes of precarisation and exclusion of certain groups of migrants, and their status and agency as rightsholders.  

Keywords: inequality, policies, exclusion

Panel Chair: Kathrine Vitus

37. Migration and education: the movement of brains as a source of development and inequality

According to a widely shared view, the educational level of the population and the presence of a high-skilled workforce is crucial for the economic activity, innovative ability, and social development of a nation. Governments around the globe are prepared to invest in the educational institutions as well as to promote the immigration of highly educated individuals from abroad to strengthen the domestic business and competitiveness. Vice versa, the loss of educated individuals through emigration is seen as problematic “brain drain” that may sustain poverty and hinder economic growth.

However, despite the general acknowledgement of the benefits of education, migration is linked to educational and social inequality. For example, immigrants and refugees with lower educational level may encounter obstacles integrated in the educational institutions that hinder their ability to advance their educational career, leaving them socially disadvantaged in their new home countries. Furthermore, these problems are not limited to those with low education. An important part of international movements is student mobility, which is regarded as an extremely important vehicle for developing competence, cross-cultural networks, enhanced global perspectives and improving language proficiency. Existing social institutions and recent political decisions in developed countries have imposed social and economic disadvantages on international students that limit their ability to fully benefit from student mobility. Furthermore, the benefits of supporting student mobility have been recently questioned in some countries, which may negatively affect the ability of disadvantaged students to advance their educational careers.

The aim of this panel is to discuss the factors that affect the international mobility of highly educated individuals, the educational careers of immigrants and student mobility. We focus on the driving factors and benefits of mobility as well as the social inequalities associated with mobility. What are the advantages, problems, and obstacles in the international movement of brains?

Keywords: High-skilled workforce, student mobility, emigration, economic growth

Panel Chair: Pekka Varje

38. Examining the dynamics of privileged migration in the intersections of power and precarity

Privileged migration refers to the movement of individuals who are considered privileged by factors such as citizenship, class, race, and economic capital. An inquiry into privileged migration may encompass phenomena related to, for example, high-skilled migration, elite migration, and lifestyle migration, but it also allows us to consider issues of power and privilege that are linked with historical patterns of migration. An often overlooked topic in the field of migration studies, a closer examination of privileged migration may offer insights not only into drivers of migration and settlement, but also into individual experiences of mobile people as well as broader structures of power that shape perceptions of both privilege and vulnerability.

This panel explores both historical and contemporary manifestations of privileged migration and their entanglements with complex interplay with dynamics of power and precarity. Adopting a reflexive approach, the panel contests normative and often Western assumptions associated with privileged migration. Instead, the panel will explore how factors such as race/ethnicity, gender, wealth, education, labour market position, family relations, and cultural capital participate in driving migration, shaping migratory experiences, and framing wider social and political narratives across different national, transnational, and temporal contexts.

Keywords: Privileged migration, power, precarity

Panel Chair: Tuire Liimatainen

39. Contemporary dynamics in human mobility: From international relations to local integration

This panel proposes a comprehensive examination of contemporary migration dynamics, illuminating key dimensions at the intersection of migration, protection, policy, and integration. Beginning with the geopolitics of human mobility, the panel delves into the effect of interstate tensions on refugee status determination and the nexus between migration and asylum in the work carried out by Intergovernmental Organizations. Furthermore, the panel explores the application of private sponsorship of refugees in Europe and its integration prospects. Beyond policy and governance structures, the panel examines the lived experiences of (forced) migrants themselves. It tackles the challenges faced by African skilled migrants in the Global North, the local integration outcomes of Syrian refugees, and the nuanced dynamics of compassion fatigue shaping attitudes towards refugees from different backgrounds. By bridging a diversity of insights from the realms of international relations, policy, and lived experiences, this panel contributes to a deeper understanding of the complexities inherent to human mobility. It notably illustrates various facets of a phenomenon that touches on diverse actors across different levels of governance.

Keywords: Human mobility, policy, governance structures

Panel Chair: Pierre Van Wolleghem

40. Reclaiming the political and contestable nature of state
produced precarity and violence in migration and border governance

This panel focuses on state-produced precarity and violence in migration and border governance and seeks to contribute to the depoliticisation of this violence, which is often legalised, normalised and concealed through mundane and complex bureaucratic and legal processes. Key to this project is“reclaiming the political and contestable nature of these practices through (...) knowledge of the everyday inner workings of this system” (Bosworth and Singler 2022, 185). Drawing on rich empirical material from Europe and North America, authors expose these inner workings by examining different sites of violence and racialised (b)ordering: in detention centres in the US and UK, in criminal court systems, and in the external and internal borders of the Mediterranean and the Nordic welfare state. While papers use diverse theoretical and conceptual frameworks, they all speak to how states produce and hide violence, whether through processes of criminalisation, non-knowledge, “organized abandonment” (Gilmore, 2022), or pathologizing adverse responses to indefinite detention and deportation. The aim of bringing together these vantage points is to help uncover commonalities and differences in how states define what ‘counts’ as violence in specific contexts and to encourage wider discussions on how to depoliticise counter epistemologies.

Panel Chair: Nicole Ostrand

41. Meet the Editors of the Nordic Journal of Migration Research

In this interactive session the editors of the Nordic Journal of Migration Research (NJMR) will talk about how to publish with them. They will present the editorial lines and explain the article review process, and more importantly, what is needed for a paper manuscript to be published at NJMR. They will also describe the process of publishing Special Issues. Most of the time will be dedicated to answering questions from the audience.

NJMR is an open access journal published by Nordic Migration Research in collaboration with Helsinki University Press. It follows a continuous publication model where articles are organised around four issues a year. It aims to promote and advance the multidisciplinary study of international migration and ethnic relations that is relevant for the Nordic countries in a global context. Read more about the journal

Come and meet the editors!

Nahikari Irastorza, Dalia Abdelhady

Information on Accepted Abstracts

All the accepted abstracts can be found using this link. Please contact us by 15 June 2024 in case of any corrections. 

Panel organisers will directly communicate with paper presenters going forward regarding the presentation formats and conference logistics. Please note that the conference will be fully held in person. 

Each panel/workshop session will last 90 minutes and may include 4-5 presentations. Panels with more than 5 papers will receive more than one slot. Panel/workshop organisers with more than one slot may contact us if they have a preference on which papers should be in each slot.