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Abstracts of Papers

ESRC Seminar 4: Security/Insecurity & Migration in the Global Economic Crisis 2008-2012


Abstracts of Papers

Annie Benveniste: “France and Immigration during a Time of Economic Crisis: the Threat of National Disintegration”

French sociologists and historians have long argued that immigration has always been a component of French society and has, during certain periods of French history, responded to labour shortages, in particular those of unskilled workers. So how and under what circumstances has immigration come to be identified as a threat to national security and French public order? In this paper I develop a two-fold analysis. First, I consider the shift from the Durkheimian paradigm of integration (“social integration”) wherein it is argued that society is responsible for integrating its members, to the paradigm of “integration into society” where the individual, specifically the individual migrant, is responsible for his/her integration. This new paradigm relates to the construction of non-integrated migrants as delinquents. Second, I analyse the different measures which have contributed to the hounding of migrants as delinquents, terrorists or promoters of social instability since the start of the economic crisis in 2008. Laws prohibiting the headscarf and face veil are also good examples of how Muslims are seen as disrupting the public order. The second part of my analysis is directly linked to the recent economic crisis and concerns the creation of the “Ministry of immigration, national identity and co-development” in May 2007. Here the State imposed a symbolic power by constructing national identity in relation to an imagined difference, symbolized by the outsider, responsible not only for robbing jobs but also for altering supposedly immutable criteria for defining identity. I take the example of the Roma who are constantly being driven out of their camps.

Giovanna Campani: “Migration and the Contradictory Effects of the Economic and Political Crisis in Italy”

According to provisional Census data (summer 2012), a million immigrants are missing in Italy. Demographers assume they have left the country, even if only temporarily. The reason? The economic crisis, of course and the collapse of labour supply and wages. For many the crisis has led to the failure of the migration project, especially for Romanian and Albanian workers affected by the construction industry crisis. Domestic work, by contrast, still needs (mainly female) labour in order to look after the aging population. This demand is even growing. However, what we can say about the consequences of the economic crisis in Italy today is that it is affecting the native workforce differently from immigrants who possess distinct resources and coping strategies according to their national origin. Migration and (indirectly) welfare policies are both linked and implicated in the socio-economic processes at play so that the results cannot always be easily interpreted where the reduction or amplification of inequalities is concerned. Moreover, the political crisis and the changes which have intervened (the collapse of the Northern League for instance) have somehow lessened racist political discourse and the security agenda. This shows that the role of political populism and institutional racism is extremely important in producing hostility against immigrants, while a period of crisis may even create new moments of solidarity between immigrant and native workers, as long as class consciousness (re)emerges in the process.

Anca Loredana Enache: “Beggars or Cheap Available Labor - the Impact of the Economic Crisis on the Migration of Romanians and Romanian Roma to Finland”

The effects of the current global economic crisis are extensive, especially on migrants and vulnerable groups. This paper explores the impact of the economic crisis on the migration of Romanians and Romanian Roma from their countries of origin or settlement to Finland. The migration experiences, appearances and realities are analyzed in the context of insecurity and the deterioration of rights that migrants encounter. This paper uses a feminist approach, exploring the experience of migration and the deterioration of rights in regards to gender, ethnic identity, class. It stands for rethinking the implications of the economic crisis in the context of fundamental rights and freedoms of migrants.

Vanya Ivanova: “Being an External Border of the EU: Bulgaria Caught between Security Measures and Respect for Human Rights”

As a new member state of the EU and a constituent part of the EU’s external borders, Bulgaria is still in the process of finding the right approach towards a successful migration policy based on balancing security measures with respect of human rights. In December 2009, the Bulgarian NGO sector launched a campaign to include regularization mechanisms in Bulgarian migration law as an alternative to detention as the sole means of regulating irregular migration flows. What kind of developments have taken place on the policy and institutional fronts? What are the challenges confronting the state at a time of economic crisis and increasing numbers of Syrian asylum seekers crossing the Bulgarian – Turkish border? This paper seeks to answer these questions, using the results of a spin-off project on “Migration and Human Rights: Alternatives to Administrative Coercive Measures” carried out in 2010, within the Transatlantic Forum on Migration and Integration (TFMI) and represented in Bulgaria by its local partners: the Center for European Refugees Migration and Ethnic Studies (CERMES) at the New Bulgarian University; and the Center for Legal Aid – Voice in Bulgaria (CLA).

Maria Margaronis: "Greece, Migration and the Rise of Golden Dawn"

Greece is on the front line of the European economic crisis. It has also become the entry point for the great majority of refugees and migrants coming to the European Union from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Because of the failures of both Greek and European migration and asylum policy, many of these migrants find themselves trapped in Greece, living in near destitution among increasingly impoverished citizens. This situation has been exploited by Golden Dawn, a deeply xenophobic and violent neo-Nazi party which now has 18 seats in parliament and comes third in national opinion polls. Why has this happened in Greece, and what might Europe learn from it?

Susi Meret: “Irregular Migration in the Scandinavian Context: What Changes? Framing Conceptualizations, Discourses and Policy Practices from Times of Securitization to the Economic Crisis”

In the academic literature there seems to be a general and longstanding consensus on irregular migration being a marginal phenomenon in the Scandinavian countries. The reason for this is often explained by referring to the Nordic highly regulated labor markets and the stricter internal and external control migration regimes. This paper will address the ‘myth’ of the non-presence of irregular migration in Scandinavia; firstly by looking at how irregular migration is framed academically, and secondly by analyzing how irregular migration is conceptualized more broadly in the three Nordic countries (Denmark, Sweden and Norway). This will be done by considering the different political strategies relating to this conceptualization such as normalization, regularization and criminalization of irregular migrants. The paper will also attempt to assess whether and what eventual political changes have taken place in the management and discourse of irregular immigration during the period of the recent economic crisis.

Mojca Pajnik: “Multiculturalism: Between Critique and Rescue Attempts”

Over the last 40 years, attempts to democratize contemporary societies through respect for difference have centred on the notion of multiculturalism. Optimistic views expressed in the 1970s, 1980s and even 1990s about multiculturalism as an alternative to hierarchization, racialization, discrimination and segregation of minority individuals and groups have been subject to critical scrutiny in the last 20 years. There has been a proliferation of literature which critically addresses multiculturalism. On the one hand, we read about the limitations or “death” of multiculturalism while, on the other hand, counter-arguments raised in its defence point to successful, practical implementations of multiculturalism in defined environments. This paper contrasts such arguments and adopts the thesis that “pro et contra” positionings generate a specific “entrapment” of argumentation about multiculturalism and consequently about the issue of security of migrant and non-migrant populations. I argue that such a positioning redirects attention away from existing “problems with diversity”, is unable to dodge quandaries about multiculturalism and also is hardly potent enough to generate new ideas about equity and egalitarianism which are needed in the context of the current economic crisis. Multiculturalism is rethought by giving examples of migration and its management in a wider European and specifically Slovenian context. What challenges does migration open up for democratization and how can migration and integration policies be conceived as multicultural policies? Do group rights resolve problems of inequality? How can diversity policies avoid creating divisions between “us” and “them”? Drawing on empirical data from the EU-funded PRIMTS project which explores migrants’ own views of multiculturalism and integration in six EU states, this paper explores various critiques of multiculturalism and at the same time discusses alternative understandings which have tried to “rescue” the concept because of its democratic potential. The latter is of particular importance at a time of economic crisis in Europe which has provoked cynical dismissals of multiculturalism which go hand-in-hand with rising anti-Europeanism and anti-immigrant attitudes.

Natalka Patsiurko and Claire Wallace: Citizenship, Europe and Migration: Varieties of Integration of Russian Minorities in Latvia and Lithuania

The issue of European ‘non-citizens’, their migration potential and security threat that the existence of such groups brings to the European political space remains relatively understudied. This paper analyses identity formation processes and the role of migration during the period of economic crisis in two such groups: Russian-speaking minorities in Lithuania and Latvia. We report on a recent study undertaken in the two countries, in 2010-2011, and employ Andreas Wimmer’s model of ethnic boundary-making to look at boundary-making of their Russian-speaking minorities. The two countries produced contrasting policies for integration of their minorities. Whilst in Lithuania integration policies have been inclusive to all nationalities, those in Latvia have been exclusive, resulting in different kinds of “hardening” ethnic boundaries and producing up to 40% of ‘non-citizens’ in its Russian-speaking minority. This paper considers exogenous factors such as the role of national policies (particularly citizenship acquisition and language use), those of the Russian government and integration into the EU on ethnic boundary-making. It also considers endogenous factors such as the role of civil society, sense of identification and the different experiences of generations. It concludes that whilst endogenous and exogenous factors have helped to create ethnic boundaries in different ways in the two countries, these boundaries are blurring as Europe opens up wider possibilities for work and study and as younger generations are less likely to be excluded either by language or citizenship. In each country, hybrid and fluid identities are challenging the reified and essentialist ones based upon the previous Soviet-style constructs. In each country, emigration is an option for those dissatisfied with the national regime and the impact of the economic crisis on the position of minorities. This has been particularly important for the Russian-speaking minority in Latvia, where economic disadvantages intersect with the exclusion from citizenship. The paper argues that the security threat that was originally posed by these groups has been dissipated through Europeanisation and cosmpolitanisation.