Call for Papers

Exploring the Dimensions of Refugee Inclusion: Social Structures, Institutions and Strategies

Date: November 28–29, 2019

Place: Consulate General of the Netherlands, Istiklal Caddesi 197, Beyoğlu, Istanbul

Organizers: Maissam Nimer and Jannes Tessmann (2018/19 Mercator-IPC Fellows)

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

  • Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, University College London
  • Prem Kumar Rajaram, Central European University

Background
Political, economic, and societal actors shape the processes through which refugees become part of the receiving society, including in education, the labor market, or health system. While state actors remain crucial in creating the legal and administrative structures that permit or deny refugees access to rights, state power is being progressively redeployed in favor of multi-level governance processes affecting refugee inclusion (1).

Transnational and international organizations then become key actors in shaping governance agendas and financing public services, which are often implemented and administered by NGOs and local municipalities. Furthermore, economic actors, such as private enterprises or trade organizations, play a role in integrating refugee workers into their local and global production networks (2).

At the micro level, the perceptions, interests, and strategies of refugees themselves play a crucial role regarding their access to education, employment, and wider social services. Beyond the liberal discourse of the new migrant as a useful and adaptable worker as well as the logic of victimization prevalent in NGO’s interventionism, refugees are also active providers of support and solidarity and creators of networks and shared spaces (3).

From this perspective, it is crucial to examine how migrants develop processes of inclusion and participation from the bottom up. While these various levels interact in complex ways, they may be mutually reinforcing or contradicting each other in line with an orientation towards the composite and impure character of governance (4). For example, states may seek alliance with certain NGOs to include civil society into the process of refugee inclusion.

In contrast, uncertain regulatory frameworks in between national and international bodies of law, characterized by the overall lack of transparency and unpredictability, may similarly hinder processes of inclusion. Further, migrants’ strategies, practices, and desires continue to clash with logistical rationalities of the governance systems and state infrastructure that manage the inclusion of refugees into the labor market (5), while refugees struggle to translate their body power into valued labor (6). Hence, recent literature highlights the agency of refugees within wider macro-social structures based on ideologies, religion, class, gender, or ethnicity (7). This has been accompanied by an emerging view of migration as a creative force within economic and social structures beyond the duality between the new economics of migration versus humanitarianism.

Conference Targets
This conference aims to explore the structural, institutional, and strategic determinants of refugee inclusion into various domains of host societies. We welcome applicants working on the overarching topic of refugee inclusion in the context of forced migration focusing on but not limited to Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean region. In particular, we invite theoretical and empirical contributions that reflect on one or more of the following questions:

  • How do political, economic, and societal structures and institutions shape the inclusion of refugees into different domains of host societies?
  • How does the strategic agency of refugees shape their social, economic, and cultural participation in host societies, and how does it impact governance mechanisms at different levels?
  • How do different levels of refugee governance interact with each other, and how is power distributed among different actors?
  • What are possible disparities, contradictions, as well as types of cooperation and competition between different scales of refugee inclusion (transnational, national, local, and individual, among others)?

Applicants are invited to submit an abstract of max. 250 words and a short bio of max. 250 words (in English) to: migrationcon@sabanciuniv.edu

Timeline
– Abstract submission deadline: August 15, 2019
– Notification of accepted papers: September 15, 2019

There are limited funds available to help defray the costs of participants. The funds will be disbursed as fairly as possible. Priority will be given to students and independent researchers. If you do not receive travel support from any institution and would like to apply for a travel subsidy, please provide a total estimate for travel and accommodation cost required to attend the conference as you submit your abstract.

  1. Scholten, P. (2016). Between national models and multi-level decoupling: The pursuit of multi-level governance in Dutch and UK policies towards migrant incorporation. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 17(4), 973-994.
  2. Arnold, D., & Pickles, J. (2011). Global work, surplus labor, and the precarious economies of the border. Antipode, 43(5), 1598-1624.
  3. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2016). Refugee-refugee relations in contexts of overlapping displacement. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.; Genç, F. (2017). Migration as a Site of Political Struggle. An Evaluation of the Istanbul Migrant Solidarity Network. movements. Journal for Critical Migration and Border Regime Studies, 3(2).
  4. Mezzadra, S., & Neilson, B. (2013). Border as Method, or, the Multiplication of Labor. Duke University Press.
  5. Altenried, M., Bojadžijev, M., Höfler, L., Mezzadra, S., & Wallis, M. (2018). Logistical Borderscapes: Politics and Mediation of Mobile Labor in Germany after the “Summer of Migration”. South Atlantic Quarterly, 117(2), 291-312.
  6. Rajaram, P. K. (2018). Refugees as surplus population: Race, migration and capitalist value regimes. New political economy, 23(5), 627-639.
  7. Ager, J. (2015). Faith, Secularism, and Humanitarian Engagement: Finding the Place of Religion in the Support of Displaced Communities. Springer.; Castles, S., Ozkul, D., & Cubas, M. (Eds.). (2015). Social transformation and migration: National and local experiences in South Korea, Turkey, Mexico and Australia. Springer.