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Session Overview
RN35_09b_P: Figuring Migrants and Migration
Friday, 01/Sep/2017:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Funda Ustek Spilda, Goldsmiths, University of London
Session Chair: Marja Alastalo, University of Eastern Finland
Location: PC.3.19
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 3.

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Fluid populations: “flows,” control and the migration crisis in Greece

Giannis Gkolfinopoulos

Panteion University, Greece

Migration, already an expressly critical issue for both the Greek nation-state and the European Union, has acquired an even more prominent position in public discourse since 2015, elevated to the status of a crisis with Greece as its epicenter. Framed either as “migrant”, “refugee” or “humanitarian”, this crisis feeds into the ubiquitous crisis-discourse inscribing unauthorized human mobility in the securitized field of problems (threats) that need to be urgently managed, such as the (vulnerable) economy, poverty, crime, unemployment and terrorism.

As part of a wider project aiming to unravel the meaning of migrant crisis through discourse analysis, this paper focuses on its “official” (state and EU discourse) and “popular” (media) representations in contemporary Greece from the spring of 2015 to the present. Taking the hydraulic/managerial discourse of "flows" as point of entry, the paper maps the specific form of the challenges migration is seen to pose to the established social and political order and seeks to elucidate the very perspective from which contemporary migration emerges as crisis. Drawing from a body of work that grasps state power and the law as constitutive of the form of migration, the paper argues that this crisis comprises a social process inextricably intertwined with the nation state and the European Union project and critically addresses the hierarchical separation between illegal(ized) migrants and refugees.

Transnational Relations and Classical Integration

Ilona Pap, Julia H. Schroedter, Jörg Rössel

University of Zurich, Switzerland

Contemporary societies exhibit an increasing level of transnational transactions in different areas of social life, i.e. migration, social relations, economic and cultural exchanges. Especially in migration research it has been argued that classic forms of migration have been replaced by transnational forms of migration, where firstly, migration itself is not a one-way process of relocation, but characterized by forms of commuting and return migration. Secondly, integration is not perceived anymore as a linear process of assimilation into the autochthonous population, but strongly shaped by transnational links between migrants and their countries of origin. Most of the empirical research up to now has focused on the prevalence and extent of such transnational relations of migrants.

In our contribution, we focus on the relationship between migrants’ transnational relations in different dimensions (economic, political, social) and classical indicators of integration. Often this relationship is depicted in a stereotypical way, assuming that more transnational relations are linked to less integration into the host society. In our paper, we want to disentangle this relationship and show its complexity. Our empirical study is based on a recent sample of migrants from six different countries in Switzerland and on an added sample of Swiss people. Since this survey contains a differentiated set of measurements of political, economic, social and cultural forms of transnational relations and also a broad set of indicators of integration (structural, social, cultural), we are in an excellent position to disentangle the relationship between transnational relations and integration empirically.

Making migrant individuals and migrant population: Population register as a state technology of governance in Finland

Marja Alastalo1, Riikka Homanen2

1University of Eastern Finland, Finland; 2University of Tampere, Finland

This article explores the welfare state enactment of migrant populations as a process starting from local register offices and ending in the national statistical institute. The population register common to Nordic welfare states is discussed as a device that brings together the state, individuals’ social rights and knowledge production. The register administratively births migrants as individual data subjects and gives them visibility in the eyes of various government and business actors. We argue that the registration and statistics compilation enable state power over migrants in line with the constantly changing and tightening migration policies: the register apparatus treats migrant groups in an inequitable way which is then partly hidden away by the register based statistics. Our study is based on an ethnographic fieldwork conducted in three local register offices, Central Population Register and Statistics Finland in Finland

Fifteen days. The journeys of Iraqi asylum seekers to Finland through Europe

Saara Koikkalainen

University of Lapland, Finland

Since 2014 hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers have arrived in EU territory via the so-called Eastern Mediterranean sea route. People looking for safety and a brighter future risked their lives at sea from Turkey to Greece, traveled through Croatia, Serbia, and Hungary and from there onwards to Austria and other European destinations. Some continued through Germany, Denmark, and Sweden to file an asylum claim in Finland. In 2015 a total of 32,478 individuals applied for asylum in Finland and 20,485 (60%) of them originated from Iraq. This presentation is based on the interviews of 25 Iraqi asylum seekers residing in Finland and it examines their experiences before, during and after the long journey towards the North of Europe. It questions why thousands of Iraqis decided to embark on this journey especially at this point in time and what kind of networks did they use to learn about the destination and the route to get there. Why did they choose to head to Finland, even though many had contacts also in other European countries? What kind of life did they imagine and what kinds of dangers did they meet on the journey? Migration scholars have explained migration by focusing on economic motivations and cost/benefit analyses, push and pull factors in sending and receiving regions, transnational networks, the role of migration industries, and historical contexts that have created migration flows to foreign destinations. My analysis draws from the concept of cognitive migration, i.e. the process of visualizing oneself in a future time and place prior to making the actual physical move (see Koikkalainen & Kyle 2015 article in JEMS).

Searching for emigrants: A combined method and a comparative study in a European youth mobility survey

Victor Sanz Suárez-Lledó, Victor Fernandez Araiz, Lorenzo Javier

ICN Colegio de Ciencias Políticas y Sociología de Madrid, Spain

It is known that none of the migration statistical sources separately contain exactly the information required to analyze migration flow. Among other limitations, we find that sources of migration statistical do not always bring the difference between national and regional levels, or in case to do so, this information is not completely reliable due to specific limitations. In addition, longitudinal sources may present another limitation as they undergo registration modifications, hindering the longitudinal study of the phenomenon. On top of that, arise new sources and statistical variables contributing with new information.

Through the study of the emigration phenomenon of youth spanish migrants to other european countries, we propose a specific working method based on information provided by spanish public statisticals sources such as PERE (Padrón Españoles Residentes en el Extranjero), the CERA (Censo Españoles Residentes Ausentes) or the Estadística de Migraciones (Statistics of Migrations), among others. And combining these ones with statistical sources from UK, Germany, France, just to estimate the true amount of youth people from Spain living abroad. This methodology allows to renew the method of quantification of the migratory phenomenon, assuming an update with respect to other previous studies in this field (Ferrer, 2013, Navarrete et al., 2014).

In short, a course of study is proposed on the different statistical sources that help to know and analyze the data on this phenomenon in the last five years. Moreover, information will be provided on the migratory trends of people from Madrid. As well as the numbers of new migrants, countries that choose as destination, and other relevant characteristics of the migratory phenomenon of this spanish region.

Men’s migration, adulthood and the performance of masculinities

Ionela Vlase

Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania

This chapter examines the ways migration shape male migrants’ adulthood roles and transitions, as well as their performance of masculinities during migration and upon return. The study documents the socially constructed nature of adulthood and evidences the ambivalences and ambiguities men migrants experience with regard to adulthood and manhood as a result of their long-term migration. The context of high uncertainty generated by the prolonged stay abroad and the contact with different cultural norms may unsettle migrants’ prior beliefs and goals of age and gender identities. The evidences are based on a qualitative research encompassing life story interviews with a number of 15 Romanian men who have lived on average 12 years in different European countries, especially in Italy, Spain, Germany, Netherlands and UK. Regardless of the age they have first migrated at, their education, marital and family status, their destination country and their length of stay abroad, men migrants have experienced many life events that have impacted their sense of adult identity and their enactment of masculine identity. Upon return, migrants critically assess their life course and the fulfillment of their adult roles while taking into consideration a broader and mixed socio-cultural frame encompassing elements of both destination and origin societies. Some men migrants find themselves in situations of outperformance of adulthood and masculinity, while others struggle to cope with the threatened masculinity upon a series of life transitions or lack thereof (e.g. divorces, childlessness) triggered by their migration.

This work is supported by UEFISCSDI through ERC-like grant PN-III-P4-ID-ERC- 2016-0005

From Europe to America. General Characteristic of Contemporary Processes of Overseas Migration

Anna Fin

Pedagogical University of Cracow, Poland

The presented paper is devoted to the issue of the newest emigration from Europe to the United States and is a consequence of the need to bridge the gap in the reference literature. With the decline of the influx of Europeans to the US territory and defining the identity of white minorities in the categories of “symbolic ethnicity”, interest in processes of European migration to the USA has diminished. Simultaneously; over the past four decades have changed the mechanisms of overseas migration of Europeans. Although the United States of America ceased to be the first choice of immigration; the influx of newcomers from Europe does not stop. It shows especially in the case of New York, where some European immigrants continue to be in the top twenty ethnic groups coming to the city after 2000. In such situation it is extremely important to answer the question about the scale of migration processes, socio-economic status of migrants as well as ethnic stucture of inflow from Europe to the US. This paper provides an introductory look into the topic of. At present, in the era of vivid changes, mobility movements and social transformations: American and European, information on the subject will supply information on transformations in the international mobility in the transatlantic dimension. In other words, it is an attempt to understand the contemporary processes of overseas migration.

Towards a better understanding of migration: adaptive policies of integration in Romania and innovative approaches for inclusion

Ionela-Maria Răcătău1, Dan Chiribucă2

1Babes-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca, Romania; 2Babes-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Known mainly as a country of emigration, in the last few years Romania has faced different status shifts varying from „country of origin”, „transit country” to „destination country”. These rather rapid changes have brought new challenges for the public authority representatives who need to handle immigration and to define, adjust and implement integration policies in such a way as to best meet the needs of immigrants. Likewise, the civil society members have to learn how to embrace this new phenomenon and how to become active agents of integration and inclusion. Focusing on the increasing number of asylum seekers, refugees and other non-EU citizens coming to Romania in search for a new home, this paper aims to investigate the national strategies meant to encourage integration, the main needs of immigrants in their process of integration, and the efforts that immigrants themselves make towards integrating in this country. It will discuss the role of legitimate policies on housing, healthcare, education, citizenship and social protection, offering an in-depth insight over the attitudes that the public authority representatives and the civil society have over the process of migrant integration, as compared to the perspectives of the immigrants themselves. By using qualitative and quantitative data collected through interviews and structured questionnaires as part of a national study, the results offer powerful tools for understanding immigration in Romania and its particular features pertaining to integration and inclusion, pointing to people’s subjectivity in perceiving this phenomenon.

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