Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN36_02b_P: Migration: Representations, Identities and Discourses
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Tadeusz Szawiel, University of Warsaw
Location: PE.6.42
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: E, Level: 6.

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Attitudes toward refugees in the "Visegrad" countries

Mirosława Grabowska

University of Warsaw, Poland

Attitudes towards migrants and refugees were investigated in Poland – although not systematically - from the early 90s. However, it was not politically or socially sensitive issue. With one exception, the refugees from Chechnya (according to the Polish Office for Foreigners, from 2003 to 2014, 73 000 citizens of the Russian Federation applied for refugee status in Poland; most of them were Chechens), the refugees from other regions have not applied for refugee status in Poland.

The intensification of armed conflicts in the Middle East countries and the war in Syria triggered migration processes to EU countries on the unprecedented scale. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that industrialized countries recorded the highest number of refugees over the last 20 years. Most refugees arrive illegally, mainly to the southern countries of the European Union. The EU was trying to tackle the situation devising various relocation plans of incoming refugees in all member states.

The political crisis concerning refugees affected not only southern EU countries but also Visegrad countries, including Poland. Four research centers - Czech CCVM Sociological Institute, Slovak Focus, Hungarian Tárki and Polish CBOS – were tracking attitudes toward immigrants and refugees. The analysis of comparative data for the four countries will be presented, including determinants of attitudes toward immigrants and refugees. More comprehensive analysis will cover Polish case, for which the data are richer.

Anticipating the future in an insecure present: discourses of migration in contemporary Serbia

Tanja Andic

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, United States of America

The state transition from the former socialist Yugoslavia to contemporary Serbia has had many consequences for young Serbian workers. Among them are the privatization of the economy, the destabilization of full-time long-term employment, high unemployment rates, and an overall insecure outlook on the economic future. Young people and their families have responded in varied ways, from a strict adherence to the Foucauldian ethos of the management of the self, to the prolonging and delay of life course events such as completion of college, introduction to full-time work, independent living, marriage, and children. In short, while for some Serbian youth time has sped up rapidly, and become more precious through intensive investment in one’s own “human capital,” others are left behind in the waiting room of post-socialist (yet pre-EU) economies. However, despite disparate practices, the majority have the same goal: an aspiration to leave the country in search of better economic opportunities. How are people with such radically different practices hoping for the same outcome of international migration? What fuels the hegemonic aspiration for migration out of Serbia? This presentation looks at four discourses of migration prevalent in Serbia and seeks to understand how migration aspirations and young people’s subjectivities are transformed by both structural factors and everyday speech about how one should proceed towards the future while living in an uncertain present. I further work to show that migration discourses are used as both a practical economic response and a way in which to critique a socio-political landscape young people feel they have no voice in.

Japanese Perspectives on a Changing Polish Society: Cultural Identities of Contemporary Japanese Residents in Poland

Yasuko Shibata

Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology, Poland

The paper aims to discuss the cultural identities of today’s Japanese residents in Poland, as seen in their reaction towards the Polish reception of Japanese global culture.

Since the 1990s, reasons for Japanese people choosing Poland as their place of residence have become varied. Not only musicians and artists, who formerly comprised the majority, but also an increasing number of those seeking fresh business chances and life perspectives unattainable in Japanese society decided to live in post-1989 Poland.

Today, while Japanese otherness (as represented by such global cultural products as sushi, comics/anime, tea ceremony and Zen) has been offering different ideas and values for Poles’ renovation of cultural identities beyond the traditional framework of Polishness, Japanese residents in Poland are facing the globalized meanings of Japaneseness peculiarly practiced in Polish society, in the process of their reconstruction of Japanese cultural identities.

What are the attitudes of Japanese residents in Poland towards the Polish reception of global Japanese products, especially of cuisine representing “sacred” Japaneseness? What values of Japanese culture do they find “correctly,” “improperly,” or “interestingly,” received by Poles? Are there, or what are, “useful” Japanese cultural values for positively changing Polish society in their opinion? How do they see the possibility of popularizing “authentic” Japaneseness in Poland? These and other questions inquiring into the “Polish variant” of Japanese cultural identities will be examined through analysis of the narrative of Japanese residents in Poland collected by the author through in-depth interviews.

Crimean Tatar representation in the context of reframed Ukrainian national narrative

Alina Zubkovych

Södertörn University, Sweden

The Euromaidan protest brought tremendous changes to the political, social-cultural and everyday life in Ukraine and abroad (Yekelchyk 2015, Onuch 2014, Kappeler 2014). The military invasion by the neighbor country, annexation of the Crimean peninsula, marked the appearance of new discourses, identities and cultural practices in Ukraine (Miller and Wert 2015, Otrishchenko 2015, Kasianov 2015), which have arisen as an ideological conformation to the Russian postcolonial politics (Miller and Wert 2015, Grant 2015, Sakwa 2015, Hillis 2015).

Due to the violation of human rights, general unsafety at the peninsula and other reasons, many of the Crimean Tatars were forced to leave Crimea and settle into Ukrainian mainland territories. Displacement, restructure of the ethnic composition of the regions and the new symbolic connotation that Crimea has acquired in both Ukraine and Russia have shifted the reconfiguration of Ukrainian national narratives towards an inclusion of previously marginalized discourses on Crimean Tatars.

The present study aims to analyze the nodal points of such newly reconstructed national narratives with focus on its Crimean Tatar component. Recent (2014-2017) film production, music and cultural events that deal with the Tatar topic serve as material for the empirical analysis.

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