Conference Agenda

RN35_04b: Contested Politics of Migration I
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Kyoko Shinozaki, University of Salzburg
Location: BS.G.27
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Ground Floor Oxford Road


Civil Society Organisations and the Changing Politics of Inclusion and Belonging in German and French Cities

Christine Lang

Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany

Migration and migration-induced diversity have become increasingly contested issues in European countries. Actors mobilizing against immigrants and diversity are becoming more powerful; at the same time, immigrants and minorities have become more vocal in questioning exclusionary practices and ideas of belonging. In addition, the influx of new migrants contributes to a continuously growing socio-cultural heterogeneity, which demands new ways of conceiving national belonging.

Against this background, this paper looks at dynamics in the politics of inclusion and belonging in cities in Germany and France. Cities are important sites of struggles around inclusion and belonging. The paper studies the changing politics by focusing on civil society organisations that advocate for migrants and diversity. Taking a field level approach, the paper investigates how the changing political and societal context shapes and possibly transforms the local fields of civil society organisations and their forms of political action. Focusing on cities in Germany and France, the paper includes countries with different political traditions of dealing with immigration, identity and difference, which also affect the ways, in which non-governmental and immigrant actors organize around such issues. Drawing on a survey with urban actors in 40 German and French cities and on qualitative case studies in two cities in each of the two countries, the paper will show differences between the local fields and their dynamics but also some similarities. It will identify both local and national factors that shape how civil society organisations mobilize around issues of inclusion and belonging in the changing societal contexts.

Contested Categorization of Target Populations and Indicators of Territorial Justice. Institutionalisation of a Formalised Intergovernmental Transfer Scheme for Asylum Seekers in Germany

Walter Bartl

Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

Crisis-induced refugee migration raises questions of just responsibility sharing among political territories. While there have been several initiatives in the EU to establish intergovernmental transfer schemes, the distribution of refugees within the EU remains highly uneven. In spite of this, it should be noted, that a variety of spatial distribution schemes are currently in place in several EU members states. In Germany, for example, asylum applicants are distributed among the states (Länder) in accordance with the “Königstein key” which is based on a state’s shares in total population and total tax revenue. How can we explain the institutionalisation of this key indicator for federal burden-sharing in German asylum policy?

Theoretical accounts of burden sharing in asylum policy typically conceptualise this problem in the framework of collective action theory. However, these accounts leave the formation of actor’s preferences (i.e. state governments) unquestioned. Diverging from this view, the basic assumption of this paper is that indicators can acquire the quasi-objective quality of embodying a particular guiding idea (Hauriou) through investments in form (Thévenot) and pragmatic tests of reality, and thereby help to overcome problems of collective action.

Based on the quantitative and qualitative content analysis of official documents and newspaper articles (1949-2018), I show first, that territorial dispersal schemes were applied to contested categories of addressees before asylum seekers became subject to spatial distribution among the German states. Second, the German states had to cope with significant non-cooperation despite having negotiated formal agreements on reception quotas before. Third, the Königstein key was institutionalised in Germany’s federal asylum policy only after it had been used successfully as an indicator of a state’s “fair share” in other policy fields.

Situating Others And Situating Oneself : The Rejection Of Immigration And The (Mis)Uses Of A Post-Colonial Rhetoric In Today’s Poland

Kaja Skowronska

Université de Nantes, France

In the aftermath of the debates around the European Union relocation scheme for refugees in 2015, a virulent anti-immigration discourse has entered the Polish public sphere. Largely present among right-wing parties and in the media, it has shifted public attitudes and redefined the terms of the debate around immigration in Poland. However, in addition to defining immigration as a threat, this discourse also contains a harsh criticism of the European Union and of Western European countries. European migration policies are presented as not only unrealistic, but also as ideologically motivated dogma imposed on Poland by outside forces. This criticism is grounded in a specific understanding of Poland’s geopolitical positioning. Moreover, it is often formulated using categories characteristic of post-colonial analysis. Poland is thus posited as a semi-periphery emancipating itself from the influence of both Russian imperialism and Western hegemony. The discourse on immigration also appears to be a discourse on Poland’s identity and on the country’s place in the world. This use of terms and concepts rises the question of the role of non-European Others in this particular construction of Polish identity and conception of the county’s geopolitical position. How does immigration factor into the right-wing discourses on Poland and the West, and what does this reveal about their inner logic?

This paper draws mainly on document analysis, including statements by government officials, ruling party members, and other politicians, as well as media reports on immigration, in particular coming from the right side of the political spectrum. We also draw on existing literature concerning the recent anti-immigration turn, and put it into perspective with earlier works, dating from before the politicization of the topic.

Immigration and the Contested Boundaries of Citizenship: A Comparative Analysis of Greece and Turkey

Ayşe Serdar

Istanbul Technical University/Mid Sweden University

Nation-state formations in Turkey and Greece shaped each other in complex ways. Both states pursued similar mechanisms of assimilation towards ethnic diversity, and sought to assimilate non-dominant ethnic groups who share the same religion with the dominant majority by denying their minority status and promising full-fledged citizenship rights if they assimilate. Their immigration and naturalization policies also remained relatively open only to the immigrants deemed to have “the same descent”. In both cases, the legitimate membership in the nation-state is maintained by strong ethnic tones. In the last decades, both Turkey and Greece experienced a massive flow of refugees and irregular migrants, which challenged the boundary-making mechanisms of citizenship. By examining the historical background and current official data, political discourse and recent legal changes, I analyze the divergence and convergence patterns of citizenship and naturalization policies between two cases. Greece is challenged by the large numbers of non-co-ethnic immigrants who cannot be incorporated by the former restrictive policies of naturalization. The result is reforming the laws to a relatively more inclusive and territorial principle in a highly contested climate. In Turkey, the dominant political discourse is characterized by the “religious brotherhood” with displaced Syrian Muslims. The selective application of the recent laws of naturalization tends to include mostly Sunni Muslim Syrians with economic and cultural capital and falls short of developing a pluralist and civic understanding of national boundaries towards other immigrants and refugees. This study comparatively explores the extent to which the recent laws and practices of citizenship and naturalization triggered by the "refugee crisis" are capable of democratizing and transforming the ethnicist and assimilationist legacies of nation-making in Turkey and Greece.