Migrants, Borders, Power(s): Contemporary Struggles, Moral Claims and Regimes of (im)mobility
Theoretical and ideological images of a borderless and interconnected global condition in which the nation state’s power decreases and “flows” of people, capital and information mark they day, have been continuously challenged since the 1990s. Apart from the financial and austerity “crises”, it is precisely the rise and violence of borders, of restrictive and neoliberal migration regimes and of right-wing populist (xenophobic, racist and islamophobic) calls for securing the “nation” (in Europe and beyond), which have shown the power of (particular) states in the midst of trans-state institutions and unfolding neoliberal globalization.
Being able to move and cross boundaries, but also being able to afford to actually live in particular places have become increasingly important dimensions of the contemporary struggles for securing a “good life”. Mobility (including phases of “being stuck”) can – at different times, in different places and for different people – figure a resource, a right as well as a means of exploitation and marginalization. It is precisely the so-called “migration/refugee crisis” which has most recently revived older and ongoing debates on (failed) multiculturalism and “integration” (with regards to “Islam” in particular) as well as conflicts and moral claims over “deservingness” and the (re)distribution of wealth and social rights.
This course will comparatively explore different theoretical approaches as well as different cases and configurations of migration and borders (in Europe and beyond). The comparative orientation of the course will enable the participants to compare both theories and cases as well as different social actor’s perspectives (EU, states, civil society, migrants, refugees, local population, men, women, different generations etc.) within particular cases. This comparative approach will enable in-depth critical discussions on heightened contemporary debates on: Who is “just” a migrant and who is a refugee? Who “deserves” to stay, gain citizenship and obtain which social rights? Who can cross which borders? What is a “good life” for whom? What are the migration-related powers and responsibilities of particular states and trans-state instances (e.g. EU)? What is multiculturalism/diversity/integration? What are the impacts of particular migration and integration regimes? etc.
The course will be comprised of input-lectures and close readings of classic and contemporary texts from the interdisciplinary fields of (forced)migration/mobility studies and border studies with a special focus on ethnographic approaches. Furthermore the course will offer a setting for presenting and discussing ongoing and envisioned participants’ research projects (theoretical and/or empirical) on relevant themes. Finally the course will include discussing contemporary films as well as a knowledge exchange with guest speakers from the local social science and civil society sector on migration/border issues in the context of Serbia/Belgrade.
Jelena Tošić is currently a research fellow and lecturer at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology (Vienna) and the Institute of Social Anthropology (Bern). She is a research fellow at Centre for Comparative Conflict Studies (CFCCS), FMK Belgrade. She was Junior Professor for Ethnology and Political Anthropology at the University of Konstanz and interim Professor (Anthropology of State and Transnationalism) at the University of Bern. Her research interests include (forced) migration and border studies, political anthropology, diversity and multiculturalism, anthropology and history/memory, and religion. In her current research she explores the history and socio-cultural diversity of the Albanian-Montenegrin borderland through the lens of migration and "Anti-Extremism/Deradikalisation" in Europe.
She is the co-editor of “Memories on the Move. Experiencing Mobility, Remembering the Past” (Palgrave MacMillan 2017) and “Localized Islam(s): Interpreting Agents, Competing Narratives And Experiences Of Faith” (Special Issue in the Nationalities Papers, forthcoming 2017). Her recent publications further include “Travelling Genealogies: Tracing relatedness and diversity in the Albanian- Montenegrin Borderland” (Manchester University Press 2017) and “From a Transit Route to the “’Backyard of Europe’? Tracing the Past, Present and Future of the ‘Balkan Route’” (Facultas 2017).