Call for papers: The Re-Making of the National in the Age of Migration

RGS-IBG Annual Meeting, London 2013 Call for Papers

The Re-Making of the National in the Age of Migration 

Marco Antonsich and Liz Mavroudi, Loughborough University

Contemporary societies have been recently characterized as having entered the age of ‘super-diversity’. Migratory flows in particular have contributed to this transformation, due to the heterogeneous ethno-cultural, and religious background of migrants, as well as factors such as their social status, age, gender, and mobility patterns. Demographic projections also anticipate a future where the boundaries of majority and minority groups will become more blurred.

Within this context, migration scholarship, and geographers in particular, have offered important contributions aimed at exploring transcalar forms of identification, attachment, and belonging amongst an increasingly diverse population. However, we argue that there is a need for further analysis on how the national remains an important site for the articulation of collective discourses and practices.

The aim of the proposed session is to re-invigorate the debate on the role of the national in the age of migration, and to highlight the contribution of geographical research in this. We wish to investigate the ways in which the transformation of societies as a result of migration is associated with a re-signification of the national, understood here as both a discursive resource activated in processes of identity-formation and a spatial context framing and which is framed by mundane/daily practices.

We are therefore looking for empirically-informed papers which explore the re-making of the national both from institutional perspectives (governmental policies, party documents, school curricula, etc.) and lay discourses and practices (happenings, everyday encounters and talks, habits, routines, etc.).

Papers could therefore focus on (but are not limited to) the following questions:

  • How does the state seek to ‘nationalise’ migrants and ethnic minority groups through processes of nation-building in dynamic, politicised, and situated ways, across space, and through time?
  • How do migrants (first, second and beyond) negotiate national identities and the geographies of difference according to factors such as place, space, gender, age and so forth within their daily lives? How is their resistance and contestation of hegemonic nationalizing discourses conducive to alternative ideas of the national?
  • How can the scale of the ‘national’ be made meaningful to migrants, ethnic minority groups, and to members of host society in/at different scales and spaces? How does this relate to perceptions of citizenship, belonging, ‘social cohesion’, multiculturalism and the like? How can the ‘national’ become inclusive and a force for social and political justice, given the increasing transnational connections that many migrants and their descendants have?

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