Lecture series – TRANS-WORLD: Debating the Openness of Borders in the Age of Transnational Migration

@ the Department of Human Geography at the Radboud University of Nijmegen

The following Alexander von Humboldt Guests will take part in our programme:

Prof. Alejandro Portes (Department of Sociology, Princeton University, USA)
Prof. Thomas Faist (Center on Migration, Citizenship and Development, University of Bielefeld, Germany)
Prof. Joseph Carens (Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, Canada)
Prof. Franck Düvell (Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, University of Oxford, United Kingdom)

This series will be completed by a small scientific workshop and a big public debate with politicians and scientists in 2008.

For a more extended description, go to www.ru.nl/socgeo/description or

Under this theme, we will analyse issues of borders and belonging in the current age of transnational migration. It is almost a truism to say that the world of today has become increasingly interconnected. Capital, information, services and goods are crossing borders on an increasing scale. What is more, migration increasingly has become transnational migration, meaning that it has become easier due cheaper ways of transportation and communication to stay in close touch with the country of origin while being in the host country. As a result, some commentators have argued that national identities and national communities have transformed into transnational identities and transnational communities. To conceive of the world primarily in terms of the rationally organised hierarchies of the sharply bounded territorial containers associated with classical modernity is therefore no longer adequate, if it ever was. At the same time however, in the last few years, issues of transnationalism and immigration are increasingly perceived, at least by some, as dangerous migration streams that risk flooding the protective and protected lands of domestic sovereignty. In this context the desire to control and reclaim space, power and national identity has recently found new nationalistic political adherents and partisans.

More and more governments of host countries are recognizing the need to establish, modernize, and improve their laws, policies, practices and administrative structures for ensuring orderly migration, while at the same wishing to stimulate national and local integration of the immigrants and dimming possible xenophobia. At the same time, governments of source countries are also looking for migration policies which can help to optimise the positive impact while reducing the negative implications. We would argue however, that these debates are currently taking place in isolation: immigration countries dominantly aim at controlling migration by closing the borders, whereas more and more emigration countries are stimulating people to emigrate because of the beneficial remittances that are brought ‘home’, often without knowing what is an ‘appropriate policy’ for optimising the development impact. At both sides, each national government has its own goals and priorities, despite tendencies at the level of the UN and the EU to formulate more integrated and cohesive policies. A more concerted view or vision on a sustainable governmental approach to immigration is searched for in the source and host countries.

In this new Von Humboldt series we wish to contribute to a better understanding of the long-term implications of global migration for the development and governance of (local) places, and more specifically reflect on what impact a further opening of the borders will have on (local) societies of source/host countries. In doing so, this project wishes to reflect on global-and-local governmental approaches that enhance the beneficial aspects and at the same time develop mechanisms to restrict the negative implications of migration, both in the host as in the source countries and regions. In analysing this, we will reflect on the interplay between the various actors involved, that is the bordering, migration and development policies of the sending countries, the host countries and the transit countries vis-à-vis and the migrants themselves.

More particular, we will explore and discuss the tension that seemingly lies at the heart of current border practices, that is on the one hand practices of biopolitical control, the production of citizens and strangers, the carving up of domains of knowledge and purified ‘dreamlands’ of id/entity; and on the other an the generation of a (dreamland of) escape into radical openness, into a world of global development and global distributive justice. Both ends seem of the domain seem to be needed. But where is the balance? How open are the national borders in the current world? And how open do we want them to be?

Questions that are relevant for us then are: How do different migration and border regimes influence migrants’ transnational attachment to place, notions of community/identity and belonging and how home-making and home- breaking practices are constructed and politicised. How do different border and migration regimes translate into (new) structures of opportunity, and how to optimise the development impact? How much transnationalism and globalisation can we bear? How much home and belonging do we need? How much transnationalism and globalisation do we need? How open do we allow political borders to be? Given the apparently contradictory spatialities of borders, reflected in their capacity to articulate both transcendent closure and immanent openness, we may assert that attempts to border migrants are inherently partial, selective, and opportunistic, both in their representation as in the interests that they serve. In short, rather than to attempt to strategise on the national political issue of finding measures for increased assimilation and control, we wish to inverse the question and take a transnational perspective, the perspective of the world as a whole, and analyse to what extent do we allow and can we optimise the openness of borders for migration in, what we tentatively call, the ‘Trans-World’.

Drawing upon your own interest and/or research we invite you to engage with the issues raised here. Building on recent major scholarly interventions addressing these concerns, an international roster of guest lecturers will be invited to Nijmegen to collaborate with in-house staff, external scholars and students to analyse and evaluate the policies and (moral) consequences of border and migration policies in an increasingly interlinked world.

Programme:

Alexander von Humboldt Lecture:
“From Immigrants to Ethnics: The Politics of Immigration”

Prof. Alejandro Portes (Department of Sociology, Princeton University, USA)

Abstract: This lecture will review the politics of immigrant communities with emphasis on the phenomenon of transnationalism and its implications for the social and political incorporation of foreigners in receiving societies. Other topics to be reviewed are determinants of citizenship acquisition (“changing flags”), the different nationalities to do so, and the transformation of immigrants into ethnic groups through interaction with the native population. The review closes with a typology of contemporary immigration and the political attitudes and activities expected from each type of immigrant. The second generation, its orientation toward transnational politics and the determinants of its assimilation to host societies will be briefly discussed.
Monday
May 14, 2007
17:30-19:30
Free entry
Thomas van Aquinostraat 1.0.02, Radboud University Nijmegen

Research Seminar with Prof. Alejandro Portes
Tuesday
May 14, 2007
14:00-17:00
Free entry
Thomas van Aquinostraat 3.0.27, Radboud University Nijmegen

Extraordinary Alexander von Humboldt Lecture by occasion of visit of Mr. Campusano:
“Exclusion from Citizenship Rights for Expatriates: The Chilean case”

Raul F. Campusano Droguett (Departamento Jurídico, Ministerio de Miner, Santiago, Chili)
Joint Initiative of the Department of Human Geography and The Department of Political Sciences (Prof. dr. Marcel Wissenburg)
Wednesday
June 13, 2007
Time and Place will be announced
Free entry

Alexander von Humboldt Lecture:
“Diaspora and Development: The Triangulation of Exit, Voice and Loyalty”

Prof. Thomas Faist (Center on Migration, Citizenship and Development, University of Bielefeld, Germany)
Monday
September 24, 2007
17:30-19:30
Thomas van Aquinostraat 1.0.02, Radboud University Nijmegen
Free entry

Research Seminar with Prof. Thomas Faist
“The Erosion and Expansion of Citizenship: Multiculatural and Multiple Citizenship”
Tuesday
September 25, 2007
14:00-17:00
Thomas van Aquinostraat 3.0.27, Radboud University Nijmegen
Free entry

Alexander von Humboldt Lecture:
“Immigration and Democratic Principles”

Prof. Joseph Carens (Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, Canada)
Monday
October 15, 2007
17:30-19:30
Thomas van Aquinostraat 1.0.02, Radboud University Nijmegen
Free entry

Research Seminar with Prof. Joseph Carens
Tuesday
October 16, 2007
14:00-17:00
Thomas van Aquinostraat 3.0.27, Radboud University Nijmegen
Free entry

Alexander von Humboldt Lecture:
“Illegal/Irregular Immigration in Europe”

Prof. Franck Düvell (Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, University of Oxford, United Kingdom)

Monday
November 26, 2007
17:30-19:30
Thomas van Aquinostraat 1.0.02, Radboud University Nijmegen
Free entry

Research Seminar with Prof. Franck Düvell on: “Transit Migration on the Fringes of Europe”
Tuesday
November 27, 2007
14:00-17:00
Thomas van Aquinostraat 3.0.27, Radboud University Nijmegen
Free entry

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