FISSURES AND RUPTURES IN EUROPEAN SOCIETIES: MASSES, MIGRANTS AND MINORITIES
December 11, 2014
Contemporary European societies and polities face old and new challenges when handling the problems of discord, separation, or marginalization across social groups and spaces. The way in which these problems are handled plays into political and moral claims by which Europe positions itself in global affairs. As Europe observes these days, at times of enduring economic hardship, fissures and ruptures in society easily turn to cleavages. The recent march and popular appeal of far right political forces in different corners of Europe is intimately connected to xenophobic and chauvinist reflections upon these cleavages.
Social categories, entitlements, and boundaries created by distributive and recognition struggles and decisions are at the heart of various social disentanglements. Migration studies critically reveal bundles of forces, sites, and mobilities that make the category of the migrant a salient one in articulating social fissures and ruptures. Recent currents in these studies contest simple binaries such as the migrants and the natives or the regular and irregular migrants by relating to other important differences in society that are marked by tensions, fight, or alliances among social actors. As the category of migrant becomes combined, questioned, transformed, or overridden by other important social categories, the relevance of ethnic and national boundaries and identities becomes contested. The notion of social inclusion, a master frame to the INTEGRIM initiative, has accumulated various positive meanings in political and policy debates yet remains contested in academic debates.
The Annual Conference of the INTEGRIM initiative in December 2014 addresses empirical and conceptual opportunities and recent explorations in understanding how migration flows, policies, and debates relate, move, reveal or clash with other important discords in society. Competitive, cooperative, transformative, or mutually constitutive relations of marked ruptures in society will be explored and explained. Further, the field of migration studies has obvious cross-currents with interdisciplinary scholarship on social inequalities, regimes of citizenship, practices of social exclusion and inclusion, and other key concepts capturing pronounced or disguised social ruptures. Similar types of encounters characterize the field of Romani Studies, whereas the two fields have generated only thin crosscurrents until now. The host institution of the conference, the Central European University is deeply interested in promoting academic conversations across these two fields of studies and facilitating encounters of these two disjointed scholarly communities.