CfP | movements 5 (1) | Mobilities_Regimes: The Contested Politics of Classification

Call for Papers (25.4.18) for a special issue of movements, edited by Regina Römhild, Johanna Rolshoven & Labor Migration Berlin & dgv Commission Mobilities_Regimes.

In view of the overlapping and ambiguous nature of practices associated with movement, the boundaries that distinguish mobility from immobility have been shifting for some time, as have those that distinguish individual categories of mobility from one another, whether travel, fleeing or migration. Concrete differences between tourists, ir/regular travellers, migrants, expatriates, those who have fled their homes, natives, residents, are no longer immediately recognisable.

This kind of “disorderly” reality demands a degree of readjustment that poses a challenge to relevant research areas in the cultural and social sciences. Associated routines, definitions and classifications must be reconsidered, along with research designs, the field in which research is conducted and subject categories. Furthermore, the political instrumentalization of scientific categories used for organizational purposes demands a self-critical review of knowledge production.

In the process, distinctions between migration, tourism or professional mobility do not simply disappear, as the concept of mobilities so often seems to suggest: they continue to play a role in the complex and contradictory interplay of discourses and practices concerning borders and border politics, states and societies – whether in terms of enclosure, exclusion or hierarchisation. The way one is perceived and handled as a tourist, refugee, expatriate, migrant or native implies and generates different social and political subject positions, rights and life chances. Distinctions are also made within these categories according to gender and background, for example. Insofar as these distinctions relate to the Mediterranean or the Global South, the postsocialist or Global East, they are particularly pronounced in all subject categories and therefore usually perceived as being more problematic than they would be in the European and global North/West. Thus powerful shifts in classification can occur, such that, for example, the classic “migrant” is absorbed into the hegemonial figure of the Muslim or the tourist mutates from a figure with whom to identify in Western modernity to the bogeyman of urban gentrification discourse. Rather than reducing the significance of the boundaries that distinguish “mobile” from “resident”, this leads to an increasingly differentiated regime of classification imposed by nation-states and the European Union that creates fundamental distinctions between social subjects (including in terms of their rights).

At the same time, practices of mobility cause chaos by continuously spurning political attempts to maintain order under the mobility regime. Both the mobility regime and oppositional practices are therefore locked in permanent tension with one another. This can be seen, for example, in ongoing discussions on the post-migrant society, in which distinctions between “nationals” and “foreigners” are perceived to be dissolving and political attempts at upholding them increasingly become the subject of conflict. Yet categories of mobility are also used for the purposes of conducting (identity) politics, at least in a transitory and context-specific sense by the people who find themselves labelled in accordance with such categories. This in turn produces further tensions between the political intention (particularly as regards border control) behind such categorizations, and their oppositional appropriation.

With this CfP for a special issue of movements, we invite contributors to continue a debate prompted by the conference “Migration_Mobilität_Gesellschaft. Umkämpfte Politiken der Klassifikation” [Migration_Mobility_Society: The Contested Politics of Classification], held by the dgv Commission Mobilities_Regimes and Labor Migration in Berlin. The aim is to rethink the mobility turn that has been repeatedly invoked but also thoroughly criticised. This is to be achieved using the approaches of critical migration and border regime research to confront and rework the mobility turn. The central research question then concerns whether and how the classificatory tags used in border politics become the objects of cultural, social and political struggles between “majorities” and “minorities” with regard to receiving or distributing privileges, participation and recognition as well as the trans/nationalisation, trans/Europeanisation, cosmopolitanisation of society.

We seek contributions on a range of topics, including:

  • genealogies of subject categories in the field of mobilities and their significance in terms of epistemic politics: migrants, tourists, researchers, those fleeing their homes, Muslims, etc.;

  • scientific contributions on and critiques of the construction of im/mobile subjects and their consequences;

  • the policies of nation-states and constructs used to sort, classify, essentialise and moralise;

  • civil society initiatives and counter-movements in this field, as well as their use, appropriation and resulting ambiguities;

  • gender-critical studies of practices and representations of “legitimate” and “illegitimate” mobilities;

  • updates to, shifts in and mobilizations of categorial (dis)orders in different trans/national scenarios;

  • tools for reaching settlements within the regime: legal systems and practices, the hegemonial function of charitable NGOs;

We are looking forward to receiving abstracts of no more than 500 words by 15th of June 2018. We welcome abstracts for all formats of movements: academic articles, research reports, political interventions in essay format, as well as interviews and book reviews. When submitting an abstract, please indicate the format the submission is meant for. Academic articles should be no longer than 50.000 characters (including spaces), research reports no longer than 30.000 characters and interventions no longer than 20.000 characters. Submissions may be in German or English (please ask for other languages). The final contributions will be due by 30 September 2018.

All submissions will pass through a collaborative review process conducted by the editorial board. Academic articles are additionally peer-reviewed by at least two anonymous experts. In any case, the editorial team will discuss comments and suggestions with the authors in a transparent process. Final decisions on the acceptance of contributions are made by movements’ editorial board. The issue will be published in April 2019.

For further questions and submissions of abstracts: johanna.rolshoven@uni-graz.at

For more information on the journal and the review process see http://movements-journal.org/issues/01.grenzregime/01.editorial~en.html

Submission of abstracts – deadlines

We are looking forward to receiving abstracts of no more than 500 words by 15th of June 2018. We welcome abstracts for all formats of movements: academic articles, research reports, political interventions in essay format, as well as interviews and book reviews. When submitting an abstract, please indicate the format the submission is meant for. Academic articles should be no longer than 50,000 characters (including spaces), research reports no longer than 30,000 characters and interventions no longer than 20,000 characters. The final contributions will be due by 30 September 2018.

All submissions will pass through a collaborative review process conducted by the editorial board. Academic articles are additionally peer-reviewed by at least two anonymous experts. In any case, the editorial team will discuss comments and suggestions with the authors in a transparent process. Final decisions on the acceptance of contributions are made by movements’ editorial board. The issue will be published in April 2019.

For further questions and submissions of abstracts: submit@movements-journal.org

For more information on the journal and the review process see http://movements-journal.org/issues/01.grenzregime/01.editorial~en.html