CfP | movements 2(1): Racism

Issue 2(1) of movements will address current formations of racism in Germany and beyond. Recent developments in Germany have repeatedly been compared with the 1990s and the then correspondence between neo-nazi terror in the streets and the de facto abolition of the constitutional right to asylum through the so-called asylum compromise. Today, similar developments can be observed: anti-muslim mass protests organized by PEGIDA and similar organizations, as well as citizens’ initiatives against accommodation facilities for refugees or against so-called ‘poverty migration’ seem to reflect the widely spread and latent racist attitudes in Germany. Once again, this rise of propaganda and mobilization against migration and plurality comes along with a dramatic increase in racist violence. Yet, just like in the 1990s, these racist outbreaks are neither condemned nor repudiated publicly or officially. Then as now, the political and governmental reactions remain racist and contribute to further criminalization and pathologization of the movements of flight and migration (as in the example of the recent reforms of the German asylum law adopted in November 2014 and July 2015). The extent to which racism can unfold in a political, governmental and societal space is quite evident in the far-reaching developments around the complex of the racist terror group NSU (National-Socialist Underground): not only in the involvement or even possible collusion of German security authorities, and the acts of sabotage during the legal and parliamentary investigations of the case, but also through the lack of political consequences and the absence of public indignation.

That notwithstanding, we believe that a comparison of the current situation with that of the 1990s is inadequate as it neglects the social and political transformations that have unfolded in the meantime. The movements of migration have not only produced a broad pluralization of society, where multiple belongings are now common, but the related struggles have also left visible traces in the representational regimes. New possibilities for the participation of (former) migrants and their descendants as well as new political and legal possibilities to challenge discrimination and racist exclusion have thereby emerged. Similar developments are traceable in Austria and Switzerland as well as in other immigration countries worldwide: on the one hand, pluralization of these societies is ongoing, while on the other hand, racist exclusions either persist or are repeatedly reconfigured – especially in combination with other categories like gender and class. These developments, which appear as contradictory, require an actualization, an update of the analysis of racism. The trajectories, techniques, discourses, target groups and practices of racist attributions and exclusions have both been transformed and to some extent become more complicated through the societal developments. Racist designations frequently work indirectly, often by drawing on allegedly universal values (such as freedom, tolerance, productivity) and by systematically shifting the thematic focus away from the racist structures of inequality. Analytically, these mechanisms need to be tackled – however, empirical research and theoretical reflections on how and by which means new boundaries are constituted are lacking so far, as does research on changing subjectification processes, modes of organisation and the limits and possibilities for struggles and tactics against racist exclusions under these new circumstances.

We therefore invite contributions that address these tensions in the following formats: scientific articles, political and academic interventions in essay format, interviews, research reports as well as reviews. We explicitly encourage academic articles that develop a theoretical or empirical actualization of theories of racism, and that investigate the institutional reproduction of racism in fields such as labour, education or housing. Submissions of contributions that consider the intersection of race, class and gender are strongly encouraged.

Submission of abstracts is possible until August 1, 2015. The final contributions will have 20.000 to 40.000 characters and can be written in German and English (further languages on request). The final contributions have to be submitted no later than December 1, 2015. All submissions will be subjected to a review process. Academic articles are reviewed by at least two anonymous experts, other contributions by the editing team (blind peer-review as well). In any case, the editing team will discuss comments and suggestions with the authors in a transparent process. The issue will be published in April 2016.

Please submit abstracts to: