CfP | movements 5 (2) | The European Border Regime in the Balkans

After the total closure of the »formalized corridor« over the Western Balkans in the beginning of 2016, the situation faced by (transit-) migrants in the region has changed drastically. Many refugees got stuck in Serbia and recently in Bosnia and Herzegovina, due to introduction of fences and surveillance equipment, massive police and military presence at the borders, regular and often violent push-backs. In fewer numbers and different conditions, the same processes can be observed in other Balkan countries, such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia. At the same time, new (and still successful) tactics of mobility can be observed.

This special issue of the journal movements focuses on two main issues. First, the re-stabilization of the European border regime after the »long summer of migration«. We invite contributions that critically analyze the main policies, discourses and practices of the diverse actors involved in regaining control over the movements of migration in the Balkans. Second, the special issue aims to shed light on the ongoing practices of migration to come to terms with a situation marked by an increasing level of violence, encampment, social abandonment and racism.

We are especially interested in discussions on how to theoretically, analytically as well as methodologically approach such a fragmented and brutalized situation. Are the classical parameters and paradigms of critical border studies sufficient and accurate to describe the current developments? How could the ongoing hardening of the borders in the Balkans be connected with the ongoing struggles of migration? How is the relationship between concepts such as »mobility« and »immobility«, or »visibility« and »invisibility« once again redefined? Which new concepts are emerging? What are the methodological implications of research in such contexts? Not less important – how could (or should) academic practitioners working on the knowledge production react and act?

We seek contributions on the following topics (but not limited to them):

  • EU instruments vis a vis the Balkan states and vice versa: a re-assessment of politics, practices and discourses of/within the countries of the region (or their comparison)

  • Externalization of actors, strategies, and policies towards the region, focusing on the role of the EU or coalitions of different EU member states, like the Visegrad-Group

  • Empirical-ethnographic accounts of political and very practical strategies of regaining control by various actors: push-backs, camps, and infrastructures of (preventing) mobility

  • Critical assessment of the role and the practices of humanitarian and/or human rights actors and their interventions, as well as of the role and practices of volunteers and civil society

  • Genealogical, kinopolitical, economic and legal perspectives on the practices, strategies and tactics of various actors regarding the Balkan Route

  • Migratory mobility and forms of protest focusing on migrant geographies and viapolitics: what do places, vehicles and objects of mobility and/in immobility on the Balkan Route do?

  • Methodological implications of doing research in violent contexts: what research formats and procedures are adequate and how can academic knowledge production intervene and make a difference?

  • Activist and artistic production of knowledge. We also encourage field reports, fieldnote excerpts, as well as self-reflexive presentations of groups who actively work on pro-migrant-solidarity.

We look forward to receiving abstracts of up to 500 words by 15th of January 2019. The journal movements usually publishes texts in three different formats. We welcome abstracts for any of the three formats:

1. Academic articles (max. 50.000 characters, including spaces);

2. Research reports, artistic and political interventions in narrative and non-narrative forms, including essays, videos, maps, and so on (max. 30.000 characters, including spaces);

3. Interviews and book reviews (max. 20.000 characters, including spaces).

When submitting an abstract, please indicate the planned format of the submission. All submissions will go through a collaborative review process conducted by the editorial board. Academic articles will also be peer-reviewed by at least two anonymous experts. 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 at the end of 2019.

For further questions and submissions of abstracts, please write to: .

For more information on the journal and the review process, please see: