26 June: Workshop “People-making in the era of declining fertility, high migration and bio-technological change”, IMISCOE Annual Conference, University of Geneva
IMISCOE Annual Conference, 25-27 June 2015, University of Geneva
People-making in the era of declining fertility, high migration and bio-technological change
States claim to represent trans-generational communities and thus have a fundamental interest in ensuring the continuity of their populations. To this end, they seek to “make new people” through relying on and influencing the reproductive behaviour of their members (childbearing), through bringing/letting other people in (migration) and through recognising newcomers by birth or immigration as members (citizenship). These normative and institutional processes are complicated by the fact that states are not only interested in their physical and legal continuity but also in the reproduction of their national cultures. The steady decline of fertility rates in Europe combined with acute public perceptions of excessive immigration nurture anxieties about the self-reproduction capacity of national communities. Recent bio-technological advances and reproductive practices, such as in-vitro fertilization and surrogacy, also contribute to these anxieties by questioning conventional ideas about the biological, ethnic or family foundations of national citizenship. Whereas plenty of research focuses on the links between migration, citizenship and identity, little attention is paid to the trans-generational dimension of states/populations and to the politics of people-making in a context of demographic and bio-technological change. The workshop seeks to explore policies, practices, and norms that deal with overlapping concerns about the physical, political and cultural reproduction of national populations.