CfP IMISCOE Standing Committee on Migration, Citizenship and Political Participation for Geneva conference (June 25-27, 2015)

CALL for Papers

IMISCOE Standing Committee


IMISCOE Annual Conference, 25-27 June 2015, Geneva 


MIGCITPOL is a Standing Committee within the IMISCOE Research Network that explores the various aspects of the politics of citizenship such as access to citizenship status and political rights, political participation and mobilisations of immigrants and emigrants as well as domestic political mobilisations in support of or opposed to immigration. The Committee focuses on three overlapping research topics: (1) Comparative research on citizenship laws and citizenship rights: the acquisition and loss of citizenship and quasi-citizenship statuses and access to particular political participation rights; (2) Transnational political participation: migrants’ political activities in relation to source countries and political opportunity structures/constraints created by home country governments; and (3) Immigrants’ political participation in receiving countries and political mobilisation for and against immigration. By bringing together these partly overlapping topics into in a single research group MIGCITPOL seeks to provides both a critical mass for the sustainability of research and a platform that facilitates the improvement of work through synergies and critical feedback from researchers working on related topics. Apart from empirical research and explanatory theory, MIGCITPOL also promotes applied and contextual normative analyses on each of these three topics.

Coordinators: Jean-Michel Lafleur (University of Liège), Marco Martiniello (University of Liège), and Maarten Vink (Maastricht University).


For the 2015 IMISCOE Conference in Geneva MIGCITPOL plans to submit three panel proposals (two of which as part of the standing group’s reserved slots and one as part of the regular panel proposal submission procedure):

  • Panel 1: Political representation of diasporas in the EU (Organisers: Jean-Michel Lafleur, Michael Collyer and Aija Lulle)
  • Panel 2: People-making in the era of declining fertility, high migration and contested national identity (Organisers: Costica Dumbrava and Rainer Bauböck)
  • Panel 3: The Politics of Naturalization. Citizenship Admission Criteria in Comparative Perspective (Organisers: Christian Fernandez and Pieter Bevelander)

Conference webpage:

 Panel 1

Political representation of diasporas in the EU

There are both large established and recently emerging EU diasporas within the EU and many of their members still citizens of their country of origin. However, immigrants in Western Europe are not just immigrants. Taking Sayad’s (1991) argument that every immigrant is first and foremost an emigrant as a departure point we seek to understand how emigration states, groups and individuals develop specific forms of political representation of diaspora in the contemporary EU. We want to explore how discourses and practices, including failures to implement means of elected and unelected representation of diaspora, reveal larger questions about citizenship, inequalities, nation states and the idea of Europe.

What discourses and practices of political representation of diaspora take place in the various EU countries? In recent years, many States have adopted specific diaspora policies such as external voting, the creation of consultative bodies and even specific forms of representation in Parliamentary Assemblies (Collyer, 2013, 2014; Gamlen, 2008; Lafleur, 2013). However, political representation also includes much broader citizenship processes: mobilisation of diaspora leaders, negotiations between ‘old’ and ‘new diaspora’ (relevant in many contexts, e.g., Portuguese or Irish who emigrated in different times, Balts and Poles who emigrated during the Second World War and those who emigrated recently), emigrant-state relations, mobilisation of diaspora voters, mobilisation of territorial discourses (e.g., diaspora as additional region to existing regions in nation-states, ‘European citizenship’ , ‘popular sovereignty’) are among the issues we want explore more in detail. Besides, political representation of non EU diasporas within the EU deserves equally in-depth analysis and would provide important knowledge of citizenship processes in the EU.

We welcome abstracts that are theoretical, or theoretically informed empirical case studies as well as in-depth empirical case studies in specific states in Europe. Papers can address the question of political representation of diaspora on different levels of analysis, or concentrate on one specific level, e.g., micro practices of everyday politics within a diaspora. We particularly welcome papers which seek to overcome a gap between the ‘sending’ and ‘receiving’ states and can trace the processes of political representation of diaspora internationally or globally.

Possible themes include but are not limited to:

  • Theory-advancing research on concepts of territory, nation-state and sovereignty in diaspora representation;
  • Specific case studies of political representation of diaspora;
  • The dynamics between political representation of diaspora and change in citizenship practices and discourses;
  • The empowerment potential of migrants through political representation of diaspora;
  • Action research or similar active research approaches that contribute to better policy-making with respect to diasporas within the EU.

Please send your abstracts of maximum 500 words (with indications on theoretical framework, methods, and data used in the paper) to Jean-Michel Lafleur (, Michael Collyer ( and Aija Lulle ( by January 8, 2015.

 Panel 2

People-making in the era of declining fertility, high migration and contested national identity

With total fertility rates under the replacement level (2.1 children/women), increasingly diverse populations and rising anti-immigrant sentiments (the “death of multiculturalism”) European societies face an uncertain future. Moreover, in some parts of Europe the problem of demographic decline is set against a background of high levels of emigration and of a history of complex ethnic relations within and across borders. This panel seeks to explore challenges related to the reproduction of national populations in the era of declining fertility, increased migration (including emigration) and contested national identity.

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. 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 the context of dramatic demographic change.

The panel aims to bring together people from different disciplines (political demography, sociology, anthropology, political theory, gender and identity studies) who are interested in the empirical or theoretical study of the nexus between human reproduction, membership and identity.

Possible questions:

  • Do states use pro-natalist policies in order to avoid further immigration?
  • Are pro-natalist policies intended to re-adjust the ethnic structure of the population?
  • Do states accept ethnic migration in order to counteract higher fertility rates of immigrants, ethnic minorities?
  • Are citizenship and diaspora policies regarded as a solution for ethno-demographic decline?
  • How are the new realities and perceptions of demographic change strengthening or reshaping ideas about national identity?
  • State interests in intergenerational continuity of peoples have often been associated with conservative population policies or ethnonationalism. Are there alternative normative conceptions that emphasize instead natality (Arendt) and migration as sources of change and pluralisation in democratic polities?

Please send your abstracts of maximum 500 words (with indications on theoretical framework, methods, and data used in the paper) to Costica Dumbrava ( and Rainer Bauböck ( by January 8, 2015.

 Panel 3

The Politics of Naturalization. Citizenship Admission Criteria in Comparative Perspective

Since the late 1990s, the institution of citizenship has gained a prominent and disputed place on the political agendas of European states. In the wake of international migration and growing diversity, citizenship has regained some of its traditional attraction as an overarching civic membership that draws people together. But whereas the post-War discourse on citizenship largely focused on equality of opportunities and social rights among natives, contemporary discourse is primarily concerned with the integration of immigrants. The invocation of citizenship is consequently accompanied by the desire for a stronger sense of community and shared identity, and often also by calls for a stricter immigration policy and a greater sense of loyalty, gratitude and adaptation to the receiving society. At the heart of the matter is the very process through which new citizens are ‘made’ – the rules of naturalization.

Naturalization is intimately connected to questions of inclusion and exclusion, and all the ideological symbolism that go with them. Contemporary European states have over the last two decades become increasingly eager to employ naturalization criteria as policy instruments, by which immigrants can be made to adapt and integrate in exchange for the reward of citizenship. It is manifested in a number of areas: in the way citizenship is talked about, stressing not only the rights and freedoms that citizenship entails, but also the duties and sacrifices to a greater, common good that it presupposes; in the stronger emphasis that states place on rituals of naturalization – ‘rites de passage’ – which symbolically mark the transformation from foreigner to citizen, manifested in oaths and celebratory rituals that are becoming increasingly common; and in the variety of tests and other requirements that states apply to determine whether or not migrants are sufficiently integrated to earn the status as citizens. Taken together, we call this fashioning of admission criteria the politics of naturalization.

This workshop addresses the public reasons and integration effects of the politics of naturalization from a comparative perspective. Scholars with an interest in these questions are warmly invited to submit paper proposals.

Please send your abstracts of maximum 500 words (with indications on theoretical framework, methods, and data used in the paper) to Christian Fernandez ( and Pieter Bevelander ( by January 8, 2015.