CFP: “Political representation of diasporas in the EU”- IMISCOE Conference Geneva, 25-27 June 2015

Political representation of diasporas in the EU

Organizers: Jean-Michel Lafleur (University of Liege), Michael Collyer (University of Sussex) and Aija Lulle (University of Latvia)

Deadline for abstracts: January 8, 2015.

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 (aija.lulle@lu.lvby January 8, 2015.