please find a CFP for the two-day workshop "Forced Migration, Exclusion,
and Social Class" on 23/24 May 2019 in Halle, Germany.
This workshop directs its attention to the interrelation between forced
migration, exclusion, and social class. In the literature on forced
migration, social class is often hidden behind other terms, when refugees
are described as “vulnerable” and “poor” or as “better off. A few studies
that do address class have recognised that a forced migrant remains a
‘classed’ person (Van Hear2004, 2014; McSpadden 1999: 251) and observed
that a middle- or upper-class background can ease the start in a host
country but also lead to sense of frustration and misrecognition (Kleist
2010: 198) and that a celebrated social status is not always transferrable
to the host country (Jansen 2008: 182).
Treating forced migrants as a homogeneous group with respect to class leads
to ignoring relevant differences that can help explain trajectories of
forced displacement and migrant integration. Furthermore, attention to the
class backgrounds of forced migrants can help us understand the
multi-layered nature of their social exclusion and inclusion in the host
country. Class background functions as an additional layer of selection and
differentiation, not only when fleeing the homeland but also after arrival
in the host country.
We understand forced migration as a process of movement compelled by
conflict, social and political oppression, and disaster, or induced by
development projects. Hence, forcedmigrants are “ordinary people” faced
with particular kinds of social, political, and historical situations
(Turton 2003: 1, see also Malkki 1995: 496). Exclusion refers to the
outcome of practices by state and non-state actors that restrict migrants’
access to territory, rights, andresources, as well as participation in
various societal spheres. This may entail practices of boundary-making
between migrant communities and across different social class backgrounds,
as well as acts of self-exclusion. Class may be approached in the sense
that Weber uses the term, i.e. referring to (market) opportunities based on
resources; this definition is also used in more recent class concepts (e.g.
Savage 2013). Following Bourdieu, this includes focusing on“ascribed social
class”, i.e. markers which are interpreted in certain ways by others
Both ascribed social class and class position in the Weberian sense often
change during forced displacement, simply due to the change of context.
While such changes are likely to be an anticipated or desired consequence
of other forms of migration, this is often not the case for forced
migration. We thus examine the degree to which markers of class and their
interpretation by others are subject to change during forced displacement
and how forced migrants experience their (different) class positions.
The workshop will address questions such as:
● How does class (whether defined in terms of profession, education, or
property) influence experiences of forced migration?
● What can a focus on class contribute to the study of forced migration
and how can the study of forced migration influence conceptualisations of
● How do we measure class and social mobility for forced migrants,
taking into account their situations before, during, and after migration?
What frame of reference can we use when speaking about social class and
● How does the class background of forced migrants influence social
exclusion and inclusion?
● How are migration routes, the choice of destination, the time spent
travelling, and the possibility of return to the homeland related to a
refugee’s class background?
● What is the relationship between social and spatial mobility?
● How do refugees deal with the “status paradox” (Nieswand 2014) of
different classes in different places and at different times?
● How do refugees and asylum-seekers define markers of social class?
What factors shape their self-image?
● And how do forced migrants who are put in the category of “refugee”
perceive and dealwith this label?
● How does the class background of a forced migrant interact with
his/her nationality,ethnicity, or religious belonging, particularly in
relationship to the “majority society” (e.g.Pedersen 2012)?
We welcome proposals from researchers working on various aspects of the
overarching topic of forced migration, exclusion, and social class, as well
as papers dealing with specific regional or temporal foci, including
internal displacement. The format of the two-day workshop will centre
around discussion of pre-circulated papers. We plan to prepare an edited
volume or journal issue based on selected papers from the workshop.
A keynote lecture will be given by Nicholas Van Hear (COMPAS, University
Christian Hunkler (MPI for Social Law and Social Policy), Tabea Scharrer
(MPI for Social Anthropology), Magdalena Suerbaum (MPI for the Study of
Religious and Ethnic Diversity), Zeynep Yanasmayan (MPI for Social
Please submit your abstract by 15 October 2018 to both
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Centre for Gender Studies
SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh St, Russell Sq
London WC1H OXG
Tel: +20 101 132 8369
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