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Migration studies

Seminar "Migration studies" (Higher School of Economics) is designed as a platform for presentation by scholars engaged in migration studies their academic research, as well as for the discussion among experts. The seminar is focused on an interdisciplinary approach and unites specialists from different fields: economists, sociologists, geographers, historians, anthropologists who deal with this problem. The seminar is open not only for academics, but also for all those interested in the migration studies.

Seminar Organizer: Ekaterina Demintseva, e-mail: edemintseva@hse.ru

 
2018

 

On October 9, 2018 was held a session of the regular seminar "Migration studies" together with the “International Seminar Series in Sociology” organized by the Higher School of Economics School of Sociology and the Institute of Social Policy. Mikkel Rytter, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology (Aarhus University, Denmark) presented her recent research “The Power of Love: Visibility and Mobility among Sufi Muslims at the Margins of the Danish Welfare State”.      

This paper explores contested notions of visibility among the followers of the Danish branch of the global Sufi tariqa called Naqshbandi Mujaddidi Saifi. On one hand being visible (in acts and physical appearance) in specific ways, is a necessary element in the spiritual progression and transformation of the devoted Sufi murids. On the other hand, the visible Muslim (wearing niqab or growing a beard) has in recent years been the target of political contestation and intervention. Islam and Muslims are in many respects cast as the usual suspects, referred to the margins of the secular Danish welfare state and the social imaginary of the nation. Despite these developments, the Saifis have their own agenda, a revolutionary project where they strive to transform themselves and their surroundings by the power of divine love. This paper discusses the connection between contested visibility and emic notions of spatial and spiritual mobility among the Saifiyya tariqa in Denmark.  

 

On September 5, 2018 was held a session of the regular seminar "Migration studies"organized by the Higher School of Economics Institute of Social Policy. Bhavna Dave (Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS, University of London) presented her recent research "Securitization and Neoliberal Logic in Russia’s Labour Migration Governance".

The tightening of control over migration by the Ministry of Interior (MVD), together with the dissolution of the FMS reflects a shift towards a restrictive, securitization-oriented migration regulation with increased ethnoracial profiling of migrants for documentation checks, fines and deportations. At the same time, the takeover of migrants’ documentation and regulatory functions by the city administration (in Moscow, St Petersburg and several other cities) – executed by the Multifunction Migration Centres - has made it easier for migrants from visa-free states to obtain labour patent, residency and settlement. The above processes reveal the emergence of two different though parallel governmentalities in the migration regulation domain: one driven by the logic of securitization and control, and the other defined by the neoliberal logic of creating a ‘service-oriented’ regulatory framework for migration for enhancing profit. The paper enquires into the nature of and the relationship between these two seemingly divergent modes of governmentality. My aim is to develop a framework for understanding the apparent absence of rationality, logic or strategy in Russia’s migration policy and the endemic corruption in the migration regulation sphere.

 


 On June 6, 2018, Olga Vendina (Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences), and Emil Pain (Higher School of Economics and Institute of sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences) presented their book “Multiethnic City: the Challenges and Prospects of Cultural Diversity Management in Metapolicies.”

This book was written on the basis of the survey carried out in Perm, Ufa and Rostov-on-Don in 2016-2017. Assuming that an urban society is a diverse and complex society, the authors analyzed the group’s strategies of mutual accommodation affected not only by people’s values and attitudes but also by exogenous factors such as migration, civic culture persistence, national-state building and geopolitical situation, and every-day life pragmatics. Particular attention was payed to unformal institutions understood as integrity of the norms, rules and practices which organized people behavior and were specific for each city.

The different aspects of the urban diversity management problem were touched upon in the presentation. E. Pain focused on the correlation between citizenship and urbanity, nation buildings and civic urban culture. He concluded that the challenge of growing diversity demonstrated the urgency to review the actual Russian National Policy, which had to be updated and complimented by the cultural diversity management politics. O. Vendina referred to the key findings of the research relating to co-existence of ethnic and social groups in the cities.

 

  


 On May 21, 2018, the regular “Migration studies” seminar organized by the Institute of Social Policy (Higher School of Economics) and the Center for Franco-Russian Studies hosted Bartolomeo Conti, EHESS, Paris, with a presentation on “Genesis, functioning, and dismantling of a French jihadist group.” 

Through the case study of a particular jihadist group - the so-called Cannes-Torcy network - this seminar addressed the reasons and complex mechanisms related to why and how young French people, who were quite “banal”, became radicalized. It also addressed what factors interacted in this process and how these interactions were articulated as part of the young people's trajectories to radicalization. The case study enabled us to address critical issues such as the relationship between different profiles, interactions between leaders and followers, and the intersections between psychological, political, social and religious dimensions of ideological violence. But this group also told us a lot about the Islam of these young people too, including the relationship they had with the tradition of Islam associated with earlier generations, how they diverged from the Islam of their forefathers to slip into or simply to flirt with jihadist violence - sometimes for a brief period of their life, and sometimes for long enough to die. 

 

 

 



On April 24, 2018 Ekaterina Ermakova, Institute of African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, gave a talk on "Disciplinary practices and boundaries of the public in Cairo through the eyes of a migrant" at the regular "Migration studies" seminar organized by the Institute of Social Policy at the Higher School of Economics.

The outburst of conflicts in the Middle East intensified migration processes in the region, while the issues of migrants' adaptation in these countries were not practically articulated, remaining secondary to the problems of the refugee crisis in Europe. Cairo is a multi-million city with a high population density. It represents a unique example of an urban environment that provides for a relatively effective integration of migrants in conditions of minimal state intervention. This phenomenon was based on traditional mechanisms that gave the local population a significant share of independence in establishing and maintaining the boundaries of private-public. In Ermakova’s opinion, the success of migrant adaptation in the new environment depended on these mechanisms.

The presentation contained the results of a research based on a series of interviews with Egyptian re-emigrants from the oil-producing countries of the Middle East (Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait) and migrants from the CIS and Europe from 2009 to 2015.

 


 

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