Maggi Leung | Utrecht University
PIERLUIGI MUSARO | University of Bologna
Melissa Moralli | University of Bologna
Karin Geuijen | Utrecht University, School of Governance
Current migration scholarship documents on restrictive migration policies and repressive measures against newcomers. At the same time, scholars also noted a proliferation of initiatives and NGOs aimed at hosting newcomers, (co-)creating ‘welcoming spaces’ with citizen, local governments, NGOs, businesses, or migrant themselves. Because of their attempt to challenging ‘anti-migration’ policies and discourses, such initiatives are often highly contested. Their success seems to depend on combinations of collective action, multi-stakeholder collaboration and institutional innovations. However, given the local scale of most of these initiatives, the dispersion in space and political sensitivity, much of what is happening around these ‘welcoming spaces’ remains under the radar.
Further, such initiatives are well documented in large metropolitan areas. This session focuses instead on the development of the welcoming capacity of smaller cities, towns, villages, located in ‘shrinking regions’ that are undergoing demographic and economic decline.
We intend to focus on the evolution of policies or/and social and physical infrastructures supporting ‘welcoming spaces’. How do ‘welcoming spaces’ appear and evolve? Is there any basis for upscaling? Have some categorical differences (of age, gender, status, etc.) become more or less relevant in shaping these ‘welcoming spaces’? Finally, does inclusive and sustainable development of shrinking improve hospitality of newcomers and increase opportunities for migrants to build meaningful lives?
Against the anti-migration political tendencies. Shrinking regions in Poland as new welcoming spaces for non-EU migrants
Justyna Szałańska (SGH Warsaw School of Economics)
Marta Pachocka (SGH Warsaw School of Economics)
Paweł Kubicki (SGH Warsaw School of Economics)
Despite the anti-migration sentiment of the Polish government of the Law and Justice party since late 2015 and the lack of a general migration and integration strategy at the national level, the pro-immigration actions and practices have been implemented by some actors filling the policy vacuum in this way. The afore-mentioned actors include local governments, NGOs, religious organisations and individuals from both receiving society and migrant communities.
Within this context we will further examine the situation of selected small municipalities in Poland defined as shrinking regions with respect to welcoming non-EU migrants. In Poland, the relation between shrinking regions and migration is twofold. On the one hand, poor job opportunities in shrinking regions (in particular, it applies to rural areas and some municipalities) cause internal outmigration and population decline. On the other hand, identified shrinking regions: Podlaskie and Lubelskie Voivodeships, by bordering with Ukraine and Belarus, attract immigrants from the mentioned neighbouring (third) countries. In addition, geographical dispersion of centres for asylum seekers in the discussed voivodeships makes forced migrants stay in these regions, either temporary for the duration of the asylum procedure or permanently, if they decide to settle down in the region.
Our paper aims to present early findings from the Welcoming Spaces project, namely mapping non-EU migrants in selected shrinking areas in Poland. We focus on two research questions: who are the migrants coming and settling in the selected shrinking municipalities and what types of programmes and initiatives welcome them there. The paper is based on secondary data (in particular statistical and registrar data) and preliminary findings from the fieldwork.
Welcoming initiatives: social participation of newcomers and social-ecological sustainability
Laura Foelske (University of Siegen)
Building on the assumption of the EU-research project Welcoming Spaces, I pursue the thesis that non-EU newcomers can contribute to the revitalization of shrinking regions. Studies show that participation in the labor market (economic viability) and in social life (social well-being) is eminent for the retention of newcomers in German shrinking regions. In Germany, this is often understood as “social participation”.
Since welcoming initiatives are understood as organizations, the research focuses on organizations that aim the social participation of newcomers (labor market and social life) and social-ecological sustainability. Organizations should aim socially and ecologically sustainability for two reasons. First, social sustainably, because this means they aim to bring newcomers into “quality jobs” (includes social security, health and safety laws, protection against dismissal and so on). Secondly, ecologically sustainable, because this means they aim to achieve climate goals (stop climate change) and invest in green future-oriented companies, which will make the region economically competitive. Examples of such organizations are labor market integration services, that bring newcomers into green jobs (ecotourism, social agriculture).
In Germany, these initiatives are either run by the public or private sector. These organizations participate in governance processes, network on different levels and aim social participation of newcomers and social-ecological sustainability.
In my research project, I will explore these types of organizations and their networks from a sociological and social work perspective, investigating the following research questions: How do social-ecological welcoming initiatives organized and create welcoming spaces to promote the social participation (into the labor market and social life) of newcomers?
Exploring welcoming spaces in Europe: a narrative approach
Maurizio Bergamaschi (University of Bologna)
Alice Lomonaco (University of Bologna)
Paola Parmiggiani (University of Bologna)
Nowadays, the number of examples of ‘welcoming spaces’ for migrants – refugees and other migrant groups – in ‘shrinking regions’ that are undergoing demographic and economic decline in Europe is growing. Such initiatives are often citizen-driven but can equally be the outcome of initiatives by local governments, NGOs, businesses, or they can be migrant-initiated. Going against ‘anti-migration’ currents, most initiatives are often highly contested. Their success seems to depend on combinations of collective action, multi-stakeholder collaboration and institutional innovations. Given the local scale of most of these initiatives, the dispersion in space and political sensitivity, much of what is happening around these ‘welcoming spaces’ remains under the radar. The possibilities for upscaling such initiatives are hence under-explored.
Drawing upon these premises, this paper aims at presenting the first phases of a research project which investigates and supports practices and processes of revitalisation and sustainable development in shrinking areas, achieved while providing opportunities for newcomers. Underling both limits and opportunities, the paper will present some of the initial results of the new Horizon 2020 project “WELCOMING SPACES”, with a specific focus on the link between narratives, representations and actions, and how these dynamics can lead to local development processes. In particularly, this explorative analysis will show the processes of de-construction, re-construction and enactment of alternative narratives concerning migration, while also promoting social inclusion and sustainable development.
Welcoming Spaces and Sustainable Development: migrant-oriented welcoming and social inclusion initiatives in Galicia (Spain)
Leticia Santaballa (ESOMI, University of A Coruña)
Laura Oso (ESOMI, University of A Coruña)
Galicia is one of the Spanish regions most severely affected by shrinking, due in part to the mass migration of Spaniards to Latin America and Europe during the 19th and early 20th centuries. During the 1990s, the region began to receive immigrants: on the one hand, Galician descendants (mainly from Latin America) and, on the other hand, immigrants with no previous connections to Galician emigration.
In recent years, the rural municipality of Celanova has received kind of immigration that could be described as a “return to the roots”, arriving mainly from Venezuela, a trend that resulted in a series of welcoming initiatives. However, “retaining” these new residents of Galician origin has proved to be a more complex matter.
In turn, Burela stands out for its reception of migrants from Cape Verde, drawn initially by the demand for workers in the thriving building and fishing industries. This borough stood out for of its use of Welcoming initiatives, although in recent years, there has been an apparent deterioration in intercultural coexistence and higher levels of segregation among the migrant-origin population.
This paper, through the results of a qualitative fieldwork (semi-structured in-depth interviews carried out in these two municipalities compares the reception initiatives targeting the migrant population (returned and non-EU-country nationals), and reflects on their impact on social inclusion and sustainable local development, assessing the underlying factors for the success or failure of Welcoming initiatives.
Welcoming Spaces for Whom? Developing Intersectional Approaches to Studying Bottom-up Initiatives for and by Migrant Newcomers in Rural and Shrinking areas
Jana Finke (Utrecht University)
The particular challenges faced by migrant newcomers in shrinking areas in the Netherlands and other countries, may range from (forced) physical displacement, the absence of specialized services and education, a lack of (migrant) networks and employment, to xenophobia. Those particular challenges are intricately linked to wider national and international inequalities, resulting from spatial downscaling, which affect all inhabitants of shrinking areas (Glick-Schiller & Çağlar 2011, 2016). This presentation proposes theoretical perspectives and empirical examples to illustrate how different spatial and social inequalities intersect in shaping life in shrinking areas, and may be tackled simultaneously in bottom-up initiatives for and by migrant newcomers. Who feels welcome in spaces that arise from such initiatives? How can we analyse their potential and limitations in tackling inequalities faced by migrant newcomers in particular, and inhabitants of shrinking areas more broadly? Transcending divides between the literature on shrinkage, regeneration, and migration, this presentation proposes an intersectional approach (Crenshaw, 1989) that considers the interaction of the spatial axis of shrinkage, with social axes like migration history, legal status, ethnicity/racialization, gender, social class and age (see Amelina & Lutz, 2018). It engages with critical perspectives on de-migranticization (Dahinden, 2016) and transnationalism (Amelina & Lutz, 2018). The conceptual approach will be illustrated by empirical examples of bottom-up initiatives for and by migrant newcomers from shrinking areas in the Netherlands. The focus lies on initiatives that give rise to welcoming spaces which foster social connection, collective learning & education, and political agency of inhabitants with and without migration background.
Utrecht University, School of Governance
SGH Warsaw School of Economics
Warsaw School of Economics
SGH Warsaw School of Economics
University of Siegen
University of Bologna
University of Bologna
University of Bologna
ESOMI, University of A Coruña