Crises are generally characterized as the outcome of sudden developments which evoke some sort of threat, risk, and need for response --a momentary problem that eventually fades. As such, they disrupt the status quo and may bring serious policy re-framing and institutional changes. However, from the Syrian refugee crisis to the Venezuelan exodus, to limits to mobility and other restrictions during the pandemic, and the proliferation of ´environmental´ migrants, we observe not only the disruption of existing orders and implementation of ad-hoc responses but also the emergence of slow, on-set emergencies. Indeed, the transformation of urgent measures into new forms of migration governance that continually refer to crisis often compromises access to rights. In other words, migration crises are not necessarily resolved but reframed and reproduced; stability is not always restored after crisis; crises may thus enable the curtailing of certain rights and may prompt contestation. As a result, in today’s turbulent contexts, diverse crises add a dose of contingency to the evolution of migrant political rights. Far from following a linear path, such rights have taken a complex itinerary of advances and setbacks. While various factors have contributed to the expansion and institutionalization of migrant political rights in the last few decades (e.g., democratization, enfranchisement, virtual spaces, ethnic lobbying, diaspora engagement policies, etc.), gaps remain in regulation, implementation, and access. These gaps are compounded by the on-and-off switching of the exercise of rights at critical junctures and contexts (e.g., autocratic regimes, illiberal democracies) in which displacements seem to overwhelm expectations and response capacities and migrant activism is unwelcome.
This collaborative project argues that protracted crises are intertwined with social polarization and contestation over inclusion of disadvantaged groups, in particular migrants, in socio-political and economic systems. The project also underscores that migrants are categorized in multiple statuses (voluntary/forced migrants, refugee/asylum seekers, temporary/permanent residents, etc.) which share a common element of precariousness. These statuses are reflected in different levels of institutionalization and access to the exercise of citizenship rights. Crises offer an opportunity to redefine the opportunity structure of political actors. Yet, it is unclear what specific (political and policy) processes are likely to develop when formal statuses are precarious, rights are limited, and crisis persists. Increasing state intervention and restrictive policies perhaps? Reduced or enhanced international cooperation? Bureaucratic restructuring? A new normative consensus? A realignment of political coalitions? The emergence of new constituencies and forms of migrant activism?
In short, we propose to explore to what extent and how protracted crises impinge on the dynamics and factors shaping the institutionalization and exercise of migrant rights, namely state regulation, legal frameworks, regional accords, international organization interventions, migration and related public policies, political party and migrant association campaigns, etc. We thus seek original studies that address the following questions: How do institutional actors´ course of action, legal/regulatory frameworks, and migration policies and institutions at various levels of governance (e.g., local, national, regional) change or adapt as crises unfold and persist over time, and with what implications for migrant citizenship rights? How do we best conceptualize these changes and theorize the short- and long-term implications?
MIGCITPOL may offer a financial contribution toward travel and accommodation expenses. Priority will be given to participants from low-income countries. In your application, please specify whether you intend to attend the event online or in person, and if the latter, whether your participation will be partly or entirely covered by another institution.