CFP: Immigrant Policies in European Cities in Times of Economic Crisis

Academic Coordinators:
Dr. Sarah Hackett, Senior Lecturer in Modern European History, Bath Spa University, UK
Dr. Maria Schiller, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Socio-Cultural Diversity, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany

European cities have become important players in devising and implementing immigrant policies, involving the creation of institutional structures, the build-up of expertise, and the formation of working relationships between the local state and local populations. Several explanations for the changed role and self-confidence of cities in devising their own immigrant policies have been offered, such as the promotion of local responses to migration and diversification by European Union institutions, the evolution of city networks, the questioning of national-level policy frames, and the immediate pressures cities face to respond to local diversity. Indeed academic scholarship has now gone some way towards analysing local-level immigrant policymaking, and how it can and does deviate from national policy directives and legislation; the importance of cities in putting integration policies into effect; and the extent to which a city’s relationship with a diversified local population can be influenced by its policies, economy and history (Polèse and Stren 2000; Alexander 2003; Penninx, Kraal, Martiniello and Vertovec 2004; Garbaye 2005; Caponio and Borkert 2010; Glick Schiller and Çağlar 2011; Nicholls and Uitermark 2013; Foner, Rath, Duyvendak and van Reekum 2014; Hepburn and Zapata-Barrero 2014). However, the literature to date has hardly addressed how local responses to diversity change and what can explain the stability or transformation of local immigrant policies. With this Call for Papers we therefore invite scholarly contributions that address this gap, focusing on the impact of present and/or past economic crises on local immigrant policies.

Economic crises can provide an acute challenge to human resources and institutional structures dedicated to immigrant and diversity policies at the local level. Both the most recent crisis and past instances of crisis across the post-war period provide much scope for empirical analysis of crisis-related changes, as well as a more theoretical discussion of the ramifications of crisis in relation to immigrant policies. Some work has identified a shift in migration policy in Europe at a national level prompted by the 2008 financial crisis. This was witnessed in David Cameron’s pledge to reduce immigration to Britain to the ‘tens of thousands’; the Spanish government’s voluntary return programme and its attempt to promote the integration of migrants in the hope that this would reduce tensions between natives and foreigners during times of economic downturn; France’s scheme to make it more difficult for illegal migrants to live and work in the country; Italy’s criminalisation of illegal immigration; and Sweden’s decision to liberalise its labour migration policy (Kuptsch 2012; Bevelander and Petersson 2014; Pastore 2014). Overall, it is clear that whether due to public opinion, pressure from far-Right political parties, genuine economic concerns, or indeed a combination thereof, the 2008 financial crisis triggered a sharp shift in national-level migration policy in a range of different ways.

Yet what remains overwhelmingly absent from the academic literature is an assessment of the relationship between city-level immigrant policies and economic crises. The aim of this Special Issue is to fill this gap. It seeks to examine this previously unexplored relationship in Western European cities across the post-war period within historical and contemporary contexts, and to bridge the gap across multiple disciplines.
Research questions/areas of focus:
The Special Issue’s key starting question is: How do European cities’ migration, integration and diversity policies and political structures change as a consequence of economic crisis? Overall, it aims to assess the effects on the financial and human resources of municipal organisations, on the relationships between stakeholders, and on the political will for addressing diversity and equality. It will consider the way economic crises have been reflected in European cities’ past and contemporary migration policies and processes, and how these experiences can inform future academic and policy debates.
Migration, integration and diversity policies and political structures are interpreted in a broad manner and might involve (but are by no means limited to):
- Policy areas of employment, housing, education, urban development and planning, health facilities, culture, and social welfare.
- Policies and processes regarding citizenship, legal residence, voting rights, language, religion and interculturalism.
- Governance of the multi-level relationship: the extent to which cities’ policy negotiations and policies adhere to and/or deviate away from national and/or EU directive in times of economic crisis.

Economic crisis contexts are also interpreted in a wide-ranging sense and might include:
- Instances of actual economic crisis or downturn during the post-war period: e.g. the 1973 oil crisis, the economic slump of the early 1980s, the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath.
- Discourses of ‘crisis’ and fears regarding potential economic crisis scenarios: the extent to which cities have implemented restrictive and/or non-restrictive immigrant policies due to a perceived crisis threat.
We invite submissions from researchers in diverse disciplines interested in broadening our knowledge on the relationship between local diversification, immigrant policies and economic crises in Western Europe across the post-war period and up to the present day. Proposed papers can be individual case studies; comparative studies of cities (either within a single country or across different countries); comparative studies between cases across the post-war period; studies on the relationship of city-level, national-level and international-level relationships, or more theoretical discussions on the notion of crisis in relation to immigrant policies.
Submission Procedure:
Individuals interested in taking part in this Special Issue should submit a title, a 300-word abstract, and a short bio to both This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. All papers submitted have to be original and not be under consideration for publication elsewhere.
Proposals must be received by Monday, 6 July 2015. Acceptance notifications will be sent by Friday, 24 July 2015. Successful candidates may be invited to submit a longer paper proposal for the Special Issue application process.

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