Research panel proposal - Everyday micro-economies of migrant reception

15 November 2018


For the next 16th IMISCOE Annual Conference we would set out a call for the following research panel call:

"Migration governance, the migration industries and local economic geographies - the everyday micro-economies of migrant reception".

Since the late 1990s, the rather all-encompassing concept of the migration industry/ies has developed into a new strand of research on neglected economic dimensions of migration and its governance. This refers to a diverse range of intermediaries, business, agents, brokers, networks and infrastructures - whether legitimate, informal or illegal – who extract profits by facilitating or hindering transnational mobility. Featured key themes include the recruitment and channelization of migrant labour, migrant smuggling and the business of migration facilitation, privatizing and commercializing detention and controls, or the role of humanitarian actors. Certain aspects, however, remain understudied.
We are specifically interested in how migrants’ presence and the ways it is governed create value and mobilise resources on a local scale, stimulating “entrepreneurialism”, boosting "markets", instigating “development”, increasing employment, in some cases generating profits for some, yet in others simply sustaining local livelihoods or providing survival means for others. We depart from our observations in parts of Greece and Italy in the aftermath of the so-called Mediterranean “migration crisis”, where a diverse range of formal and informal economic activities linked to the arrival and reception migrants have flourished having a crucial impact on local economies: from food distribution to migrants’ private consumption; from transport or tourist services to local housing markets; from employment for NGOs to the various economic arrangements surrounding reception facilities; and many more. Some of these activities have spatial implications at different layers transforming local economic and social geographies.

The focus of the proposed panel is on the multiple economic interactions and daily forms of exchange between local societies and migrant populations, and how these relate to migrant reception systems. We welcome papers looking at the diverse everyday economic practices, exchanges, relations and networks surrounding local migrant reception systems, especially interdisciplinary and critical perspectives addressing questions such as the following:
Who are the key economic actors, and how do they relate to each other and to migrant populations?
What sort of (economic) practices are developed and what kind of networks are being formed?
How do economic transactions intersect with (local) politics and what kinds of spatialities are produced?
What is the impact on local economies and how does it affect migrant populations?

Panel submission deadline: 1st December
Paper abstract deadline: 28th November

Chair: Nicola Montagna
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Discussant: Panos Hatziprokopiou
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