Sessions of the Research Committee 31 Sociology of Migration at the 19th ISA World Congress of Sociology, July 15-21, 2018, Toronto.


1. Including Skilled Refugees into the Labour Market – Understanding the “Paradox” between Labour and Humanitarian Migration

Session Organizers: Anja Weiss (University of Duisburg-Essen - Germany; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Oliver Schmidtke (University of Victoria - Canada; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). 

The challenge of responding to refugees has become a globally pressing moral and political issue: According to UNHCR figures, there are worldwide more than 65 million displaced people. While most refugees stay in the region, increasing numbers reach labor markets in transitioning or core economies. In regulating migration, these countries distinguish between labor and humanitarian migration regimes. While skilled, economic migrants are regularly targeted as ‘assets’ for the economy, refugees are primarily perceived as being in need of assistance and contributing to the unskilled sector of the economy. Regardless of this categorization in regulating migration, policy makers have come to understand that refugees are likely to stay for a long time, which makes long-term social integration and, in particular, labor market inclusion a key component of refugee settlement. In this respect, evaluating the cultural capital of refugees has become of critical significance.

Assessing and recognizing the cultural capital of migrants is however difficult, given national and even subnational systems of credential recognition, long cooling out periods and a public perception of refugees as needy rather than able. Against the background of this policy conundrum, this session asks for theoretical and empirical contributions on the labour market inclusion of refugees with a particular emphasis on the recognition of their cultural capital. How can we assess refugees’ skills within the national context of the destination country and in a transnational perspective? What are the main obstacles and opportunities that refugees face in their attempts to enter the – skilled – labour market?

Paper proposals have to be submitted via the ISA website “Confex” by September 30th, 2017. If your abstract has been selected you will be notified by November 30th, 2017.



2. Violence Embedded in Return Migration

Session Organizers: Agnieszka Radziwinowiczowna (University of Warsaw, Poland; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Erika Busse (Macalester College, USA, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

While research highlights the different aspects of return migrations, still little is known about the ‘dark side’ associated to them—the violence suffered by the returnees. In the context of the rising volume of international migrants, increasingly strict migration regimes and frequent use of deportation, it is critical to acknowledge the violence suffered by the return migrants. The available empirical evidence provides examples of return migration caused by violence and abuses suffered in the ‘receiving country,’ violence continuum suffered throughout the process of—especially—involuntary return migration, and after the return, back in the country of origin (Coutin 2010; Boehm 2011, 2016). This panel welcomes papers that contribute to developing a research agenda on the links between (in)voluntary return migration and violence understood not only as physical, but also in terms of structural (Galtung 1969, Golash-Boza 2012), symbolic (Bourdieu 1979), political (Bourgois 2001), everyday (Scheper-Hughes 1992) and other types of this social phenomenon (Scheper-Hughes, Bourgois 2004). This session encourages the theoretical development and elaboration of research questions on the following possible areas:

  • Return migration brought about by discrimination and violence;
  • Violence in the experience of deportation;
  • Return migration to a violent place;
  • Execution of violence over the returnees;
  • Gendered nature of violence in the return migration;
  • Forms of violence and actors using it over returnees;
  • Violence continuum suffered by migrants;
  • The researcher as a witness of return migration-related violence.
  • Papers on different regions of the world and returnees’ violence experiences are welcome.