Call for Papers

“Nudging forward” as a new strategy for governing forced migration at EU’s periphery

Workshop in Athens, Greece

April 25-26, 2024

Hosted by the Max Planck Partner Group “The New Guards: Re-bordering the Southeast Mediterranean in an age of migration

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Recent research on forced migration in Southern Europe has gravitated around two main themes: bordering practices/migrant deterrence policies (i.e., how to keep potential asylum seekers out of the EU), and reception/integration of asylum seekers and refugees (i.e., how to accommodate those who eventually make it to the EU). At the same time, little research has scrutinized the implicit or explicit efforts of some Member States at EU’s periphery to propel forced migrants residing on their territory to move forward and seek protection elsewhere, the latter being often dubbed as “secondary movement”. We define such state efforts as “nudging forward” strategies and trace their implementation through concrete laws, policies, and formal or informal practices in border EU Member States at the national and local level. Moreover, we seek to shed light on the consequences of nudging forward for forced migrants, countries that receive secondary movements, and the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) as a whole.

Nudging forward strategies are not novel. They have arguably been part of the CEAS from its very beginning. For instance, one can point to the persistent delays of Southern EU Member States to establish functioning asylum systems that would meet EU standards. More recently, however, because of the changes that the 2015 increased arrivals of forced migrants brought, nudging forward strategies seem to have evolved. In the last couple of years, for example, tens of thousands of refugees who had been previously granted international protection in Greece re-applied for asylum in Western European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. Among the reasons for such large secondary movements are the chronic lack of integration policies for refugees in Greece and the administrative burdens refugees face in accessing their rights and entitlements. In the meantime, Italy officially requested the suspension of Dublin transfers of asylum seekers to the country in late 2022 due to the lack of reception capacity.

The aim of this call is to bring together contributions that unpack nudging forward as a specific strategy for governing forced migration at the periphery of the EU. We invite proposals for papers from political science, law, and sociology around the following topics:

  • What are the components of nudging forward strategies (e.g., examples of specific laws, policies, practices, discourses, etc.)? Why and how do EU Member States, regions or cities use such strategies?  
  • How do nudging forward strategies manifest themselves in relation to different categories of forced migrants (e.g., asylum seekers, beneficiaries of international protection)?  
  • Nudging forward vis-à-vis migrant agency (e.g., secondary movements as autonomous decisions of forced migrants rather than products of EU Member States’ conscious efforts).  
  • Nudging forward strategies and their consequences from the perspective of EU Member States, regions and cities that constitute destination for secondary movements of asylum seekers/refugees.  
  • Nudging forward in the context of the CEAS (e.g., nudging forward as a response/form of resistance by some EU Member States or as a tolerated practice by EU institutions and agencies).

Geographic scope

We invite proposals that focus on nudging forward in the context of Greece, Italy, Cyprus, and Malta. We also welcome contributions that focus on nudging forward from the flipside perspective of EU Member States that are common destinations for secondary movements of asylum seekers and refugees (e.g., Germany, the Netherlands). 

Submission Guidelines

Papers must be original and unpublished. Please submit your abstract (max. 250 words, highlighting the specific topic, methods, data, and results) to by November 30, 2023.

The authors of the accepted papers will be notified by December 15, 2023. They will be invited to discuss their papers at a two-day workshop in Athens on 25-26 April 2024. The workshop will bring together a selected group of academics and practitioners working on forced migration governance in Southeastern Europe, who will provide feedback and comments to the authors.

The medium-term goal of the workshop is the preparation and submission of a special issue in relevant journals.

The Max Planck Partner Group

This call for papers is organized in the framework of the Max Planck Partner Group “The New Guards: Re-bordering the Southeast Mediterranean in an age of migration”. The project is hosted by the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity and carried out by Dr. Michalis Moutselos (Project Leader, University of Cyprus), Dr. Tihomir Sabchev (Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow, Max Planck Institute), and Dr. Steven Vertovec (Director, Max Planck Institute).


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