Ethnic and Racial Studies
International migration is a particularly fruitful site for examining categories and processes of categorization. On the one hand, states use categories such as age, gender, sexuality, religion, marital status, and nationality to manage migrants’ entry, legal status, and access to resources, making categorization extremely consequential for individual migrants. On the other hand, categories often differ greatly between migrants’ home countries and receiving states in terms of, for example, their historical genesis, bureaucratic documentation, and socio-political relevance. As a result, governments, the public, and other actors involved in migration processes negotiate categories under extremely high stakes, often within unequal and shifting power relations. Migration scholars must thus pay attention to systems of categorization to understand the management of migration and migrants’ own lived experiences, and scholars interested in categorization should recognize migration as a site where existing categories can be seen with rare clarity, and novel and emerging categories can be identified.
In this special issue, we want to highlight this nexus between migration and categorization, with two interconnected goals: to better understand the experience and governance of migration through the categories that shape both, and to better understand the social construction of categories and their fluid, context-dependent nature by examining them in the particularly revealing context of migration. We are especially interested in how individuals make sense of, navigate, and oppose categorization. While more attention has been paid to how categories shape migration policies, research only just begins to explore how those subjected to and placed within particular categories reinforce or resist these categories.
We invite transdisciplinary contributions—based on quantitative or qualitative empirical research, or theoretical in nature—that engage with particular categories or processes of categorization in the context of migration. Topics may include:
- What is the role of categories and categorization in migration governance?
- How do meanings of social categories shift during processes of migration?
- How do migrants navigate categories across origin and destination countries?
- How do migrants negotiate, resist, and contest categorizations they disagree with?
- How do the coloniality of knowledge and migrants’ resources affect their ability to articulate other categories?
Please submit abstracts of max. 500 words and a short bio by January 15, 2023
. Authors of selected abstracts will be notified by February 15, 2023
and included in a Special Issue proposal to Ethnic and Racial Studies. Pending approval in March 2023
, selected authors will be invited to submit a full paper and to participate in a writing workshop in Göttingen or Berlin, Germany, taking place in summer 2023 and hosted by the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. The deadline for invited papers (up to 9,000 words, including references) will be September 15, 2023