Regarding transnational migration, the EU promotes a political reasoning between processes of consolidation and necessary conflict, between sovereignty and shared responsibility, between the right to define and delimit and the duty to negotiate. In ongoing economic crisis and facing unprecedented movements of people, the timeless normalcy of migration is often framed as crisis per se. Populist claims for cultural homogeneity and for closed borders undercut efforts for a common migration policy.
As the visibility of migration increases in various ways, migrants are often represented and imagined as a homogenous mass of ‘the other’. This leads to a problematic understanding of migration as something to be controlled and governed from a top-down perspective alone. But the respective processes of negotiation on migration policy, within and across the outer borders of the Union, take place not only between the official institutions of nation-states, but on all scales of European populations. They also take place from a bottom-up perspective in the centres and at the margins of societies alike.
Departing from diverse theories of migration, we will gain an overview of EU-level migration polity and recent migration- and border-management policies. We will analyse the conflicts, debates and discourses around the last years of increased immigration.
Scaling down, we will engage with the local authorities’ perspective in Berlin. Diving deeper down we will start to change perspective: How do local activists develop and implement their own policies of welcoming migrants? What are the aims of and how do legal assessment organizations for migrants work? In an encounter with refugees in Berlin, we will see how refugees themselves perceive EU-migration policies and what they make themselves of their public positioning as a ‘problem’ or as a ‘burden’ to European societies. Finally, focusing on the legalization-market of Almería/Spain, we will encounter migrants’ viewpoints, which reach beyond the usual framings of ‘the poor migrant’ as ‘passive victim’, as a threat or as the ‘(anti-)hero’ of globalization. We will encounter viewpoints on the EU, which will constructively criticize as well as graciously affirm the spirit of the Union. We will encounter viewpoints of hope.
This course is designed for all students having a professional, political or personal interest in a deeper and thus more differentiated understanding of transnational migration.
No prior knowledge is required – but the willingness to think beyond the usual framings on migration.
A course reader will be provided at the first course meeting