Contemporary society is often characterised as being marked by unprecedented levels of movement of people, goods and information (as articulated, for example, in discussions of globalisation, information society or liquid modernity). A related theme is that of barriers and division (as articulated, for example, in concerns about residential segregation, social exclusion or immigration controls).
This conference’s focus on migration and divided society brings these two themes together in a single framework, and shifts the method of their analysis from concepts which have been predominantly language-based and/or number-based to the visual medium. In the conference we want to bring social scientists (sociologists, geographers, historians, anthropologists, researchers in urban and development studies, etc.) together with practitioners who are employed primarily in a visual medium (photography, audiovisual material, museum scenography, thematic cartography, and their manipulation) in order to generate synergies between the different fields. By giving primacy to methods of visual study we hope to enable researchers trained in the social sciences to experience the social world through additional analytical lenses, and to develop a critical dialogue between the disciplines that will further our understanding of the core concepts: ‘migration’ and ‘divided society’.
We are interested in papers that address migration in one of a variety of different forms. These include migration as: immigration, emigration, ‘white flight’, return migration, temporary migration (students and business travellers) rural to urban migration, transnational movements, internal movements, etc. It follows on that we are also interested in papers which address different types of migrants: economic migrants, labour migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, cultural migrants, etc.
In political science the term ‘divided society’ refers to nations or regions, (such as Northern Ireland, South Africa, Bosnia-Herzegovina), which are characterised by deep social cleavages based on ethnic difference. The term has, however, been applied in recent times to refer to a cultural divide in the USA which is based on values rather than ethnicity. Societies are also divided along class lines, and there are gender divisions in all societies which interrelate with the arrival, departure and return of migrants. We are interested in papers that relate migration with one or other of these different ways of theorising and representing divided society; and which critically interrogate the terms ‘divided society’, ‘society’ and ‘division’, and the extent and nature of the divide in ‘divided societies’ in relation to migration.
Theoretical, methodological and empirical papers are welcome. A title and an abstract (around 300 words) will be sufficient for submission, by 9th January 2009. The selection of presenters of contributions will be made before the end of January 2009, when they will be requested to provide a 2 page summary of their paper by 16th March for translation (English-French and French-English) and circulation to the other speakers.
Travel and accommodation expenses incurred by the presenters of contributions will be heavily subsidized, according to the University of Paris 8 travel guidelines. The conference will be held at the MSH Paris Nord on 5th June 2009.
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