Emigrants and emigration states: A contested relationship?

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Emigrants and emigration states: A contested relationship?

Thursday, 3 June 2021 - 4:00pm to 5:15pm
Zoom webinar
Alexandra Délano Alonso (The New School, New York City)
Manolis Pratsinakis (SEESOX/COMPAS, University of Oxford)
Robin Cohen (Kellogg College, Oxford)

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Please note: Due to unavoidable circumstances, Roger Waldinger will not be able to join this seminar as advertised. Robin Cohen will now be taking part as a discussant.

In her presentation, Alexandra Délano Alonso will discuss diaspora policies focused on integration and the protection of social rights across borders. The evidence, based mainly on Mexico’s diaspora policies in the United States, engages a larger debate about transnational solidarity focused on equal access to rights from a perspective of shared responsibility and accountability. It considers examples of extension of rights and the expansion of concepts such as integration and citizenship in the context of diaspora policies, as innovative practices and discourses around migration that are being articulated, challenged, and imagined through interactions at multiple scales and across borders between migrants, states, and nonstate actors. The presentation juxtaposes these policies and practices against anti-immigrant discourse and xenophobia that have developed in parallel and examines alternative discourses and practices in response to it.

Alexandra Délano Alonso is Associate Professor and Chair of Global Studies at The New School and the current holder of the Eugene M. Lang Professorship for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring. She received her doctorate in International Relations from the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on diaspora policies, the transnational relationships between states and migrants, migration in the Central America-Mexico-US corridor, sanctuary, and the politics of memory in relation to borders and violence. She is the author of Mexico and its Diaspora in the United States (2011), From Here and There: Diaspora Policies, Integration and Social Rights beyond Borders (2018) and Brotes (2021). She is co-founder and former co-director of the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility.

Robin Cohen is Emeritus Professor and Former Director of the International Migration Institute, University of Oxford. He is Senior Research Fellow at Kellogg College. He has held full professorships at the Universities of the West Indies and Warwick and taught also at the Universities of Ibadan, Birmingham, Stanford, Toronto and Berkeley. He served as Dean of Humanities at the University of Cape Town (2001/3) and directed the nationally designated UK Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations at Warwick (1985/9). His books include Refugia: Radical Solutions to Mass Displacement with Nicholas Van Hear, Migration: The Movement of Humankind from Prehistory to the Present, and Routledge Handbook of Diaspora Studies with Carolin Fischer. He has edited or co-edited 21 further volumes, particularly on the sociology and politics of developing areas, ethnicity, international migration, transnationalism and globalisation. His major works have been translated into Danish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese and Spanish.

Manolis Pratsinakis is Departmental Lecturer in Migration Studies and the Onassis Fellow at SAME and COMPAS, University of Oxford. He is also the Deputy Project Manager of the SEESOX Diaspora project. He was previously a postdoctoral fellow at DPIR, University of Oxford, Marie Curie fellow (IF) at the University of Macedonia (2015-2017), a visiting fellow at the University of Sussex (2016) and a lecturer at the University of Amsterdam (2013-2015). His academic interests broadly concern the study of migration and nationalism. He has done research and published on immigrant-native relations, ethnic boundaries and categorization, everyday nationhood, migration decision-making, brain drain, and intra-EU mobility in the post-2008 period. Manolis has studied Geography and Sociology (with honors) and completed his PhD in 2013 in Anthropology. His MA studies were supported by a Nuffic Huygens Scholarship and his PhD research by an IKY scholarship from the Dutch and Greek state respectively.

A COMPAS/SEESOX co-convened Seminar Series on The politics of emigration: Representations and contestations

International immigrants, by their mere act of crossing national borders, challenge ideologies which make claims for the territorial and ethnic boundedness of the national entity. They constitute ‘problematic exceptions’ to the nationalist image of normal life which prescribes that people should stay in the places where they belong, that is, in ‘their’ nation-states. There is abundant literature in migration studies that problematizes such ideologies for their detrimental impact on (prospective) immigrants in destination countries. However, there is much less attention on their role in informing emigration representations in countries of origin. Diaspora scholars suggest that a shift has taken place in recent years with governments changing their narratives from denouncing emigrants as deserters, to celebrating them as an extension of the nation outside the state. To what extent can this be said to be true? What are the different actors shaping discourses on emigration in origin countries and how do these feed in on policies that aim to regulate exit and govern citizens abroad? How do emigrants respond to such representations? In this series, SEESOX in cooperation with COMPAS, will examine these issues by looking at Central and East European cases and beyond.

In cooperation with The Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society (COMPAS)