Is emigration a blow to liberal democracy?

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Is emigration a blow to liberal democracy?

Thursday, 27 May 2021 - 4:00pm to 5:15pm
Zoom webinar
Ivan Krastev (Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia)
Jessie Barton Hronešová (Oxford Department for International Development)
Othon Anastasakis (SEESOX, St Antony’s College, Oxford) and Maria Koinova (University of Warwick)

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Abstract: Since the collapse of communism most states in Central and South Eastern Europe experienced high numbers of emigration, especially among younger populations. The freedom of movement within the EU and the post-2008 financial crisis exacerbated these trends. This demographic decline and the fear of inward migration from third countries have given rise to illiberal populist and anti-immigration discourses as well as rhetoric against the West for draining the region of its most productive citizens. The seminar will be looking at emigration as a potential cause for the rise of illiberalism.

Ivan Krastev is the chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies and permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences, IWM Vienna. He is a founding board member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the Board of Trustees of The International Crisis Group and is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. He is the author of Is it Tomorrow, Yet? How the Pandemic Changes Europe (Allen Lane, 2020); The Light that Failed: A Reckoning (Allen Lane, 2019), co-authored with Stephen Holmes – won the 30th Annual Lionel Gelber Prize; After Europe (UPenn Press, 2017); Democracy Disrupted. The Global Politics on Protest (UPenn Press, 2014) and In Mistrust We Trust: Can Democracy Survive When We Don’t Trust Our Leaders? (TED Books, 2013). Ivan Krastev is the winner of the Jean Améry Prize for European Essay Writing 2020.

Othon Anastasakis is the Director of  SEESOX; Senior Research Fellow at St Antony’s College; Associate at the Department of Politics and International Relations; Affiliate of the Centre for International Studies; Affiliate of the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies; former Director of the European Studies Centre, St Antony's College, Oxford (July 2012-October 2015). He teaches “South East European politics and European integration” for the OSGA and “EU politics” for the Department of Continuing Education, Oxford. He is currently the Principal Investigator of two research projects: “Greek Diaspora Project at SEESOX”; and the OX/BER funded “Migration Diplomacy and Turkey-EU relations”. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada; Region Head of Europe in Oxford Analytica. He received his BA in Economics from the University of Athens, his MA in Comparative Politics and International Relations from Columbia University, New York and his PhD in Comparative Government from the London School of Economics. He holds additional degrees in French literature and politics from Paris IV and in Spanish literature, history and history of art from the Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo.

Maria Koinova is Professor in International Relations at the University of Warwick in the UK, and Associate Senior Fellow at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research in Germany. She is the author of the recently published book “Diaspora Entrepreneurs and Contested States” (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021) and of “Ethnonationalist Conflict in Postcommunist Word” (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013). Prof. Koinova is the author of numerous articles on diasporas, migration and conflict dynamics published in the European Journal of International Relations, International Studies Review, Review of International Studies, International Political Sociology, Foreign Policy Analysis, and other journals. As a result of the European Research Council grant “Diasporas and Contested Sovereignty” she directed as a Principal Investigator (2012-2017), she has edited or co-edited three special issues in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (2018), International Political Science Review (2018) and Ethnic and Racial Studies (2019). Prof. Koinova holds a Ph.D. degree from the European University Institute, and has had research fellowships at Harvard, Cornell, Dartmouth, Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars in Washington D.C, Kroc Institute on International Peace Studies, Dutch Institute for Advanced Studies and Uppsala University, among others. She was the co-founder and chair of the British International Studies Association’s working group on the “International Politics of Migration, Refugees and Diasporas” (2016-2020) and is currently directing a work package from the EU Jean Monnet network “Between the EU and Russia.” 

Jessie Barton Hronesova is an ESRC postdoctoral research fellow at ODID. Her current ESRC research project deals with the politics of victimhood and compensation in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina. In her research she has mostly focused on security, ethno-nationalism, post-war reparations, as well as community-building and transitional justice in the former Yugoslavia. She has authored several studies on identity politics (including Post-War Ethno-National Identities of Young People in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2012) and retributive transitional justice in several academic journals (most recent for the Journal of Peacebuilding & Development). She is the author of The Struggle for Redress: Victim Capital in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020. Jessie previously worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Sarajevo and Belgrade. She has also worked as an advisor for several consultancies and is a member of the Stabilization Unit of the UK government. She has also collaborated with a range of research institutions, including the Czech Academy of Sciences, the London School of Economics and Goldsmiths University where she is currently teaching a course on memory and justice. Jessie holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford in politics (St Antony’s College, 2018).

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)