Mobility, Migration and the Remaking of East European Identities in a post-Brexit Europe

Mobility, Migration and the Remaking of East European Identities in a post-Brexit Europe

Kathrin Hörschelmann and Yuliana Lazova (Leibniz-Institute for Regional Geography Leipzig), Katherine Botterill (Edinburgh Napier University) and Kathy Burrell (University of Liverpool)
Leibniz-Institute for Regional Geography Leipzig (IfL)
From - Until
26.06.2018 - 27.06.2018
Hörschelmann Kathrin

The current geopolitical changes in EU membership and Europe’s response to the so-called ‘migration crisis’ provide an important research site for re-considering questions of European identity in general and East European identities in particular. Across Europe, migration has been (re)problematized and there has been a growth of far-right nationalism that denigrates migrants through a discourse of exclusion and othering, such as Front National in France, Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands, UKIP in Britain and the AfD in Germany.

East European migrants from post-2004 EU accession states have been very much caught in the middle of these debates and changes. On the one hand, they have seen rising nationalism and anti-migration sentiment across many parts of Eastern Europe itself. On the other hand, their own transnational mobility within the EU has been increasingly contested and nationalist claims have been staked, especially in Britain, against their rights to live and work freely in any European member state. The fault-lines that are emerging here are not radically new, but they are being revised and modified in light of present political agendas (cf. Botterill 2011, Burrell 2006, 2016, Fox, Morasanu and Szilassy, 2012).

Through comparative analysis, and as a stepping stone towards future collaborations, this workshop aims to examine, first, representations and ideological constructions of migration from Eastern Europe and, second, the impacts of current geopolitical changes on ‘mobile’ East Europeans’ identities and practices. It focuses on the perspectives of migrants themselves, paying attention to new dynamics of mobility, belonging and citizenship. Workshop participants are invited to address questions such as the following:

1. How is are mobility, migration and migrants socially constructed in different political contexts across Europe?
2. How are transnationally mobile Eastern Europeans represented in different discursive contexts and how do such representations compare with those of migrants from other European and global regions? Which (new) imaginaries of Eastern Europe emerge from these representations and how do they intersect with past constructions of ‘easternness’, ‘westernness’ and ‘Europeanness’?
3. Through which practices, including mobility, do East European migrants react to the changing geopolitical situation in Europe?
4. How are EU and non-EU migrants’ senses of belonging changing and how do East European migrants in particular construct ‘European’ and ‘East European’ identities, in relation to race, religion and nationalism?
5. What are the political implications of changing representations, ideologies, identities and practices of East European migration in Europe?

The workshop will consist of a small number of keynotes, thematic panels and break-out sessions to discuss possibilities for future collaborations and funding applications.

How to contribute:
You can participate in the workshop in one of the following ways:
1) Present your research in a world-café session, based on brief, informal presentations and prepared visuals for illustration
2) A brief, 5-10 minute panel contribution, presenting two to three key arguments and posing critical questions.
3) Attendance at the workshop and audience participation in discussions.

We would like to keep all presentations short and punchy, to allow plenty of time for interaction and discussion. Further, we aim to produce a joined publication after the workshop and would also be grateful to hear, if you are interested in this.

Please let us know as early as possible if you would like to participate in one of the three proposed ways to, no later than 30th April. If you would like to present at the world café or in a panel, please also send a 100-150 word outline highlighting the key themes you wish to present on. We would be delighted about active participation by colleagues from the EEGA-ScienceCampus and look forward to hearing from you.


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Kathrin Hörschelmann
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