Transnational Lives: Economies, Bureaucracies, and Desires (Workshop, 11-12 January 2018)

Background

This exploratory workshop will examine the significance and implications of leading life in two (or more) countries. The workshop title reflects the particular perspectives we encourage. ‘Transnational lives’ suggests analyses that go beyond particular transnational practices—such as remittance-sending or expatriate voting—yet remained grounded in lived experience. The words ‘economies, bureaucracies, and desires’ allude to the diversity of encounters, frictions and forces that may shape transnational lives.

The workshop aims to make a concerted effort for analytical progress. Twenty-five years after the transnational turn in migration studies was introduced, what are the most promising lines of inquiry within a transnational perspective? How should developments in related fields inform our approach to transnationalism? What are the implications of changes in technology, policies, and societies for transnational perspectives on migration?

In the call for papers we specifically encouraged empirically grounded papers that make theoretical advances in the research agenda on transnationalism, related to the themes outlined in the workshop title. Transnational perspectives remain associated with international migration from lower-income to higher-income countries. We encouraged contributions that widen this scope, for instance through studies of transnational living among élites in the Global South, among Europeans or North Americans without an immigrant background, or between countries in the Global South. Transnational lives need not be studied from the perspective of the transnational subjects. The workshop will include contributions that focus on people or institutions that interact with those who lead transnational lives. 

The workshop is organized in conjunction with the project Transnational Lives in the Welfare State (TRANSWEL), which is funded by the Research Council of Norway and carried out by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), the Erasmus University Rotterdam, and the University of Oslo.

Selected papers

On the basis of an open call for abstracts, the following papers have been selected. (The titles are provisional and may be edited before the workshop.)

  • Jørgen Carling (Peace Research Institute Oslo, Norway): The parameters of transnational living
  • Carol Chan (Universidad de Alberto Hurtado, Chile): Multi-national migrants at 'the end of the world': Chinese temporary citizens and permanent migrants in the Americas
  • Olga Cojocaru (University of Warsaw, Poland): Missing and waiting for each other: the temporalities of separation in transnational families
  • Marta Bivand Erdal (Peace Research Institute Oslo, Norway): New economics of transnational living
  • Marie Godin (University of Oxford, United Kingdom) & Justyna Bell (NOVA, Norway): Fluid social protection assemblages throughout the life course: the case of Polish and British migrants in a changing European context 
  • Guive Khan-Mohammad (University of Geneva, Switzerland): Transnational traders and bureaucracy in Burkina Faso: towards a new political management of extraversion
  • Stephen Lubkemann (George Washington University, United States): Meatpacking ministers and transnational class disorders: the empirical paradoxes and theoretical implications of simultaneous and contradictory socio-economic mobilities and of the production of class bi-polarity within the Liberian Transnational Field
  • George Mavrommatis (Harokopio University, Greece): Moving beyond the peculiar sedentarism of transnationalism? Illuminating instances of en route transnational phenomena in the lives of refugees on the move
  • Khangelani Moyo (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa): Transnational habitus and sociability in the city: Zimbabwean migrants’ experiences in Johannesburg 
  • Gayle Munro (The Salvation Army, United Kingdom): Transnational lives within a changing socio-political-legislative environment on (im)migration: challenges, negotiations and opportunities
  • Meghann Ormond (Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands): Formal and informal economies and bureaucracies in medical travel between Indonesia and Malaysia
  • Eveline Reisenauer (University of Hildesheim, Germany): Diversity of transnationality
  • Sarah Scuzzarello (University of Sussex, United Kingdom): Gender and transnational practices among Western retirees in Thailand
  • Erik Snel & Godfried Engbersen (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands): Bureaucratic encounters and transnational living
  • Iris Sportel (University of Göttingen, Germany): How could I have been so blind?' Narratives of love, money, and power in transnational relationships
  • Paul Statham (University of Sussex, United Kingdom): Building “transnational lives” as a strategy for a better life: the aspirations, experiences and transformations of Thais who partner ‘older’ Western men
  • Cathrine Talleraas (Peace Research Institute Oslo, Norway): Transnational living in a national framework: bureaucratic discourses
  • Aysen Ustubici & Ezgi İrgil (Koç University, Turkey): Transnational practices in life course: evidence from EU migrants in Turkey
  • Nicholas Van Hear (University of Oxford, United Kingdom): Imagining Refugia: thinking outside the current international migration regime
  • Zvezda Vankova (Maastricht University, Netherlands): National policies, transnational workers: bureaucratic encounters of Eastern Neighbourhood migrants in Bulgaria and Poland
  • Marcia Vera Espinoza (University of Sheffield, United Kingdom): Translocal Belongings: the role of faith and religion negotiating refugee integration in Latin America
  • Nanneke Winters (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany): Transnational lives en route: African trajectories of displacement and emplacement across Latin America

Papers will be grouped in thematic sessions at the workshop. There will be no parallel sessions.

Information for participants

By 1 December 2017 you must submit your full (draft) paper, which will be circulated among workshop participants. At that point you can also revise your title and abstract. The revised abstracts will be published on the workshop website.

If you find that you are unable to write a paper and participate in the workshop, please let us know immediately so that we may offer your place to another person. Many promising abstracts were rejected for capacity reasons.

Presentations at the workshop should be 15-20 minutes long. There is no participation fee, but participants must cover their own travel and accommodation costs. Discounted hotel rooms in the vicinity of PRIO will be available. The organizers will cover meals during the workshop.

Information for non-participants

The workshop itself is a closed event for the group of presenters only. Please contact the authors individually if there are papers you are particularly interested in.

Organizing committee

Grete Brochmann, University of Oslo
Jørgen Carling, Peace Research Institute Oslo*
Godfried Engbersen, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Marta Bivand Erdal, Peace Research Institute Oslo
Erik Snel, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Cathrine Talleraas, Peace Research Institute Oslo

*) Contact person for enquiries.

See also the video version of the call for papers.