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I4P Public Event: 19th October 2018

Migration Working Group NW
Inaugural Talk

From political economy to political demography: beyond methodological nationalism

Prof Adrian Favell (University of Leeds)

The sociology of migration is still substantially split between scholars working in conventional linear/nation-centred forms (“immigration” and “integration” studies) where the national unit of society and aggregate data is taken for granted, and those whose work foregrounds methodological nationalism, the political construction of populations/groups, and the continuum of migration/mobilities (what I will call “critical migration studies”).  Recent works on “integration” have substantially advanced that agenda (esp. Dahinden 2016; Schinkel 2017; cf. Favell 2001, 2003), although reactions can still be violent when the mainstream is challenged on its own (empirical) terrain (see Alba/Foner [2015]’s reaction to my critique, Favell 2016).

Here, I would like to develop a related, but different discussion which identifies the key issues in moving beyond conventional discussions of the political economy of international migration, which for sake of clarity I will identify with the encompassing and deeply influential Marxist paradigm of Stephen Castles (1973; 1993; 2011; 2012).

One useful aspect of Brexit has been to foreground the fact that sovereignty and democracy – i.e., the normative “nation”, Hobbesian politics in this case – can still exercise power in differentiating mobilities and populations (hence in cementing a certain kind of nationalised and racialised colonial hierarchy), in contrast to nearly two decades of scholarship when everything was powered and determined by “neo-liberal” capitalist globalisation, divided into polarised “winners and losers”.

Via reference to a broad range of recent “critical migration studies” – including inter alia Mezzadra and Neilson (2013), McNiven (2011), Anderson (2013), Waldinger (2015), Gonzales and Sigona (2017), Yeoh and Liu-Farrer (2018), Xiang (2016) and Xiang and Lindquist’s work on East Asia (2014) – I try to lay out the confusing (and often conflated) alternatives between Marxist (i.e. global capitalist governance), Foucauldian (i.e., governmentality, biopower) and Liberal (i.e. institutionalist; Hollifield 2004; Soysal 2012, Joppke 2010) paradigms in political economy, and how a more developed empirical agenda speaking to debates on global inequalities (Milanovic 2005) and development (de Haas 2008) might be conceived.

Event convenor: Dr Zana Vathi, Reader in Social Sciences and Director of the MWG-NW.

I4P is delighted to sponsor the inaugural talk of the Migration Working Group – North West seminar series 2018/19. This event takes place at Edge Hill University’s Ormskirk Campus.

Date: Friday 19th October 2018

1.30pm Registration
2.00pm Event start
4.00pm Networking and refreshments

Venue: Room H242, Faculty of Health and Social Care (Building 4) at Edge Hill University (Directions)

Registration: closed

Professor Adrian Favell 
Adrian Favell is Chair in Sociology and Social Theory at the University of Leeds. He is the author of various works on migration, multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism and cities, including Philosophies of Integration (1998), The Human Face of Global Mobility (with Michael Peter Smith, 2006), and Eurostars and Eurocities (2008). A collection of his essays, Immigration, Integration and Mobility: New Agendas in Migration Studies including more recent work on East-West migration and anti-EU politics in Britain, was published by ECPR Press (Jan 2015).

Migration Working Group – North West
Migration Working Group North West logoMigration Working Group-North West (MWG-NW) brings together academics, organisations and practitioners working on migration who are either based in the North West of the UK, or researching migration in this region.  Edge Hill University academics’ work touches upon a wide range of topics within the field of migration, such as migrants’ integration, diasporas and representation, refugee law and policy, locality and diversity, and arts, health and wellbeing. Read More about the migration working group…

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