Mobility as the new paradigmatic perspective in the social sciences?
Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES)
University of Amsterdam
28-29 August 2012, Amsterdam.
Mobility seems to have become the new paradigm for social sciences. Not only for scholars working on immigration, but social sciences in general indicate a tendency to explain social phenomena by referring to different forms of mobility. A few decades ago sedentary was the norm for social scientists; individuals and groups living in stable and static contexts, mobility, in the form of immigration flows was the exception; the phenomenon to explain. Nowadays it seems the other way around. Social scientists perceive the world as constantly moving, dynamic, and changing in a global era. Now sedentary is the exception that needs to be explained. One of the questions for this conference is: is this a useful perspective for social sciences? Is it indeed the case that sedentary static groups in society are an exception or not? Is this indeed a recent phenomenon or can we find similar examples in history? And if our modern society is best characterized by hyper-mobility what are the effects of that and how should we study it? An important topic for the conference will therefore be which types of theories and concepts are analytically effective in studying Mobility?
Monday 27 August
19:00 Opening Reception (details to be announced)
Day 1: IMISCOE Plenary Sessions
Tuesday 28 August
Location: Aula-Lutherse Kerk
09:00 Opening by Prof. dr. Dymph van den Boom, Rector Magnificus of the University of Amsterdam and member of the Executive Board of the University.
09:30 Key note speech on the Age of Mobility by Prof. dr. Rainer Bauböck (European University Institute). This key note speech provides information about current levels of mobility in the world and analyses its origins and some of the main social, political and economic effects and is followed by a Q +A session
10:45 Coffee Break
11:15 - IMISCOE Dissertation Award Ceremony
11:45 - Round Table 1: Concept of Mobility in different disciplines (Organisers: Floris Vermeulen and Liza Mugge (Political Science)
This panel brings together scholars working on mobility in different forms from different perspectives (Sociology, Political Science Antropology, History, etc.). How much do their views on mobility differ? To what extent is it useful to compare these perspectives? And to what extent do these perspectives enable us to understand mobility in the modern world?
- Christiana Boswell (Politics and International Relations, School of Social and Political Science. University of Edinburgh), (Migration and Mobility in the European Union, Palgrave, 2011)
- Sarah Mahler (Associate Professor, Global and Sociocultural Studies Department. Florida International University), “Gender Matters: Ethnographers Bring Gender from the Periphery Toward the Core of Migration Studies.” International Migration Review (2006)
- Thomas Faist (Transnational, Development & Migration Studies, Bielefeld University), (Beyond a Border: The Causes and Consequences of Contemporary Immigration. Thousand Oaks, 2009)
- Dirk Hoerder (retired professor of history at University of Bremen) (Cultures in contact : world migrations in the second millennium. Duke University Press, 2002)
14:30 Round Table 2: Mobility, ethnicity, race, and the nation (Organisers: Barak Kalir (Anthropology) and Bowen Paulle (Sociology)
Constructivist approaches to ethnicity, race, and the nation have gone from progressive to cliché at best, and to perilously reifying at worst. Years after people like Gerd Bauman and Rogers Brubaker demonstrated the dangers of falling into essentializing ways of thinking and talking, it seems that many, if not most, putatively constructivist researchers are still doing exactly this. In their assumptions about the substance-like "groups", and even in how they create objects of investigation, one finds again and again researchers in the grip of that which they should be studying: deeply habituated, reifying ways of thinking and speaking. Certainly these routinized responses have to do with ways of thinking and speaking outside academia. Yet also within academia, the surge in studies around notions of belonging, uncertainties and ontology, indicates a quest for better understanding of dynamics that produce and hold together groups and national societies in an era of increasing volatility and incertitude. We therefore, at very least, want to explore how greater reflexivity and more relentlessly relational approaches to this family of interdependent concepts (ethnicity, race, and the nation) can be stimulated and maintained within the world of social science. How can constructivism get unstuck and, once again, play a constructive role in discussions and research designs that aim to explore the triangulation of ethnicity, race, and nation?
- Gerd Baumann Social Anthropologist at the University of Amsterdam. The Multicultural Riddle: re-thinking national, ethnic and religious identities (New York, Routledge, 1999
- Kanchan Chandra Professor of Politics New York University (Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics. Forthcoming 2012: Oxford University Press)
- Third speaker t.b.a.
15:45 Coffee/Tea break
16:15 Round Table 3: The politics and aesthetics of mobility (organiser Markha Valenta, History)
This panel intends to engage the issue of disciplinary differences in analyzing the politics of mobility. What especially, are the unspoken assumptions underlying differences in the approaches to forms of im/mobility? Can we make these explicit? Which do we retain and which might we jettison, in the interest of what kinds of scholarly, social, political and aesthetic projects? What does im/mobility do with us – as an imperative, a logic, a concept – and what do we want to do with it?
- Tim Cresswell Professor of Human Geography Royal Holloway London (On the Move: Mobility in the Modern Western World (Routledge, 2006).
- Anthony Hoete (Director of WHAT_architecture in London)
- Third speaker t.b.a.
19:00 Reception (location to be announced)
Day 2: IMISCOE Workshops & Valedictory Address Rinus Penninx
Wednesday 29 August
Workshop slots are 90 minutes. All workshops can be found here
IMES organises two parallel workshops next to the different workshops organised by IMISCOE members, in which the social consequences of mobility are discussed. For more information on the IMES workshops please click here.
09.00 – 10.30 Workshop slot 1
11.00 – 12.30 Workshop slot 2
12.30 - 14.00 Lunch
14.00 – 15.30 Workshop slot 3
16.00 – 17.30 Workshop slot 4
Valedictory Address Prof. Rinus Penninx
Aula- Lutherse Kerk
from 17:30 Aula open
18:00 Valedictory Address Prof. Rinus Penninx