Conference, 4–5 May 2023
Place: St. Pölten, Austria
Migration is, most crucially, movement between spaces over the course of time. Our May 2022 conference centered on “Spaces and Locations of Migration”, this conference will explore the temporal aspects of migration: What are the specificities of time in this respect, and how can we investigate these using a contemporary and historical perspective?
In the early 2000s migration research expanded to embrace a broad conception of mobility that included short distances, circular movements, and no movement at all. This paradigmatic shift sparked interest in the myriad ways that time and temporality intersect with the experience and regulation of migration, and proposed a wealth of categories and distinctions to begin opening up this line of research (eg. Cwerner, 2001).
That notwithstanding, migration research often contrasts the present with an undifferentiated past seemingly characterized by less mobility, slower communication, and a comparative lack of transnational practices. Social media and air travel, for example, are credited with producing new migrant experiences of time. Communication and transport technologies are just two factors that shape migrants’ experiences. Whether time flies or stands still depends on agency, which follows no linear course of development. This necessarily leads to questioning simplified distinctions between then and now. The conference aims to stimulate discussion between a disciplinarily diverse range of scholars active in the historical and social sciences.
We invite presentations that address the following questions and topics:
- What types of sources and methodological approaches allow research into various aspects of migration to grapple with the subjectivity of time and migrants’ interactions with social and institutional time regimes?
- How do people on the move experience time differently than those who stayed put? How do these differences play out in communication across geographic distance and in personal interactions when visiting or returning home?
- How can we analyse the times and temporality of seasonal, circular, and onward migration as well as short-distance mobilities?
- The migratory experience involves different timescales, from the short and medium to the long term. How, for example, does the perception of economic and political conjunctures relate to the individual experience, and moreover how is this impacted by traditions and histories of mobility?
- What roles do the use of specific transport and communication technologies play in migrants’ experiences of time?
- How do migrants’ and migrations authorities’ conceptions and experiences of time intersect, clash and or diverge?
- Migration involves power differentials that can contract the scope of agency, especially for the less privileged. How do migrants cope with instances of heteronomous time (the bureaucratic structures that regulate migration tend to be slow and opaque, devices such as visa regulations impose a rhythm on migration, and camps keep refugees in limbo. Once arrived, migrants must oftentimes put up with precarious work schedules)?
- What migratory experiences cause subjective time to slow down, and at which points do things happen quickly, with time seemingly accelerating? How do gender, age, ethnicity and class impact migrants’ experiences of time?
- What experiences do migrants perceive as ruptures in biographical time when constructing biographical narratives – both while on the move and looking back later – and how do they construct continuities?
This conference will take place on 4-5 May 2023 in, St. Pölten, Austria. The working language will be English and the conference is planned to be held in person. Please send a short biographical statement and an abstract of up to 250 words to
Daniela.Wagner@donau-uni.ac.at by 15 November, 2022. Decisions on the conference program will be made within three weeks of the deadline.
This will be the second conference in a series of three conferences under the title: (Researching) Migration: On New Paths, in Each Direction? The 3rd conferences will discuss categories/classification.
- first Research Network for Interdisciplinary Regional Studies: Oliver Kühschelm (Centre for Historical Migration Research/IGLR) and Anne Unterwurzacher (Ilse Arlt Institute for Social Inclusion Research/UAS St. Pölten)
- University of Vienna: Annemarie Steidl (Department of Economic and Social History)
- Slovenian Migration Institute ZRC SAZU (Scientific Research Centre at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts): Mirjam Milharčič Hladnik, Aleksej Kalc