Migration: Categories, Concepts, Terminologies

Migration: Categories, Concepts, Terminologies

Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts – ZRC SAZU
Novi trg 2
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15.05.2025 - 16.05.2025
Teresa Petrik, Institut für Geschichte des ländlichen Raums, St. Pölten

Third conference in the series (Researching) Migration: On New Paths, in Each Direction?

Migration: Categories, Concepts, Terminologies

Administrative bodies have long sought to categorize and classify migrants and migrations. During the era of transnational mass migrations these endeavors became critical in the administration of modern (nation-)states. Be that as it may, administrative classificatory systems, adapted to the logic of the state and its migration regime, obscure the complexity of migratory practices. A thorough and nuanced understanding of migratory phenomena requires us to move beyond nationally confined approaches to integrative and alternative definitions and analytical categories. With a view to evaluate and develop innovative viewpoints in migration research, this conference seeks to broaden the scholarship with the studies on human mobility from both pre-modern and modern temporal perspectives.

We seek to understand the ways in which these new approaches, based on the idea of complex movements, help to loosen current associations between migration and the nation-state. In so doing, the conference attempts to broaden perceptions of spatial mobility, which are understood as a fundamental aspect of social life and human agency. We aim to verify and discuss how intersectional perspectives can help us challenge and reinterpret narrow categories and classifications. We also ask how power relations based on categories of differentiation (race/ethnicity, class, gender, citizenship, profession, age, education, religion etc.), affect each other, and how they operate as overlapping systems of inclusion, exclusion, and oppression.

The conference aims to facilitate discussion between scholars from diverse disciplines across the historical and social sciences. We invite presentations that address the following thematic clusters:

Scholarship and classification: The development of migration studies and use of categories: from replicating to challenging nation-state discourse in migration research; research, use of sources, and the emphasis on the complexity of human mobility and the difficulties of straightforward classification …

State/Structures classifications from the pre-modern era to present: emergence of categories dependent on nation- and state-building processes (development, criteria of distinction, continuities and transformations, creating classification through legislation, statistics, administrative procedures: designating and categorizing migrants, distinguishing between desirable and undesirable …).

Society and categorization: impact of state-imposed categories: (mis)uses/abuses of nation-state classifications and categories in public and media discourses: distortions, incorrect references, use for political purposes; creation of categories through social relationships.

Individuals as agents: the ways in which migrants perceive(d) and were (are) affected by established classification systems and labelling; how these influence(d) individual and group behavior, identifications, political attitudes; and how migrants themselves use(d) these categories.

To apply, please send a short biographical statement and up to 250 word abstract to: deja.gliha@zrc-sazu.si by September 30, 2024. Decisions on the conference program will be made within four weeks of the deadline.

The conference will take place from May 15-16, 2025 at Atrij ZRC SAZU, Novi trg 2, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Working language will be English.

This is the third and final conference in the (Researching) Migration: On New Paths, in Each Direction? series. The first, held in Vienna in 2022, centered on Spaces and Locations of Migration, the second, held in St. Pölten in 2023, discussed Migration, Time, and Temporality.

Organized by
- Mirjam Milharčič Hladnik, Aleksej Kalc and Miha Zobec, Slovenian Migration Institute, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts
- Annemarie Steidl, University of Vienna, Department of Economic and Social History
- Oliver Kühschelm, zhmf – IGLR, and Anne Unterwurzacher, IAI, first Research Network for Interdisciplinary Regional Studies



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