Aims of the conference
Migration has shaped Balkan societies in the past and continues to mark the present. Historically, the long-standing political organization of Southeastern Europe in large empires facilitated different kinds of migration. In the modern period, the agrarian crisis, unemployment, as well as migrant networks stimulated millions of people to go abroad whether as overseas emigrants before World War One, as so-called “Gastarbeiter” (guest workers) in the 1960s and 70s, or as economic migrants after the collapse of socialism. In the 19th and 20th centuries, many people were also forced to leave their homes as victims of ethnic cleansing, as refugees from war or political persecution. On the other hand, Balkan countries have recently become hosts to immigrants – including western pensioners who have settled in Southeast Europe – as well as refugees. Furthermore, they have witnessed large-scale domestic migration, mainly from villages to the city, since the mid-20th century.
Migration, thus, has been a typical experience in many a Southeast European life course and transnational links have provided societies in the region important economic, social, and political resources. Apart from its social, economic and political dimensions, migration is also a complex cultural phenomenon. Migrants are often faced with cultural alterity and have to develop alternative modes of intercultural communication. This results in strategies of assimilation and integration, but also of segregation or marginalization. The evidence of 19th century overseas emigration as well as of recent cases show that migration leads to complex processes of cultural and social change both in the country of origin and in the host country. The same holds true for the changes that take place between the first, second, and third generation of migrants, particularly in today’s world of transnational mobility and new media communication (satellite TV, internet, etc.).
Migration in, from, and to Southeastern Europe has already found much attention among scholars from various disciplines. However, important aspects of recent and past migration have remained unexplored. Most significantly, there is a definite lack of cross-disciplinary dialogue, of transnational comparison, and of attention to both migrant and host society perspectives. Social scientists tend to focus on large numbers and structural forces, neglecting migrants’ agency; ethnologists often leave social, economic and political determinants out of the picture; the few historians dealing with migration in Southeastern Europe usually focus on only one particular ethnic group, ignoring the essentially transnational and comparative character of migration processes. Therefore, this conference aims at facilitating dialogue across disciplines and nations. Its focus will be on the socio-cultural dimensions of migration and it will consider the entire migration process, discussing the relevant social, economic, and political contexts.
Hence, we invite not only anthropologists, ethnologists and ethnographers to propose papers, but also scholars from media studies and communication sciences, historians, social and political scientists, geographers, and scholars from other disciplines. However, all papers should contribute to the understanding of the cultural and social dynamics of migration. Together, we want to explore Southeastern Europe as a unique laboratory for salient aspects of historical and present migration, firmly rooting this region in the global landscape of migration studies.
The conference will be organized around a number of major problems for which we encourage paper proposals:
- Historical aspects of emigration and seasonal migration in Southeast Europe in the modern period
- Gender and migration
- Migration and intercultural communication
- Media, new technologies and (post)modern migrant communities
- Migrant experiences of and reactions to (cultural, economic and social) inclusion and exclusion
- Making a new home: ‘adaptation’ and ‘tradition’ between constraints and opportunities
- Perception and representation of Balkan migrants in the West
- Diaspora nationalism and political mobilization of migrants
- Transnational (cultural, social, economic and political) links in the past and the present
- Return migrants as cultural innovators or modernizers?
- Social and cultural dimensions of domestic migration
- Forced migration and its cultural dimensions
- Regimes and policies of emigration and immigration in Southeastern Europe
- ‘New’ immigrants in Southeastern Europe (diplomats, managers, consultants, academics, pensioners, Third World refugees, etc.)
- Migration as a process: decision-making, family strategies, plans for the future
- ‘Illegal’ or undocumented migration (sans-papiers, boat people of the Mediterranean)
- Individual, collective, and cultural memories of migration
- Concepts, methodologies and controversies of current migration research
Paper proposals are to be sent to the conference organizers by July 15, 2008. The proposal must contain the paper title, a 200–250 word abstract, as well as the author’s name, institution, address, e-mail, and a very brief academic c.v.
Invited panels are also welcome. The panel organizer(s) should submit the panel title, a 200–250 word panel abstract, as well as a list of the three to four planned presenters including all the information about individual papers detailed above.
Proposals should refer to the most appropriate conference theme and specify the technical equipment needed for the paper presentation.
The papers may be proposed and presented in one of the three InASEA official languages, i.e. English, French or German.
The paper proposals should be sent to:
- Dr. Ulf Brunnbauer (Free University of Berlin), e-mail: email@example.com
- Dr. Asker Kartari (Hacettepe University, Ankara), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Participants will be notified in November 2008 about the acceptance of their paper.
A selection of refereed conference papers will be published in two regular issues of InASEA’s annual journal, Ethnologia Balkanica, (volumes 13 and 14).
Travel and Accommodation
Pending the approval of sufficient funds for the conference, the conference organizers will cover at least a part of the travel and accommodation costs for participants from the countries of Southeast Europe not in the European Union before 2006 (Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Turkey). Accommodation for participants who qualify for financial support will be pre-arranged. Other participants will also be assisted in making hotel reservations. More information about accommodation will be published on the conference website (http://www-gewi.kfunigraz.ac.at/inasea/conference4.html) in due time.
InASEA members are entitled to free participation in the conference. Non-InASEA members will be asked to pay an on-site registration fee equivalent to:
15 EUR (participants from the above-mentioned Southeast European countries) and
30 EUR (other participants, including those from the SEE countries that joined the European Union before 2006).
More information about the conference can be obtained from the President of InASEA
Dr. Ulf Brunnbauer
Institute of East European Studies
Free University of Berlin
and from the Chair of the Conference Organizing Committee
Dr. Asker Kartari
Hacettepe University, Faculty of Communication
Ankara, Republic of Turkey