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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Ethnic and Racial Studies

For a Special Issue on
Contested Categories in the Context of Migration

Abstract deadline
15 January 2023

Manuscript deadline
15 September 2023

Cover image - Ethnic and Racial Studies

Special Issue Editor(s)

Ulrike Bialas, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity
[email protected]

Johanna Lukate, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity
[email protected]

Steven Vertovec, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity
[email protected]

Submit an ArticleVisit JournalArticles

Contested Categories in the Context of Migration

International migration is a particularly fruitful site for examining categories and processes of categorization. On the one hand, states use categories such as age, gender, sexuality, religion, marital status, and nationality to manage migrants’ entry, reception, legal status, and access to resources, making categorization extremely consequential for individual migrants. On the other hand,  categories often differ greatly between migrants’ home countries and receiving states in terms of, for example, their historical genesis, bureaucratic documentation, and  socio-political relevance. As a result, governments, the public, and other actors involved in processes of migration negotiate categories under extremely high stakes and often within unequal and shifting power relations. Migration scholars must thus pay attention to systems of categorization to understand the management of migration and migrants’ own lived experiences, and scholars interested in categorization should recognize migration as a site where existing categories can be seen with rare clarity, and novel and emerging categories can be identified.

In this special issue, we want to highlight this nexus between migration and categorization, with two interconnected goals: to better understand the experience and governance of migration through the categories that shape both, and to better understand the social construction of categories and their fluid, context-dependent nature by examining them in the particularly revealing context of migration. We are especially interested in how individuals make sense of, navigate, and oppose categorization. While more attention has been paid to how categories shape migration policies, research only just begins to explore how those subjected and placed within particular categories reinforce or resist these categories.

We invite transdisciplinary contributions—based on quantitative or qualitative empirical research, or theoretical in nature—that engage with particular categories or processes of categorization in the context of migration. Topics may include:

  • What is the role of categories and categorization in migration governance?
  • How do meanings of social categories shift during processes of migration?
  • How do migrants navigate categories across origin and destination countries?
  • How are categories and processes of categorization negotiated and resisted?
  • How do migrants contest categorizations they disagree with?
  • How do the coloniality of knowledge and migrants’ resources affect their ability to articulate other categories?

Submission Instructions

Please submit abstracts of max. 500 words and a short bio by January 15, 2023 to [email protected]. Authors of selected abstracts will be notified by February 15, 2023 and included in a Special Issue proposal to Ethnic and Racial Studies. Pending approval in March 2023, selected authors will be invited to submit a full paper and to participate in a writing workshop in Göttingen or Berlin, Germany, taking place in summer 2023 and hosted by the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. The deadline for invited papers (up to 9,000 words, including references) will be September 15, 2023.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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