16.05.2019, Leipzig

Urban societies of migration across Europe

International workshop on scope and limits of the postmigrant perspective

  • Date: 16 May 2019
  • Location: Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, Leipzig (Germany)

In contemporary European globalising societies, the issue of migration regularly triggers highly controversial and emotional debates which unfold in negotiations of differences and belongings. Within the academic sphere in Germany, the postmigrant perspective (e.g. Labor Migration 2014) was sparking a reconceptualisation of migration as a discursive arena and proxy for the negotiation of fundamental social struggles (Foroutan et al. 2018). It enlarges the critique of essentialised conceptions of identity and ethnicity by adding a focus on nuanced regimes of differentiated citizenships (Mezzadra & Neilson 2013), the formation of inclusive-exclusive discursive orders as well as on multiple practices of reproducing and resisting othering and racism within the urban everyday (e.g. Riedner 2018, Espahangizi et al. 2016, Mecheril & De Castro Varela 2016).

At the same time, it should be stressed that historical particularities and regional contexts matter for how migration is negotiated discursively and within everyday lives. However, the suitability of the postmigrant perspective to provide analytical insights across diverse geopolitical contexts has hardly been considered so far. Starting from this observation we engage with the potentials and pitfalls occurring when the notion of the postmigrant is transferred to different geopolitical contexts in Europe. Drawing upon post- and decolonial debates, we aim to engage the postmigrant perspective with a critical awareness of the geopolitical power relations that structure academic practice, and which promote the universalisation of research concepts from European Centers.

Against this background, the workshop invites interested scholars from diverse academic spaces across Europe to present and discuss empirical insights on how migration is negotiated at different scales in different European societies. It aims to create an open space to challenge and further elaborate on the analytical potential of the postmigrant perspective and to engage in relational and/or comparative perspectives informed by postcolonial (e.g. Robinson 2011) and decentering debates (e.g. Tlostanova 2015).

Key questions of the workshop

  • Which conflicts, negotiations or resistant practices emerge around migration-based claims for citizenship and belonging in diverse urban contexts?
  • In what way can critical urban studies and their focus on neoliberalisation sharpen our understanding of the interplay between social inequality and processes of racialisation?
  • Which insights on the current conditions of urban societies of migration can be gained from applying comparative perspectives across the East-West divide?
  • In what ways does the postmigrant perspective mirror a particularly "Western" conception of urban societies of migration?
  • Which analytical repertoires are needed in order to bridge the different constructions, depictions and positionings of "migration" in public and/or academic debates across Europe, and to raise awareness of their effects on urban migration research?

Programme and registration

Workshop flyer (pdf)


Elisabeth Kirndörfer, E_Kirndoerfer(at)ifl-leipzig.de
Madlen Pilz, M_Pilz(at)ifl-leipzig.de    
Karin Wiest, K_Wiest(at)ifl-leipzig.de


This workshop is part of the project Locally stranded, globally embedded. Dealing with diversity on the margins of the postmigrant city funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG).



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