IMER Bergen Newsletter Summer 2014

IMERsommerIMER Bergen wishes you a happy summer holiday. We also want to remind you about some of the upcoming events the autumn 2014. If you want to publish something in the next IMER newsletter send and e-mail to Remember to follow us at and on our Facebook pages.



Communication migration seminar series and other seminars

The communicating migration seminar series will continue this autumn and there will also be other exiting seminars. Note that we have changed the day and time of the seminars. The seminars will now be held at UNI Rokkan centre, 6. etg. on Tuesdays at 13.15 to 15.00. More information about the dates and the topics of the seminars will be announced on our web pages and our Facebook page.

The communicating migration seminar series covers how migration and ethnic relations are communicated in every-day encounters, in mass and social media, in politics and in teaching at the universities and art.  Has the way people talk about migration and migrants in different social contexts changed over time, and in which ways has it changed? How does migration theory and research fit in with other topics and theories in the social sciences, and how do results from migration research inform public debate and policy development? Communicating migration will be discussed from various angles in our seminar series on international migration and ethnic relations during spring and autumn 2014. We welcome papers that touch upon this broad theme from different angles.  Historical analyses of change over time in regard to politics and public debate, research foci and disciplinary concerns are specifically welcomed.  The seminar series will end with a two-day conference in October/November 2014.

Communicating migration conference

The 23rd and 24th of October we will end the communicating migration seminar series with a small conference on the same topic.

Day 1: Thursday 23rd of October 2014 – Lauritz Meltzers hus Fosswinkelsgate 6, 9. Etg.

The first day will focus on how research and teaching in migration and integration has challenged and changed established disciplinary foci over time and across spatial contexts. Whereas many disciplines in the social sciences earlier looked at society and culture as stable phenomena within the framework of the nation state or the tribe, migration has challenged such ideas both from an empirical and a theoretical point of view. In Norway, migration research has increased in volume and is nowadays a fairly common theme in the curricula of many social science disciplines. 30 years ago the situation was different, and students were often advised not to choose this thematic. They were told there would not be any future career in academia if they did. There are many ways to incorporate themes related to migration in the central themes of the different disciplines; i.e. related to social inequality, to integration, to mobility and to political behaviour. One is to for instance change indicators of social inequality in a way that encaptures that societies become more multicultural. Another is to radically question the concepts and frameworks associated with “normal science” within the actual discipline. A third is to incorporate insights from an interdisciplinary body of literature into the different sciences. This seminar is devoted to such questions, and we will have two keynote speakers respectively from France and the UK, and several local scholars from different disciplines who will discuss these themes from different angles, disciplines and countries.

Day 2: Friday 24th of October 2014 –Literature house Bergen

In the first section of the second day of the conference we will look into recent debates between Norwegian and Swedish media personalities that are related to the role of migration in the Norwegian elections in 2013. While Swedish commentators has argued that the Norwegians were showing strong anti-immigrant devotions by electing the right wing Progress party into the government. Norwegian commentators have chosen to leave the political divisions behind and defended the new government. In this section of the program we ask. What are the Norwegian practices and the Norwegian politics toward migrants today, and what characterizes the Norwegian discourse on immigration today? After a presentation of some facts about migration to Norway by Bente Blytt from IMDI, there will be a discussion between the former secretary of state, Kjetil Raknes (N) and the author Henrik Arnstad (S).

The last section of the program will look into how migration can be communicated through arts and film. What are the challenges for the artist, how can art and film be used to make statements about migration. Do artist face dilemmas that are similar to the researchers? We have invited two interesting artist to discuss their work together with an anthropologist. The artists are Shwan Dler Qaradaki and Thomas Østbye. We will close the conference with the documentary Imaging Immanuel that is made by one of the artists.Read more about the film and the artists here:

Read more at IMERs web pages


PROVIR Closing conference – Exceptional welfare: Dilemmas in/of irregular migration

How do states respond to the physical presence and needs of people it officially has excluded? To what extent do international human rights provide protection? How does migration control and welfare policy affect irregular migrants’ experiences and subjectivities?

Physically present, but legally excluded, irregular migrants’ present societies with particular dilemmas relating to both sovereignty and human suffering. European countries increasingly involve welfare services in migration control, either by restricting access, or by using welfare services to detect/expose irregular migrants. This raises important questions concerning not only how migrants’ legal status influences their capacity to access services, but also the practical and ethical implications for service providers. Furthermore, it challenges the extent to which human rights actually limit the exclusionary powers of states and as such whether human rights are viable outside the confines of citizenship.

Provision of Welfare to Irregular Migrants (PROVIR) will be organizing its closing conference at the University of Bergen, 19th – 21th of November 2014. As an interdisciplinary project, the PROVIR research group and its international partners have combined a legal and social science approach to the provision of welfare to ‘irregular migrants’ in Norway, and comparatively in Europe, looking particularly at health care and education. The aim of the project has been to investigate the complex relationship between law, institutional practice, and migrants’ lived experience.

The closing conference aims to bring together researchers from various disciplines who are interested in the interplay between migration control and welfare policy. At the conference, findings from the PROVIR-project will be presented by the research team. In addition to presentations by key note speakers, the PROVIR research team also welcomes papers to be presented at workshops. We especially invite contributions addressing:

  •       Irregular migrants’ legal situation regarding access to welfare provisions, either in national or international law.
  •       Institutional practices and responses by service providers.
  •       Migrants’ experiences, agency and embodiment.

Read more at:




 Race, Migration and kinship 20.-22. August 2014

How might we think about race as a paradoxically fungible yet persistent feature of human history? This mini seminar examines race as a global phenomenon with long and diverse histories. In its migrations, conceptions of race have repeatedly been marshaled, decried, dismissed, and repurposed, reformulating conceptions of kinship and social organization along the way. From ancient empires, medieval religious conflicts, and early modern accounts of “barbarians” and “strangers” to the longue durée of colonial settlement and slavery, and from the revolutions and uprisings of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries to more recent accounts of physiognomy, eugenics, and DNA, the phenomenon of race has interacted dynamically across time and space with conceptions of caste, color, class, language, identity, law, region, and religion. Our class will begin with a conventional genealogy of race as arising  from the age of Atlantic Revolutions, the slave trade, and scientific thinking in Europe and the United States before complicating our understandings of the phenomenon as one shaped over centuries of contact and interchange. Our second session will examine a longer history of race and caste in relation to Iberian colonization of the East and West Indies and our third session will investigate race and the littoral in Indian Ocean studies. Registration deadline is August 8th, 2014. More info:

Workshop  on Waiting: temporalities of migration

Date:16 September 2014, 13.00 – 17.00 Venue:Spelbomskan Aula Magna, Stockholm University. Migration is generally perceived and studied as a spatial process and the temporal aspect of migration has received much less attention. Asylum seekers and undocumented migrants are constantly waiting for decisions and assistance coming from others: the state, the church, NGOs, legal firms, labor unions or individuals such as employers. The dependence on others’ decisions leads to a patronizing relationship, which means that the migrant has to surrender to the authority of others. Lack of information on how long they have to wait or what exactly they have to do to get their documents makes migrants’ lives unpredictable and results in uncertainty. This is most palpable in various forms of camp, where migrants can be kept with no legal time limit. This half-day workshop aims to focus on the ethnography on time, waiting, and temporalities in relation to irregular migrations and asylum. The workshop is scheduled to take place on September 16, 2014, at Stockholm University and will have a limited number of participants working on temporal aspect of migration. Contact:


We have a great pleasure to introduce to you the course Roma and Travellers: Mobility, Persecution and Memory (6-10 ECTS), taking place in between August 5 to 21, 2014 in Helsinki, Finland. The course is part of the Helsinki Summer School, organized by University of Helsinki, Aalto University and Hanken School of Economics. The course explores the relationship between Roma and Traveller groups in past and present European societies, making use of a multidisciplinary perspective.  Advanced students and junior researchers in history, anthropology, sociology, social policy and other relevant fields are invited to participate. Students and junior researchers with Roma or other minority background are especially encouraged to attend. All necessary information can be found at the website: For further information do not hesitate to contact the coordinator of the course Mr. Malte Gasche,



NMR conference program is now available

Read more at:

2nd International Conference Transborder-Transnation-Transformation. Perspectives on Social support

September 22-23, 2014. The Research Training Group “Transnational Social Support” (University of Hildesheim and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz) is pleased to announce its upcoming international conference, which will focus on transborder practices, their ensuing transnational formations, and the resulting transformations from the perspective of social support. The conference serves as a forum for the PhD students of the Research Training Group to present and discuss their research results in a circle of internationally renowned academics. Please find the preliminary program here. The poster session provides an interdisciplinary forum for PhD, postdoctoral, and Master students to present their current research projects. If you wish to participate please submit an abstract (max. 500 words) to The application deadline is 31 July 2014. Applicants will be notified by mid-August if their poster has been accepted.

Please register by 22 August 2014 via email: The registration fee is €50 (€25 for students) and includes dinner on Monday, lunch on Tuesday, and drinks. Much to our regret, we will not be able to fund travel costs or accommodation. For further information and registration details, please (Felix Benjamin Platz) Read more: and


The 12th SSIA Congress will be held in Helsinki, Finland, 19–23 August 2015, in cooperation with University of Helsinki, University of Jyväskylä, University of Eastern Finland, Finnish Youth Research Society and Finnish Somalia Network. The congress pays close attention to the complex and multidimensional nature of Somali identity and its presentation both in Somalia and in the diaspora communities. The congress challenges its participants to explore the diverse and often intersecting aspects of Somali identity, such as gender, generation, geography, culture, ethnicity and religion. It also seeks to scrutinize the different practices and processes through which resettlement societies enable or hinder the inclusion and membership of their Somali population. Furthermore, the congress will address the rebuilding process of Somalia, and the multiple factors shaping this process (e.g. political, economic, gender-related, and transnational). Addressing multidimensional Somali identities requires reflections on history, tradition and religion, as well as on current social, political and economic conditions. Therefore, the congress will be multidisciplinary drawing from various fields and perspectives so that it would be possible to address the fundamental questions of Somali identity both in the Horn of Africa and in the diaspora.The deadline for panel proposals and individual papers is August 31, 2014.The congress website will be updated frequently as more information will be available:

For any inquiries, please contact:



RNIM network

We are pleased to share with the creation of an interdisciplinary research networks on international migration “Research Network on International Migration – RNIM”.

Please explore RNIM website and spread this message to your friends and colleagues who might be interested to join this network.




Protecting Civilians in Refugee Camps – Maja Janmyr

Rather than serving as civilian and humanitarian safe havens, refugee camps are notorious for their insecurity. Due to the host state’s inability or unwillingness to provide protection, camps are often administered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its implementing partners. When a violation occurs in these situations, to which actors shall responsibility be allocated?

Through an analysis of the International Law Commission’s work on international responsibility, Maja Janmyr argues that the ‘primary’ responsibility of states does not exclude the responsibilities of other actors. Using the example of Uganda, Janmyr questions the general assumption that ‘unable and unwilling’ is the same as ‘unable or unwilling’, and argues for the necessity of distinguishing between these two scenarios. Doing so leads to different conclusions in terms of responsibility for the state, and therefore for UNHCR and its implementing partners. Read more:

Anders Breivik and the Rise of Islamophobia – Sindre Bangstad

In late July 2011, Norway was struck by the worst terror attacks in its history. In a fertilizer-bomb attack on Government Headquarters in Oslo and a one-hour-long shooting spree at the Labour Party Youth Camp at Utøya, seventy-seven people, mostly teenagers, were killed by Anders Behring Breivik. By targeting young future social democratic leaders, his actions were meant to lead to the downfall of Europe’s purportedly multiculturalist elites, thus removing an obstacle to his plans for an ethnic cleansing of Muslims from Europe.

In Anders Breivik and the Rise of Islamophobia, leading Norwegian social anthropologist Sindre Bangstad reveals how Breivik’s beliefs were not simply the result of a deranged mind, but rather they are the result of the political mainstreaming of pernicious racist and Islamophobic discourses. These ideas, currently gaining common currency, threaten equal rights to dignity, citizenship and democratic participation for minorities throughout contemporary Europe. 

An authoritative account of the Norwegian terror attacks and the neo-racist discourse that motivated them.

The Oxford handbook of refugee and forced migration studies – Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyh (red.)

Refugee and Forced Migration Studies has grown from being a concern of a relatively small number of scholars and policy researchers in the 1980s to a global field of interest with thousands of students worldwide studying displacement either from traditional disciplinary perspectives or as a core component of newer programmes across the Humanities and Social and Political Sciences. Today the field encompasses both rigorous academic research which may or may not ultimately inform policy and practice, as well as action-research focused on advocating in favour of refugees’ needs and rights.
This authoritative Handbook critically evaluates the birth and development of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, and analyses the key contemporary and future challenges faced by academics and practitioners working with and for forcibly displaced populations around the world. The 52 state-of-the-art chapters, written by leading academics, practitioners, and policymakers working in universities, research centres, think tanks, NGOs and international organizations, provide a comprehensive and cutting-edge overview of the key intellectual, political, social and institutional challenges arising from mass displacement in the world today. The chapters vividly illustrate the vibrant and engaging debates that characterize this rapidly expanding field of research and practice. Read more:

Refugee Politics in the Middle East and North Africa: Human Rights, Safety, and Identity – Ullah AKM Ahsan

AKM Ahsan Ullah provides an insightful analysis of migration and displacement in the Middle East and North Africa. He examines the intricate relationship of these phenomena with human rights, safety concerns, and issues of identity crisis and identity formation. Engaging in a wide range of current debates including the Arab Uprising and regional and international responses to refugee movements, this book will enrich the present understanding of migration and refugee rights. Read more:

Asian Immigrants in North America with HIV/AIDS: Stigma, Vulnerabilities and Human Rights – Ullah, AKM Ahsan, Huque, Ahmed Shafiqul

This book explores a number of issues related to the stigma arising from HIV/AIDS infection, perceived or actual discrimination from the community and society, and the extent of vulnerabilities for infected Asian refugees and immigrants. It assesses the health care and treatment regimen for HIV/AIDS accessed by immigrants and refugee claimants in North America, including treatments offered by the health-care system and ethnic communities, and their perceptions and biases relating to HIV/AIDS issues. Read more:

Migrant Remittances in South Asia: Social, Economic and Political Implications – Md Mizanur Rahman, Tan Tai Yong, AKM Ahsan Ullah

Remittance is the most beneficial private transaction in the global economy. The South Asian region accounts for about one fourth of the global remittance flows destined for developing countries, contributing to over ten percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of South Asia. This significant amount of remittance has enormous potential for development in the region. The volume, essentially a South Asian viewpoint, provides theoretical treatments of remittance and how its development potential is translated into reality. The authors meticulously delve into the diverse mechanisms through which migrant communities remit, investigating how recipients engage in the development process in South Asia.


The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror – Arun Kundnani

The new front in the War on Terror is the “home-grown enemy,” domestic terrorists who have become the focus of sprawling counterterrorism structures of policing and surveillance in the United States and across Europe. Domestic surveillance has mushroomed— at least 100,000 Muslims in America have been secretly under scrutiny. British police compiled a secret suspect list of more than 8,000 al-Qaeda “sympathizers,” and in another operation included almost 300 children fifteen and under among the potential extremists investigated. MI5 doubled in size in just five years. Based on several years of research and reportage, in locations as disparate as Texas, New York, and Yorkshire, and written in engrossing, precise prose, this is the first comprehensive critique of counterradicalization strategies. The new policy and policing campaigns have been backed by an industry of freshly minted experts and liberal commentators. The Muslims Are Coming! looks at the way these debates have been transformed by the embrace of a narrowly configured and ill-conceived anti extremism. Read more:


Between Islam and the American Dream: An Immigrant Muslim Community in Post-9/11 America – Yuting Wang

Based on a three-year ethnographic study of a steadily growing suburban Muslim immigrant congregation in Midwest America, this book examines the micro-processes through which a group of Muslim immigrants from diverse backgrounds negotiate multiple identities while seeking to become part of American society in the years following 9/11. The author looks into frictions, conflicts, and schisms within the community to debunk myths and provide a close-up look at the experiences of ordinary immigrant Muslims in the United States. Instead of treating Muslim immigrants as fundamentally different from others, this book views Muslims as multidimensional individuals whose identities are defined by a number of basic social attributes, including gender, race, social class, and religiosity. Each person portrayed in this ethnography is a complex individual, whose hierarchy of identities is shaped by particular events and the larger social environment. By focusing on a single congregation, this study controls variables related to the particularity of place and presents a “thick” description of interactions within small groups. This book argues that the frictions, conflicts and schisms are necessary as much as inevitable in cultivating a “composite culture” within the American Muslim community marked by diversity, leading it onto the path of Americanization. Yuting Wang is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the American University of Sharjah in the UAE. Read more:

New issue of Nordic Journal of Migration Research is out June 6. 2014

The issue 4 (2) 2014 of Nordic Journal of Migration Research is now available online from De Gruyter Online. It is a special issue on the Kurdish diaspora, and the contents of the issue is found below. lease click on the following link to view the new contents: or

The journal Global Networks has posted the following collection of essays on The Religious Lives of Migrant Minorities: A Transnational and Multi-sited Perspective, edited by Josh DeWind and Manuel Vasquez

Read more:

The linguistic integration of adult migrants: from one country to another, from one language to another (2014-06-03)

The linguistic integration of migrants affects every aspect of settling in a new country (employment, health, etc.). The aim of this collection of texts is to propose a number of specific measures member states can take to help adult migrants become acquainted with the language of the host country. The main focus is on organising language courses that meet migrants’ real communication needs. It is not enough for authorities simply to consider the technical aspects of such courses, they should also design and conduct them in accordance with the fundamental values of the Council of Europe.

A number of issues concerning the linguistic integration of adult migrants are presented here, beginning with the notion of linguistic integration itself. Family reunion, the nature of citizenship and the function of language tests, among others, are dealt with from the point of view of language and language use. Readers are invited to reflect on the type of language competences that need to be acquired as well as an appropriate use of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The collection also sets out approaches and instruments designed to assist in implementing effective policies.