IMER Bergen, International Migration and Ethnic Relations



Dear all, here is the IMER Bergen newsletter for the autumn 2014. Apologies for cross posting. If you want to include something in the next IMER newsletter, send an E-mail to









New leadership at IMER Bergen and changes in the IMER board

IMER wants to welcome Synnøve K. N. Bendixsen as the new Head of IMER Bergen and the IMER board. Synnøve has a PhD in Social anthropology from Humboldt University and Ecoles des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. She has worked on religiosity among young Muslims in Berlin, and more lately on irregular migrants in Norway. Currently, she is postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Social anthropology and a researcher at Uni Research Rokkansenteret. IMER also wants to say thank you to Mette Andersson, the former Head of IMER Bergen. We congratulate Mette with her new position as professor at the Department of Sociology at the University of Oslo. Simultaneously, we want to welcome Susanne Bygnes as a new member of the IMER board. Susanne has contributed to IMER research with sociological studies of diversity and multiculturalism and she is now doing her postdoctoral research on labor migration in uncertain times, focusing on labour migrants from Spain to Norway.


New PhD scholar at IMER Bergen

Olav Elgvin has recently started his five-year PHD scholarship at IMER Bergen and the Department of comparative politics at the University of Bergen. His thesis is about Muslim religious leaders in three European countries, France, Germany and England. How do Muslim religious leaders view the relationship between religion and politics, and how do they think about the relationship between sharia-law and democracy? Read more about Olav Elgin’s project in Norwegian here:


IMER seminars autumn 2014

There have already been a couple of seminars at IMER this autumn, and we are happy to announce two more upcoming seminars. The next seminars will be:

Katrine Mellingen Bjerke – Elderly Migrants in Norway - UNI Rokkan centre 14th of October at 14.15 to 16.00

Aging of the population raises a series of different challenges for the Norwegian elderly care system. One of the challenges is related to user differentiation, that is, the understanding that services should be adapted to each user’s individual needs. Related to this emphasis on user differentiation is an increasing cultural diversity amongst the elderly population as cohorts of labour migrants and refugees that came in the 1960s and 1970s are facing old age. This necessitates more knowledge about how these elderly migrants perceive of old age, and particularly how they experience and perceive Norwegian care services. This paper addresses how elderly immigrants with a Pakistani and Polish background perceive of aging in Norway, and how they experience and relate to the Norwegian welfare and care regime. What are their expectations? How do they go about covering their assistance needs, both formally (within the public welfare system) and informally (within their family and/or the community). Read more about Bjerkes presentation here:,


Maja Janmyr - "Returmania": a seminar on Norway's readmission agreements - UNI Rokkan centre: 25th of November at 12.15. to 14.00

For Norway, deporting irregular migrants is currently among the highest political priorities, and never before have so many deportations taken place - with 7100 forced returns an all-time high is expected to be reached in 2014. In this presentation, Janmyr will discuss one of the oldest instruments used by states to control migratory flows - readmission agreements. Such agreements typically assist in overcoming bilateral difficulties by setting out reciprocal obligations on the contracting parties to facilitate the return of persons who do not fulfil the condition of presence in the requested state. This presentation will focus on the objective and substance of Norwegian readmission agreements, and will specifically look into the impact of European Union readmission policies on Norwegian practice. Finally, Janmyr will discuss whether or not these readmission agreements fulfil their objectives: to decrease asylum flows to Norway and to increase both voluntary and forced return. Read more about Janmyrs presentation here: Read more about the Centre on law and social transformation here:



Communicating migration Closing conference


The IMER seminar series for 2014 have covered how migration and ethnic relations are communicated in every-day encounters, in mass and social media, in art, in politics and in research and teaching at the universities. 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 relate to other topics and theories in the social sciences, and how do results from migration research inform public debate and policy development? What are the challenges we encounter in communicating migration? Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th of October. Open conference: No registration. Read more at:


PROVIR closing conference: Exceptional welfare: Dilemmas in/of irregular migration”

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, the research team will present findings from the PROVIR-project. In addition there will be presentations by keynote speakers, and in workshops. Read more at:


Call for conference papers: Transnational migrations: Disciplinary Impacts

The IMISCOE Research Group TRANSMIG calls for papers to the conference: Transnational migrations: Disciplinary Impacts 29-30 January 2015 at MIM and GPS, Malmö University. Keynote speakers: NINA GLICK SCHILLER (Emerita, Social Anthropology, Manchester) 
and THOMAS FAIST (Sociology, Bielefeld). Invited presenters and discussants: RUSSELL KING (Human Geography, Sussex), 
ÖSTEN WAHLBECK (Sociology, Helsinki), MARIE SANDBERG (Ethnology/AMIS, Copenhagen), 
(Anthropology, Lisbon), KATHY BURRELL (Historical Geography, Liverpool). The final program can be found at on December 1st.


2014 International Metropolis Conference: Migration - Energy for the Planet, Feeding Cultures

From November 3-7, 2014, the International Metropolis Project will convene its annual conference in Milan, Italy where we will tackle head-on today’s most pressing migration and integration issues. Speakers from around the world will examine such challenges as the undocumented and dangerous boat crossings of the Mediterranean; some of the most severe forced migration situations, including in Syria and Iraq, that we have seen in the past 50 years; the quest for more rational international migration governance; the elusive goal of managing migration for development benefits; taking advantage of the opportunities brought to our institutions by diversity; and many others. Please join us and more than 750 others from over 70 countries by registering on the conference website (


5th Annual International Symposium on Preventing Human Trafficking: Prevention, Protection, Prosecution.

The problem of human trafficking is an increasingly disturbing phenomenon in Europe with terrible consequences for victims, the majority of who are forced into various forms of sexual and labour exploitation. Human trafficking is widely recognised as a serious crime but progress in prosecution and conviction remains limited because of the complex nature of cases. This confirms the need to raise public awareness of trafficking, improve training in order to better identify victims, and develop better co-operation and multi-agency working – all are critical in the fight against trafficking. In order to encourage greater political will, facilitate policy discussion and explore comprehensive solutions to properly recognise the needs of all victims of human trafficking, Public Policy Exchange is proud to host this annual symposium and welcomes the participation of all key partners, responsible authorities and stakeholders. The Symposium will support the exchange of ideas and encourage delegates to engage in thought-provoking topical debate. The event will take place at NH Bruxelles Grand Place Arenberg Thursday 27th of November 2014. Event Details:  Website:  Register to:


12th Somali Studies International Association (SSIA) Congress: Revisiting Somali Identities – Addressing Gender, Generation and Belonging.

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 deadline for panel proposals and individual papers is October 15, 2014. Read more:



Fafo-frokost: Hvordan opplever somaliske innvandrere møtet med NAV?

Fafo inviterer til frokost tirsdag 7. oktober 2014
kl. 08:30-09:45 i Fafos lokaler i Borggata 2B på Grønland i Oslo. Mange somaliere mangler grunnleggende utdanning fra hjemlandet. Den norske aktiveringspolitikken er i liten grad tilpasset deres behov. Hvordan opplever så somaliske innvandrere møtet med NAV? På dette seminaret lanseres Fafo-rapporten Når aktivering blir ydmykelse. Den viser blant annet at mange somaliske brukere blir motløse og opplever NAV-tiltakene som ydmykende. Prosjektet er finansiert av NAV gjennom FARVE – Forsøksmidler arbeid og velferd. Begrenset antall plasser. Registrering innen 6. Oktober. Les mer og registrer deg her: Seminaret strømmes og vises direkte på Fafo-TV


UDI frokostseminar om overføringsflyktninger

I løpet av dette året skal Norge ta imot 1 620 FN-flyktninger. UDI har ansvar for å intervjue flyktningene og avgjøre hvem som skal få opphold i Norge. Vurderingene gjør vi i samråd med Integrerings- og mangfoldsdirektoratet (IMDi), som skal bosette flyktningene i en kommune. Hvilke hensyn må vi ta når vi avgjør hvilke flyktninger som skal få komme til Norge? Vi forteller om arbeidet med å ta imot flyktninger, og IMDi snakker om utfordringene med å få bosatt flyktningene i en kommune. Dørene åpner kl. 08.00. Vi serverer en lett frokost og kaffe før programmet starter kl. 08.30. Frokostseminaret er gratis og åpent for alle, men det er begrenset antall plasser. Påmelding sendes til Frist for påmelding: 9. Oktober. Tid: Tirsdag 14. oktober, 08.00-10.00. Sted: UDIs lokaler i Hausmannsgate 23, Oslo

CFP for Workshop on Migration, Transnationalism and Catholicism

Workshop date: 25 February 2015. Place: Middlesex University, London, UK. Deadline for abstracts: 15 November 2014. This workshop will explore the various ways in which contemporary international migration and transnationalism affect Catholicism both as practices and institutionally. The focus is on the diversity of ways in which international migration makes an impact: as individual faithful bring their religious practices to new contexts; as the faithful in immigrant societies relate to changes due to migration; and, with regard to transnational religious flows and exchanges within the Catholic Church. In relation to an exploration of the ways in which the practices of the faithful are affected by migration and transnationalism, it is also pertinent to ask, how Catholicism institutionally, whether in the Vatican, at bishop conference or diocese or parish level, is impacted by migration and transnationalism, and how the Catholic Church as an institution responds. The geographic scope of the theme is explicitly global, and perspectives beyond the Global South to Global North movement of migrants are necessary. Furthermore, the global religious landscape is also changing, and there are interesting comparisons to be drawn for example between the ways in which migration and transnationalism may affect Catholic and Pentecostal parishes as well as the individual faithful in particular geographic contexts. Abstracts for papers on particular case-studies which illustrate dimensions of the diversity of ways in which migration and transnationalism are making their mark on Catholicism are welcome, whether focusing on individual or institutional perspectives globally, with a theological perspective, adopting a comparative approach between contexts or denominations or religions, and using qualitative or quantitative methods. There is no charge for the workshop but we are unable to offer any support for travel and accommodation. Please send abstracts (200 words + title), together with your name, position, institutional affiliation and discipline to Dominic Pasura ( and Marta Bivand Erdal ( by 15 November 2014.Decisions about selected abstracts will be communicated by 1 December 2014. All participants will be expected to submit full papers of 7 000 – 9 000 words, including references, no later than 15 February 2015.




Ph.d. Course: Comparative Studies in Migration and Memory

Read more at:




Gwynyth Overland, Eugene Guribye, Birgit Lie 2014, Nordic work with traumatized refugees, Cambridge Scholars publishing

The Nordic welfare societies have been described as ‘beacons of light’ in work with refugees, with their emphasis on egalitarian and extensive benefit levels, wealth redistribution, promotion of gender equality and maximisation of labour force participation. Members of the population benefit from free education, universal healthcare and public services, that provides an elaborate social safety net. The conditions seem favourable for refugees exposed to severely traumatic events in countries of origin and in flight who have come to rest in the safe havens of the Nordic countries. But has society really done what it could and should in the field of refugee mental health? Read more:


Helena Vilaça et al. 2014. The Changing Soul of Europe: Religions and Migrations in Northern and Southern Europe, Ashgate

This book paves the way for a more enlarged discussion on religion and migration phenomena in countries of Northern and Southern Europe. From a comparative perspective, these are regions with very different religious traditions and different historical State/Church relations. Although official religion persisted longer in Nordic Protestant countries than in South Mediterranean countries, levels of secularization are higher. In the last decades, both Northern and Southern Europe have received strong flows of newcomers. From this perspective, the book presents through various theoretical lenses and empirical researches the impact mobility and consequent religious transnationalism have on multiple aspects of culture and social life in societies where the religious landscapes are increasingly diverse. Read more:


Karen Cristensen and Ingrid Guldvisk 2014, Migrant care workers searching for new horizons, Ashgate

In this beautifully-argued book, Karen Cristensen and Ingrid Guldvik provide a comparatively-based insight to the historical context for public care work and show how migration policies, general welfare and long-term care policies (including the cash-for-care schemes) as well as cultural differences in values in the UK and Norway set the context for how migrant care workers can realise their individual life projects. Through viewing migrants as individuals who actively construct their lives within the options and conditions they are given at any time, they bring to the discussion an awareness of what might be called ‘a new type of migrant’ one who is neither a victim of the divide between the global north and the global south, nor someone leaving family behind, but individuals using care work as a part of their own life project of potential self-improvement. Read more:


Nasar Meer 2014, Key concepts in Race and Ethnicity, Sage publications.

This book offers an accessible discussion of both foundational and novel concepts in the study of race and ethnicity. Each account will help readers become familiar with how long standing and contemporary arguments within race and ethnicity studies contribute to our understanding of social and political life more broadly.  Read more:


Phillip Connor 2014, Immigrant Faith: Patterns of Immigrant Religion in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe, NYU Press

Drawing on census data and other surveys, including data sources from several countries and statistical data from thousands of immigrant interviews, the volume provides a concise overview of immigrant religion. It sheds light on whether religion shapes the choice of destination for migrants, if immigrants are more or less religious after migrating, if religious immigrants have an easier adjustment, or if religious migrants tend to fare better or worse economically than non-religious migrants. Read more:


Sindre Bangstad 2014 - Andres Breivik and the rise of Islamophobia, Zed Books

In this book 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. Read more:


Vally Lytra 2014, When Greeks and Turks Meet: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Relationship Since 1923, Ashgate

This book addresses a gap in the scholarly literature by bringing together specialists from different disciplinary traditions - history, sociology, anthropology, linguistics, literature, ethnomusicology and international relations, so as to examine the relationship between Greeks and Turks, as well as between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, since the founding of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. Read more:


NOVA Rapport: Barn i asylsaker.

Evaluering og kartlegging av hvordan barns situasjon blir belyst i Utlendingsnemndas saksbehandling, herunder høring av barn av Elisabeth Gording Stang, Hilde Lidén.

Vårt hovedspørsmål i dette prosjektet var «hvordan klarer flyktningene overgangen fra hjemlandet til livet i Norge”? Noen av utfordringene er tydeligere enn andre: Overgangen tar tid og er krevende, Tilpasningen til et nytt økonomisk system. Transnasjonale liv og norske nettverk. Foreldreskap og oppdragelse. Last ned elektronisk versjon av publikasjonen (gratis): Ferdig transforskrapport.pdf. Les mer:


Evaluering av forbudet mot kjøp av seksuelle tjenester:

Vista Analyse har på oppdrag fra Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet evaluert forbudet mot kjøp av seksuelle tjenester. Evalueringen hevder at prostitusjonsomfanget i Norge er redusert. Les mer:


Asylsøkere, Ulovlig opphold og kriminalitet: Et marginalt problem

Med dette prosjektet har UDI ønsket å styrke kunnskapsgrunnlaget om i hvilken grad utlendinger og asylsøkere er representert i det norske kriminalitetsbildet, og slik bidra til en faktabasert debatt. Rapporten er utført av Oxford Research i samarbeid med stipendiat Sigmund Book Mohn.

Les mer:




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