European Borderlands: Sites of crises and control or sites of resistance and hospitality?

Date 10 - 11 October 2019
Event Organizer Prof. dr. Maartje van der Woude - Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance & Society
Location Leiden Law School, Steenschuur 25, Leiden
5363283059 3Fb5Ee9434 B

Despite the fact that the number of asylum applications in the EU has steeply decreased since the visible of the European migration tragedy in 2015, the sense of crisis around issues of migration is still deeply entrenched in public and political discourse and, most likely, will remain so for the unforeseen future. In many EU member states, nationalism and identity politics have gained ground, and views that used to be broadly criticized as xenophobic have become commonplace. Populist political forces—as well as some mainstream politicians and media outlets—are benefiting from anxieties about migration and doing everything they can to keep them alive. The result seems to be an ever-expanding net of laws and policies aimed at curtailing the freedom of movement for those who are deemed a threat and/or non-belonging.

During this two-day seminar we will discuss the nativist and nationalist shifts in the political (and public) discourse and concrete laws and policies that we see in many European countries. In so doing, we will not so much focus on the content of these laws and policies, but more so on the different ways in which people – native inhabitants of local borderlands, minority groups living in local border lands but also state officials working in local borderlands – have pushed back and mobilized against, or in support of these laws. By looking at the ways in which laws and polices have been contested and by whom and with what result, we will reflect upon the question whether leaving room for contestation in itself is a tool of control contributing to what Longazel & Van der Woude (2013) have called negotiated expansions—that is, the broadening of immigration and border control accomplished when the state or other control-oriented actors anticipate, respond to, or work within movements aimed at curtailing control. A process that often takes place at multiple levels, involve various actors, and relates to the law in diverse ways