Organisers | Umut Korkut and James Foley

How does macro-discourse of the political elite on increasing external migration to the EU affect everyday micro-deliberations and projections over the course of Europeanization? Departing from the need for opening up space for ethnographical and geographical research to understand the impact of international relations on everyday deliberations on migration, current research needs to depict how macro politics of migration to the European Union is forging audiences among the citizenry. In effect, we need to break out of the existing categories of Europhile, Eurosceptical, Euroreject, but look into everyday deliberations on Europeanisation within the frame of migration politics and the audiences these politics generate. This panel traces the geography, identity, culture, and gender elements that could affect the nature of such deliberations.

Europeanisation literature dates back to the 1990s, particularly concentrating on informing the accession processes of new EU Member States and Turkey. This literature adopted a particularly institutionalist approach and macro-political outlook on the course of Europeanisation. There has been an identity element essential to this research as well, though it has concentrated on macro- identities of that accession states vied to present, rather than how Europeanisation clashed and conflicted with micro-identities. The identity focus in this literature presented Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland as the most ready Europeanisers, given their Central European geography, culture, history and alike (Korkut 2012). Yet, we in fact see that particularly Poland and Hungary have become the most problematic EU members with Czech Republic replicating the independence rhetoric of the Tory party in the UK. Recently, there is a shift in Europeanisation research to understand identity politics in a more succinct way in effect to various crises, which foregrounds how identity contributed to further politicisation of Euro and Schengen crises (Borzel and Risse 2017). Yet, even this frame of Europeanisation still does not reach out to the micro-level. In response to these literatures, our oanel traces how identity reconfigurations at this level is in fact the space where Europeanisation is debated, deliberated, and negotiated vis-à-vis the local, regional, and national identities of the public.

Therefore, we are proposing a discussion on how international relations around the “migration crisis” that the EU faces reach out and are deliberated at the micro-level embedded in everyday politics. This micro-level perspective entails a look at different spatial contexts from large cities with a lot of migration experience to rural or border areas which are often unexperienced when it comes to the presence of migrants and their integration. In doing so, we emphasize the role of social space in the interplay between elite discourses and micro-level deliberations. In this attempt, we are also theoretically interested in the audience making potential of current narratives on migration and how they correlate or clash with the micro-debates on international relations informed again by migration.

Chair: James Foley - Discussant: Umut Korkut

abstracts & bios

Looking Back to See Beyond: Human mobility rights’ legacies in the evolution and potentialities of the EU’s ‘free movement of persons’

Cristina Blanco Sío-López, University of Groningen

This paper critically analyses the role of the multilevel European Union (EU) institutions' players in articulating differential resilient responses to evolving modes of exclusion since the inception of the Schengen Area in 1985. Furthermore, it aims to recover empowering historical critiques towards the so-called 'Schengen Laboratory' which could be relevant today to find inclusive ways of responding to the asylum and migration external dimension challenges currently being posed with regards to the EU free movement of persons. More particularly, this paper focuses on the interplay between the free movement of persons and the crucial issue of migration. In this respect, it addresses the European institutions' proposals to constructively integrate third country forced migrants in the Community with a view to outlining changing notions of positive societal impact in periods characterised by crises and demands for systemic change. In a similar vein, it also tackles the European institutions' evolving positions towards the neglecting of the solidarity and diversity dimensions of European integration as part of different asylum crises. This contribution is based on a comparative approach to EU inter-institutional relations taking the European Parliament (EP) and the European Commission (EC) as paradigmatic observatories. This dual-track enquiry on EP and EC sources is based on archival research at the Historical Archives of the European Union in Florence, the Historical Archives of the European Parliament in Luxembourg and the European Parliament Research Services, etc. These sources also include a large set of Oral History interviews conducted with key decision-makers at the European institutions on the differential sources and effects of introducing the ‘free movement of persons’ as part of the Schengen era.


Cristina Blanco Sío-López is Assistant Professor in European Culture and Politics at the University of Groningen. From September 2019 she will be EU Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow and Principal Investigator (PI) of the research project ‘Navigating Schengen: Historical Challenges and Potentialities of the EU’s Free Movement of Persons, 1985-2015’ (NAVSCHEN) at the European Studies Center (ESC) – EU Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence (JMEUCE) of the University of Pittsburgh for the next two years to then join the Ca' Foscari University of Venice. She previously was Santander Senior Fellow at the European Studies Centre (ESC) – St. Antony’s College of the University of Oxford, where she remains a Senior Member.

The Production of “New Scots”: Welcome Cultures, Nation Branding and Anti-Racist Strategies

Marcus Nicholson, Glasgow Caledonian University

This article investigates the complex relationship between official welcome cultures, nation branding and the experience of racism. Recent critical scholarship on racism and migration has focused on themes of (authoritarian) populism, where political entrepreneurs have appealed to “the people”, promising them greater sovereignty and control over borders, migration and national identity. Our aim was to look at the impact of an opposing scenario. In the United Kingdom, the devolved Scottish Government has pursued what can be conceived as, formally speaking, the opposite of a populist strategy, seeking to incorporate expert opinion and civil society leadership in a top-down idea of an open, inclusive national identity. A series of programmes and political discourses have promoted Scotland as a welcoming place, often with an implicit contrast to other parts of the UK. We argue for developing a critical stance on the impact of this. Firstly, we ask the question of whether differences in macro-level national identity discourses manifest themselves in micro-level racist behaviours. Secondly, we then examine how intermediary actors in civil society respond to and are incorporated into the government discourse. Thirdly, we look at how micro-level actors incorporate the discourse of Scotland as a welcoming culture into their everyday narratives, sometimes to the point of excluding their own experiences of racism. Fourthly, we ask what mechanisms have been designed to link the broad macro discourse of inclusion to everyday behaviours. We find that the measurable difference in behaviours between Scotland and comparable countries is not significant; that, in some circumstances, the depoliticised discourse of inclusive Scotland has made it harder to challenge everyday racism; that micro-level actors feel the compulsion to integrate to “Scottish” behaviours, especially in terms of accent; and that government programmes have not designed sufficiently robust mechanisms to link official good intentions to institutional behaviour changes.


Marcus Nicolson is Project Manager of the AMIF-funded VOLPOWER project at Glasgow Caledonian University. Marcus is a PhD candidate and his research interests include country branding, ontological (in)security, narrative building and identity negotiation processes in the Scottish context. His study examines the relationship between civic nationalist discourse and the lived experiences of migrant-background young adults in Glasgow. Marcus’ investigation will contrast the inclusive representation of ‘Scottishness’ at the macro-level with the everyday of the participant group at the micro-level to understand how young adults negotiate their identities.

Legal Categories in Europe and the Psychology of Inclusion / Exclusion

Magdalena Smieszek, Central European University

The phenomena of crises, identity politics, polarization and cognitive dissonance in European policies concerning migration could use some psychoanalysis. Taking an interdisciplinary approach that draws on both legal and social psychology scholarship, the paper will explore legal categorization in Europe by examining the social psychological underpinnings of laws that distinguish rights of humans placed in the categories of citizens and non-citizens within the European Union legal frameworks. Laws with a purpose of inclusion and exclusion that rely on categories, such as European citizenship and asylum, have a psychological source and impact that is both direct and far-reaching. Legal categories of citizen, European citizen, and non-citizen (many, but the focus here is on asylum-seeker, refugee, beneficiary of international protection) are based on mental evaluations that involve giving of value to human beings via status recognition and provision of rights. This process is largely identity-based and psychological because it involves emotionally laden positive and negative assessments that result in either social inclusion or exclusion via legal categories. The categories are hierarchical based on this evaluation and the content of rights with the result that social and economic rights are attached in a discriminatory manner as extensions of these positive/ negative and inclusionary/ exclusionary psychological evaluations. A cross-fertilization of conceptual approaches allows for a deeper understanding and updated articulation of rights of citizens and non-citizens within the European Union that can from there makes way for possible reformulations of policies both at the micro and macro levels.


Magdalena Smieszek is a human rights practitioner, researcher and educator. She has worked around the world with various international organizations, including a decade with the United Nations, primarily with UNHCR but also IOM and UNDP. Recent teaching was at Al Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences in East Jerusalem as a visiting professor. In addition to doctoral work at the Central European University on human rights in migration governance in Europe, she has completed degrees focused on international law at universities of Oxford, Windsor and Calgary. One of her latest projects is a podcast series called How We Are Human.

 (Re)negotiating Europeanisation in Poland: Discourse on Migration and Conflicting Visions of Europe

Justyna Szalanska, University of Warsaw

The paper aims to present the Polish discourse on migration and its production and or/reproduction of conflicting visions of the European Union. The main objective is to present what are the perspectives on visions and roles of the European Union negotiated through the prism of the discourse on migration to Europe. The paper is based on the preliminary results of studies on Conflicting Europeanisation in Poland as part of the Horizon 2020 project RESPOND. The analysed timespan is from 2011, the year of the outbreak of war in Syria, to 2018, dictated by the commencing of the project. The discourse of migration in Poland begun in 2015, what was an effect of the so called ‘refugee crisis’ (or ‘migration crisis’) in Europe coinciding with the electoral campaign before the parliamentary elections in Poland. The discourse was triggered not so much by the influx of refugees to Poland, which was minimal in numbers, but by the European debate on relocation quotas of refugees among the EU Member States. Although there were debates on migration, refugees’ admission and the principle of solidarity before 2015, their publicity was of minor significance. I will present the map of the Polish rival political actors reflecting on Shorthouse and Kirkby’s (2015) categorizations: social conservatism, social liberalism, economic conservatism, and economic liberalism. Basing on the mentioned clusters I will use the public claims analysis in order to present how political actors identify themselves and the entities they represent in terms of political ideology and their parties’ stance towards migration and the European Union. In the next step, with a method of media discourse analysis I will examine how elite discourse on increasing external migration to the EU is framed in Polish media.


Justyna Szalanska is a Researcher at the Centre for Migration Research at the University of Warsaw, where she works on the RESPOND project. Besides, she is pursuing her PhD at the Faculty of Political Sciences and International Studies at the University of Warsaw, Poland. Her PhD dissertation focuses on a category of national identity and its materialization in Turkey’s foreign policy. In 2014 she was awarded TUBITAK Scholarship for Foreign Researchers in Turkey, hence from November 2014 until May 2015 she was a Research Fellow at the Center of International and European Research at the Kadir Has University (Turkey). Her research interests focus on European integration, identity issues in Turkey and Europe, citizenship policies and refugees and asylum seekers protection policies. Ms Szalanska is also a co-author of a short documentary on refugee perception in Poland ‘Bez komentarza’ (‘Without a comment’) produced by museum POLIN (2016).

From Euroscepticism to Conflicting Europeanisation: Anti-Migration Discourses of Europe after the “Refugee Crisis”

James Foley, Glasgow Caledonian University

This paper aims to capture the variety of anti-migration reactions to the question of Europe, focusing specifically on narratives of increasing external migration to the EU and drawing on multi-country data analysis from RESPOND. Conventionally, Europeanisation has referred to the normative ideal of advanced Europe and its transformative impact on the domestic policy and practice of peripheral nations. In this context, parties that explicitly oppose multiculturalism, “openness” and migration, and are thus opposed to this shared European imaginary, are often cast either as Eurosceptics or Euro-rejects. I argue that this fails to capture the complexity of contemporary political alignments. While Brexit clearly belongs explicitly in the sceptical or rejectionist category, the rise of conservative-nationalist parties in Europe has had an uneven impact on the idea of Europe, with many supporting the existence of the EU, further economic integration, and the concept of “Europe”, but framing these around hard external borders and a white-Christian European demos, presenting a “clash of civilisations” narrative. This rival framing has grown significantly on the European periphery, particularly in nations that form European borders, but it has an increasingly transnational character and has shifted political discourse in the core of the European system. The result is that, while the outright Euroscepticism and rejectionism remain marginal movements, there is growing prospect of endogenous ideological changes, and the hardening of existing “fortress Europe” policies. Moreover, although the rise of populism and the imaginary of the “refugee crisis” has undoubtedly precipitated a shifting balance of forces, I will also examine how this closed idea of “Europe” was already implicit in much of pre-2011 mainstream politics.


James Foley received his PhD from the University of Edinburgh, with his doctoral research focusing on Scottish and British nationalism. Having worked in public policy, he has recently joined the RESPOND project at Glasgow Caledonian University. His postdoctoral research work has focused on the variety of populist and nationalist responses after the financial crisis of 2008.