CfP 16th Annual IMISCOE Conference June 26-28, 2019 Malmö University, Sweden

Contesting Local Asylum – Transatlantic Perspectives

In the passing years and specifically since the last US presidential election and the so-called ‘European Refugee Crisis’, asylum and the rights of forced migrants are under stress. US and the European member states’ asylum laws and reception practices as well as narratives on asylum seeking people also have changed dramatically. The development of restrictive asylum legislation narrows access to forms of asylum and state protection. In the face of increased detention, bordering, punishment and deportation practices, local actors, legal advocates and migrant organizations have implemented approaches and support structures to contest these federal anti-immigration and “zero tolerance” policies.

This panel focuses on the structures and forms of governing forced migration on the local level in North American and European localities. This session seeks contributions which study policies and practices of local institutions and organizations that address the needs of asylum seekers and refugees after arrival, preferably in a transatlantic comparison. This includes research on the position of localities in immigrant-unfriendly national environments and studies on current conflicts between federal anti-immigration politics and progressive responses of local actors. It also seeks papers which theoretically and/or empirically examine the process of arrival on the local level, including reflections of the reception situation from the forced migrants’ perspectives.

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

–       The mesh of relations, interactions and negotiations of governmental, administrative, political and civil society actors, which shape the arrival of asylum seekers and refugees

–       The trajectories of forced migrants’ pre-arrival, during arrival and post-arrival and their dealings with the arrival process

–       The role of non-governmental organizations and agencies in the support of forced migrants

–       Socio-spatial infrastructures of the arrival and integration in North American and European cities

–       Bordering practices in metropolitan regions (airports, ports, etc.)

–       Detention practices and the role of detention during the arrival process

–       Sanctuary policies and their (in)importance for the needs of forced migrants

–       (Re-)scaling of forced migration and the positioning of the local level

–       Theoretical frameworks to study the situation of forced migrants in cities

–       Changing demographics and race relations in arrival cities & neighborhoods

–       Comparative analysis of local arrival structures in relation to integration processes

–       Analyzing the local actors’ response to shifting geopolitical environments


If you are interested in participating in the panel please send an abstract of no more than 250 words and your name and affiliation before November 28, 2019 to and We will give a pre-decision on the papers until November 30, 2019. The final decision upon acceptance of the panel is taken by the IMISCOE office in the course of February 2017.

Organizers of the panel:

René Kreichauf, Cosmopolis – Centre for Urban Research, Vrije Universiteit Brussels / Graduate School of North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

Mara Sidney, Department of Political Science, Rutgers University Newark

Jamie Lew, Department of Sociology, Rutgers University Newark


IMISCOE is the largest European network of scholars in the area of migration and integration. The focus is on comparative research and joint research projects. The annual IMISCOE conference is a key-moment in the agendas of most migration scholars in Europe. In addition, IMISCOE contributes to the training of young researchers and their exchange throughout Europe. Also IMISCOE plays an important role in the mutual dialogue between researchers and society (policy, politics, civil society). Read more