APPEL A COMMUNICATIONS : “The (un)deserving migrant? Interrogating non-conventional bordering practices in the European space”, Late Spring 2019, Paris – LIMITE : 28/02/2019

Informations pratiques

  • Late Spring 2019
  • Lieu: Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris
  • Organisatrices : Nina Sahraoui ( , European University Institute et Nora Ratzmann (, London School of Economics
  • Date limite : 28 février 2019


In the context of growing anti-immigration sentiment across the EU as well as media portrayal of the post-2015 rise in arrivals as a “migration crisis”, studying the multifaceted dimensions of migration control is key to understand how emerging bordering practices spread beyond traditional immigration policy fields; and yet these questions remain under-researched (Eule, 2018). The practices of social agents in the fields of health, social policy, education or labour market integration are arguably increasingly entangled with judgements of deservingness, reflecting ultimately how a myriad of social actors formulate and act upon judgements which (dis)enable migrant groups to settle and participate meaningfully in their host society.

This research initiative explores the continuum of internal bordering within the European context. The workshop will discuss processes of inclusion and exclusion migrants are subjected to within cities, regions and national polities of the EU. We bring together a focus on bordering practices and a critical examination on the formation of deservingness judgements. The workshop aims at a comparative analysis of internal bordering practices across a range of social policy fields overlooked in classical approaches to migration governance, which have mostly examined processes of regulating entry and residency. Instead, we will explore latent and manifest bordering practices in education, health, social security, and labour market policy, and discuss emerging conceptualizations of such acts of bordering through policy practice. This research collaboration further aims at examining how the figure of the (un)deserving migrant is understood and constructed in a range of social policy fields which traditionally do not fall into the area of migration control.

We invite contributions that build on empirical case studies and engage with street-level bureaucracy (Lipsky, 1980) across disciplines. Relevant theoretical frames include, but are not limited to: the notion of spaces of asymmetrical negotiation (Eule, Loher and Wyss, 2018), differential inclusion (Mezzadra and Neilson, 2013), boundary making (Lamont, 2002, 2014, 2015), van Oorshot’s criteria of the social legitimacy of access (2008), the workings of deservingness frames (Chauvin and Garcés-Mascareñas, 2014), and the conceptualization of the notion of control (or lack thereof) as deservingness criteria (Spencer, 2016; Jensen and Petersen, 2017).

Several papers have already been selected for this initiative as a result of a collaboration between the WZB (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung) and the FMSH (Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris). We are particularly keen on receiving case studies set in France, Spain, Greece or Italy.

Authors of selected papers will be invited to present their contribution at the Collège d’Etudes Mondiales, Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, in Paris in late spring (travel and accommodation expenses will be covered for). We intend to set the exact date collectively, if possible. Full-length papers will be circulated a week prior to the workshop and assigned a referent discussant. A special issue proposal will be submitted following the workshop to a peer-reviewed journal.

To submit a paper proposal, send an abstract (500 words) and a short bio (150 words) to Nina Sahraoui ( and Nora Ratzmann ( by February, 28th, 2019.Please make sure that your abstract clearly includes:

1) The contextual information of your empirical case study;

2) Your theoretical frames (including references);

3) The research question;

4) How your data was collected and analysed;

5) Your main argument(s).



Chauvin, Sébastien and Blanca Garcés-Mascareñas (2014) Becoming Less Illegal: Deservingness Frames and Undocumented Migrant Incorporation. Sociology Compass8/4: 422–432.

Eule, Tobias G. (2018) The (surprising?) nonchalance of migration control agents, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 44:16, 2780-2795.

Eule, Tobias G., Loher, David & Wyss, Anna (2018) Contested control at the margins of the state, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 44:16, 2717-2729.

Jensen, Carsten and Petersen, Michael Bang (2017) The Deservingness Heuristic and the Politics of Health Care.  American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 61, No. 1, Pp. 68–83.

Lamont, Michèle; Molnár, Virág (2002) The Study of Boundaries in the Social Sciences. In Annu. Rev. Sociol. 28 (1), pp. 167-195.

Lamont, Michèle (2014) Reflections inspired by Ethnic Boundary Making. Institutions, Power, Networks by Andreas Wimmer. In Ethnic and Racial Studies 37 (5), pp. 814-819

Lamont, Michèle (2015) Symbolic Boundaries. In James D. Wright (Ed.): International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences. Second edition. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Lipsky, Michael (1980) Street-Level Bureaucracy – Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Services. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Mezzadra, Sandro and Neilson, Brett (2013): Border as method, or, the multiplication of labor. Durham: Duke University Press.

Spencer, Sarah (2016) Postcode Lottery for Europe’s Undocumented Children: Unravelling an Uneven Geography of Entitlements in the European Union American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 60(13), 1613–1628.

van Oorschot, Wim (2008): Solidarity towards immigrants in European welfare states. In International Journal of Social Welfare 17 (1), pp. 3-14.