21 February 2018 at 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Symposium: Bordering, everyday racism and the ‘hostile environment’ – The Academy of Social Sciences Study Group on Refugees, Migration and Settlement

Birkbeck College, Malet St, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7HX

Les Back and Shamser Sinha, Goldsmiths University of London:  The politics of waiting: Migration, dead time and freer life

Ben Gidley, Birkbeck University of London: Everyday racism and migration: Researching the material and affective impacts of xeno-racism

Ann Phoenix, Thomas Coram Research Unit UCL: Children, epistemic violence and migration

Nuria Targarona Rifa and Giorgia Dona, University of East London

Chair: Floya Anthias, University of East London

To book seats: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bordering-everyday-racism-and-the-hostile-environment-tickets-42528711521

Listen to the audio and view the slides here.

Abstracts and biographical notes

Les Back and Shamser Sinha: The politics of waiting: Migration, dead time and freer life

This paper examines how understanding migration involves an appreciation of the experience of time in an unfolding life. The debate about belonging is so often coded around those who are seen to ‘really belong’ because they and their kin have put ‘time into’ society.  Migrants by contrast are viewed as itinerant and passing through.  Drawing on research conducted with thirty adult migrants in London over the past ten years we explore the politics of time in the context of the contemporary debate about migration.  We argue that hierarchies of belonging are also accompanied by an ordering of the migrants’ relationship to time. We focus in particular on the experience of waiting as an existential straightjacket that restrains and comes to define life in the migrant city. Through the experiences of our participants we develop an analysis of the temporal-straight jackets or time traps that are produced within the immigration system.  We show how participants in this study struggle to break free from these limitations through developing ‘vitalising strategies’ that help them move out of dead time and a future that is confined by a sense of their lives being ‘on hold’.
Les Back teaches sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. His work attempts to create a sensuous or live sociology committed to searching for new modes of sociological writing and representation. This approach is outlined in his book The Art of Listening (Berg 2007). He also writes journalism and has made documentary films. He has juts completed a book about the experience of young adult migrants in London with Shamser Sinha called Migrant City (published by Routledge later this year).  This book is attempts a sociable sociology that re-design social observation so that participants not only observe their own lives but also become credited authors too.

Ben Gidley: Everyday racism and migration: Researching the material and affective impacts of xeno-racism
This paper explores how social scientists can understand the relationship between public policies and discourses on migration, public attitudes towards migrants and minorities, and everyday experiences of exclusion and conviviality, using the concept of “xeno-racism”, as developed by the late Ambalavaner Sivanandan. The paper will draw on fieldwork in inner South London, and focus in particular on what we can learn from psychosocial and ethnographic approaches.
Ben Gidley is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck, University of London. Previously, he worked at the ESRC Centre for Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford. His most recent book is Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe: A Shared History? with James Renton.

Ann Phoenix: Children, epistemic violence and migration
This talk considers how child migrants are viewed in the European/’minority world’ imaginary and will discuss the theoretical relevance of epistemic violence to migration, particularly in relation to unaccompanied minors.
Ann Phoenix is professor of psychosocial studies at Thomas Coram Research Unit, Department of Social Sciences, UCL Institute of Education.  From 2016-8 she is the Jane & Aatos Erkko Professor at the Helsinki University Collegium for Advanced Studies.

Floya Anthias is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Roehampton, and a Visiting Professor at City University and the University of East London.My main academic writings have explored the intersections of social divisions and identities, different forms of stratification, and how inequalities and belongings interconnect. I have led a number of EU funded research projects on migration related areas including employment, gender, education and ‘integration’. Some of my recent work has been developing a translocational lens and the concept of translocational positionality as a way of addressing some of the difficulties identified with concepts of identity and intersectionality. My books include Woman Nation State, Palgrave, Racialised Boundaries: nation, race, ethnicity, colour and class and the anti-racist struggle, Routledge, Ethnicity, Class, Gender and Migration, Greek Cypriots in Britain, Ashgate, Gender and Migration in Southern Europe, Berg, Into the Margins: Migration and Exclusion in Southern Europe, Ashgate,Rethinking Anti-racisms, Routledge, Paradoxes of Integration: Female Migrant in Europe, Springer, Contesting Integration, Engendering Migration, Palgrave, and Work and the Challenges of Belonging, Cambridge Scholars Publishing.