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Re-emerging Topics in Interdisciplinary Migration Research: The impact of the big challenges „climate change“ and „new technologies“ on migratory patterns and their links with social policies (TU Berlin)

Our conference invites papers that address long existing, by now re-emerging issues in migration research by adopting an interdisciplinary approach. Here we provide a brief summary of the identified challenges that seem to go beyond the present canon of migration research:
Field Nr. 1, Climate Change and Migration: In 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change put the topic of migration at centre stage in the 7th chapter of its report. Like the IOM’s World Migration Report of the same year, it pointed to the increasing relevance of slow-onset environmental events for migratory patterns. Beyond the increasing academic and governmental attention, an extremely hot and dry summer in Europe and the floodings in Pakistan underscore the need to grapple even more intensively with environmental degradation and changing mobility patterns. By now, the scientific community divides itself, again, into those scholars that present alarmist scenarios pointing to the dangers of uncontrolled mass-migration, and those that claim that migration may be the best adaptation strategy to cope with climate change. Four sub-topics are of special interest here: 1. the complexities in understanding the relationship between climate change and migration; 2. the blind spots in research on the situation in the Global North; 3. the risks associated with the implementation of climate-related infrastructures for vulnerabilities; and 4. the role of immobilities when it comes to coping with climate change.
Field Nr. 2, New Technologies, Migration and the Future of Work: In the past decade we saw that digitalisation and the use of new technologies were high on the political agenda of many countries. Still, empirical research on the impact of new ways of structuring the world of work has yet to come – especially when including migrant work and changing mobility patterns. Indeed, the relationship between new technologies and migration comes in different guises as new technologies begin to touch many aspects of migrants’ lives. We invite papers that focus on: 1. the effects of matching tools and algorithms for work allocation in segments of the labour markets characterized by a high share of migrant work, 2. the consequences of highly mobile forms of work, e.g. digital nomads, for the organisation of social policies, 3. platform work and connectivity, and 4. datafication and surveillance in the organisation of (migrant) work.
Field Nr. 3, Transnational Social Policies. The above sketched big challenges have implicit as well as explicit consequences for the design of national social policies and for the regulation of work. Most countries design their social policies for resident citizens. Often, social security systems are neatly tied to nationally organised labour markets and administrated by bureaucratic logics that sometimes date back to the 19th century. With flexibilization and the cross-country-cutting formats of work, large enterprises have increasingly taken over the soft regulation of the degree of protection or precarity that goes along with more mobile work. The increasing number of individuals in need of temporary work and protection, such as refugees or climate-related migrants, calls for more fluid social policies. A rethinking of national social policies no longer can avoid acknowledging the role of more mobile forms of capital and labour. In addition, policies aimed at recruiting skilled migrant workers must consider a confusing variety of bi- and multi-lateral agreements and transnational constellations of providing social security.
Starting from the existing nups-network at TU Berlin, the conference will bring together scholars already conducting research or planning to do so in these three fields of knowledge. We invite colleagues from academia and NGOs as well as early-career scholars to present their works in progress. We encourage the presentation of empirical research findings. The aim of the conference is to bring together international scholars with an interest in the social policy dimension of migration research and to develop a research agenda that is forward-thinking and innovative.
Expression of interest/Abstracts (250 – 400 words) due: 10.12.2022
Information about acceptance: 20.12.2022
Draft of the papers due (2.500 words): 25.02.2023
Prof. Dr. Felicitas Hillmann, Sophie Sommerfeld, M.A. & Helen Nyama Boahen, B.A.
Please send your expression of interest/abstracts to:
Please contact us in case you need more information:,


Here you can download the PDF version of this CfP:


02. - 03. Mrz. 2023


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