The End of Migration as We Know It: Studying and Opposing Regimes of Dehumanization with Nina Glick Schiller

Wednesday May 15, 2024
9:30 AM - 11:00 AM

In-Person Registration Closed

In-person registration has ended, but you can still sign up below to join the keynote presentation online.

CMS is thrilled to welcome Prof. Nina Glick Schiller as the in-person keynote speaker for the CMS International Research Conference 2024.

Her hybrid talk, “The End of Migration as We Know It: Studying and Opposing Regimes of Dehumanization,” will explore how today’s intense anti-migration politics are producing the end of migration as we have known it and the emergence of migration regimes of rightless labour and permanent transience.

Many of the central concepts in migration scholarship and policy formation – integration, assimilation, ethnic communities- multiculturalism, pluralism, transnationalism – have focused on contexts that allowed people to enter a nation-state in which they were not born, settle, and obtain full rights and protection from their new state. However, the intense anti-migration politics of the present day are producing the end of migration as we know it and the emergence of migration regimes of rightless labour and permanent transience. Most migrants, whether they are classified as contract workers or asylum seekers, do lawful or off-the-books low-wage labour and become the object of labour extraction. In Brenda Yeoh’s terms, these migrants exist in states of “permanent temporariness.” Similarly, Robin Cohen speaks of the global emergence of a class of helots – beings without rights, including a right to be considered part of humanity. These migrants, although they are vital to the well-being of global corporations and the citizens of nation-states, are never able to settle permanently; their mobility, even outside of their workplace, is increasingly curtailed. In response to this transformation, Michiel Bass and I have called on migration scholars and activists to study and halt the processes of dehumanization through which rights to move, settle and obtain citizenship are being eliminated. We have proposed four foundational prepositions to speak to the transformation of migration regimes: (1) Current migration scholarship is mired in theories about migration that reflect past regimes, infrastructures and legalities; (2) Current migration regimes are eliminating the right to settle; (3) The end of migration as we know it goes hand in hand with the growth of a migration industry that facilitates “mobility” across borders for a profit; (4) Hope can be found in social movements that support migrants’ rights to settlement and transnationality.

Nina Glick Schiller is Emeritus Professor, University of Manchester, UK and University of New Hampshire, USA, founding editor of Identities and co-editor of Anthropological Theory. Her research topics include urbanism, urban regeneration, transnational migration, migration services, migration and development, critiques of methodological nationalism and the ethnic lens, racialization and power, dispossession and displacement, cosmopolitan sociability, and the construction of risk. She has conducted research in Haiti, the USA, the UK, and Germany.

Her books include Nations Unbound: Transnational Projects, Postcolonial Predicaments and the Deterritorialized Nation-StatesTowards a Transnational Perspective on Migration: Race, Class, Ethnicity, and Nationalism Reconsidered,  Georges Woke Up Laughing: Long Distance Nationalism and the Search for HomeBeyond Methodological Nationalism: Research Methodologies for Cross-Border Studies, Cosmopolitan Sociability: Locating Transnational Religious and Diasporic Networks, Whose Cosmopolitanism? Critical Perspectives, Relationalities and Discontent, Regimes of Mobility: Imaginaries and Relationalities of Power, Locating Migration: Rescaling Cities and Migrants; and Migrants and City Making: Dispossession, Displacement and Urban Regeneration.

This talk is presented as part of the CMS International Research Conference 2024, which will take place on Wednesday, May 15, and Thursday, May 16, 2024.