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Seminar Series on Migration Ethnicity and Race

Lent Term 2019

Organised by the Department of Social Policy and the III

This seminar provides the opportunity for those researching race, ethnicity and migration from across the LSE to share their interests and get peer feedback through presentations and discussion. The seminar series will involve occasional external speakers as well as internal presenters. It brings together both qualitative and quantitative researchers, and those approaching the topics of race, ethnicity and migration from a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. It is also intended to provide the opportunity for PhD students with interests in these areas to participate in a community of interest and experience perspectives and approaches from outside their own topic and discipline.  The seminars are open to staff and students from across the LSE. 

All talks are held on Wednesdays from 12.15-1.15pm in Fawcett House (FAW), 9th Floor, Room 9.05 

Past Events 2019 


Reconfiguring notions of whiteness among Latin American migrants in London and Madrid
Dr. Ana Gutierrez

 20th March, Dr. Ana Gutierrez (University of Oxford, Department of Anthropology)

Listeb to podcast here 

In Latin America race plays a fundamental role in the process whereby people position themselves and others within the social pyramid. This is reflected in the fact that those who belong to the elite are white, while the poor and the working class are considered black or indigenous. These racial identifications are intertwined with class identification and the traits that compose one’s social class: dress, language, occupation, education and place of residence. While working with Latin American migrants in London and Madrid, I encountered some vestiges of these ideologies and witnessed the intertwinement that persists between race, race mixture, and class among my informants. Although migrants try to use any hint of whiteness in order to differentiate themselves from other non-white migrants, they find themselves struggling to sustain their middle-class aspirations – deeply influenced by white racial (Eurocentric) attachments and identifications - within precarious lives. Migration presents itself as a paradox that affects not only economic dreams, but previous racial and class identifications. 

Ana Gutierrez specialises in migration, labour, gender, morality and personhood. She received her PhD in Anthropology from the London School of Economics in 2014. She is a departmental lecturer at the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at Oxford University and a Visiting Fellow at the Anthropology Department at the LSE. Her doctoral research was an in-depth ethnography of a group of middle-class women from Latin America who exchange care and intimacy for money while working as domestic and sex workers in London. Illuminating the complexities of care work, her research offers a detailed study of women’s lives and working conditions. It considers how their experience of migration and intimate labour is one of rupture that both enables and forces them to gradually reconstitute themselves, in their host cities, as people quite distinct from their “normal” selves back home. 

Identity, Citizenship and Kin Majorities: Crimea and Moldova from the Bottom-Up
Dr Ellie Knott 

6th March, Dr Ellie Knott (LSE Department of Methodology) 

Watch podcast here 

Why are so many Moldovans acquiring Romanian citizenship? How did people in Crimea identify with and engage with Russia before annexation in 2014? This talk brings together these two topics and cases to explore the intersections of identity and citizenship across borders. This talk is situated within the field of kin-state politics and analyses how individuals who are claimed as co-ethnic, such as Russians in Crimea and Romanians/Moldovans in Moldova, understand their identification and engage via citizenship and quasi-citizenship with their respective kin-states, Russia and Romania. In particular, in this talk I examine the empirics of the cases of Crimea and Moldova within a theoretical and methodological discussion to show how and why I study the intersections of the meanings of identification and practices of citizenship. I argue that it is important to move beyond state-centred and institutional understandings of citizenship and towards studying how individuals and communities on the ground engage with kin-states across borders.

Eleanor Knott is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Methodology at the London School of Economics, UK. She has published in Perspectives on Politics (forthcoming), Journal of Ethnic and Migration StudiesCitizenship Studies and Democratization, among others. She is currently working on a book manuscript comparing kin-state politics from the bottom-up in Crimea and Moldova.


Migration, Mixed Marriages and Children’s Noncitizenship in Sabah, Malaysia
Dr Catherine Allerton

27th February, Dr Catherine Allerton (LSE Department of Anthropology)

In Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the East Malaysian state of Sabah, many children live in families of ‘mixed’ ethnicity, forged through the co-presence in the city of Filipino and Indonesian refugees and migrants. This paper will consider how mixed marriages have particular consequences for children who have been born across borders, in a country where their parents are considered only ‘temporary’ workers. Many mixed ethnicities are unique to Sabah, a product of specific histories of migration to the state. As such, they tend to root children to Sabah as a place, rather than to either parent’s sending context. However, this form of cultural citizenship is often not matched by corresponding legal citizenship, since children of migrants, even if born in Sabah, are excluded from government schooling and healthcare. The paper explores how children’s unique experiences of exclusion and noncitizenship not only reflect specific histories of immigration regulations in Malaysia, but also coexist with wider forms of cultural belonging in Sabah.

Dr Catherine Allerton is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology. Her research is broadly concerned with place-making and family-making in island Southeast Asia. Her current writing projects draw on a year of child-focused ethnographic research in the East Malaysian city of Kota Kinabalu, and explore issues of statelessness, noncitizenship, illegality and exclusion/ belonging amongst children of migrants.

‘Ccà semo, here we are. Lives on hold in Lampedusa’
A short film screening and discussion with Dr Michela Franceschelli

6 February, Dr  Michela Franceschelli (Department of Sociology, UCL)

Watch podcast here 

The seminar will involve the screening of the short film documentary – ‘Ccà semo, here we are.  Lives on hold in Lampedusa’, followed by Q&A. This documentary was produced as part of the dissemination of a research study carried out by Michela Franceschelli (Global migration in the Mediterranean Sea and the local lives of Lampedusa), which aimed to explore the effects of global migration on local communities, drawing on an in-depth case study on the Italian island of Lampedusa. The film is directed by the Italian filmmaker Luca Vullo.

Lampedusa - Italy’s most southerly territory at 205 km off the coast of Sicily - is the first port of arrival to Europe for the thousands attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. As the number of incoming migrants has increased throughout the years, the island has turned from a mere tourist destination to a site of increasing public and media attention, with images that reify and broadcast contradictory representations of the local community of islanders. Hence, Lampedusa has been presented through these contradictions, depicted either as the island of hospitality - exemplified by the provision of essential support to migrants and campaigns for their rights - or as a site of hostility which in its context has acquired a specific meaning and has been addressed to specific actors, particularly the ‘absent Italian state’.

Michela Franceschelli is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Sociology at UCL. Her research focuses on the influences of migration, culture and social inequalities on experiences of growing up, transitions to adulthood, identity formation and intergenerational dynamics. Her current work looks at the effects of migration on the life course of EU migrants. She is also interested in mixed-methods and visual methods.  Her monograph ‘Identity and Upbringing in South Asian Muslim Families’ is published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Infinite difference, limited recognition: Digital makings of the city of refuge
Prof Myria Georgiou (LSE Department of Media & Communications)

23 January,  Prof Myria Georgiou (LSE Department of Media & Communications)

Watch podcast here 

This presentation examines whether the city can become a city of refuge, that is, one that recognises newcomers’ agency and rights as humans but also as citizens-in-the-making. Drawing from research in Athens, Berlin and London at the aftermath of Europe’s “migration crisis”, the paper shows that cities of refuge emerge as hopeful but fragile urban ethico-political projects. More specifically, the city sometimes offers migrants and refugees recognition as humans and as citizens-in-the-making that the nation denies. Yet, and while recognition becomes possible in the city, it remains contested by the order of neoliberal nationalism. Neoliberal nationalism, as “the spectre over the city”, procreates an urban order (Sennett 1970) of marketized, securitised and surveilled cities that delimit rights and freedom (Kitchin 2016; Spencer 2016). As this order is reaffirmed, but also resisted on the material and digital street (Lane 2018), it becomes apparent that critical struggles for the present and future of cities as spaces of freedom or control unfold on the street and in response to the double requirement for recognition set by the ethos and socio-cultural order of neoliberal nationalism.

Myria Georgiou is Professor of Media and Communications at the Department of Media and Communications, LSE. Her research focuses on media and the city; urban technologies and politics of connection; and the ways in which migration and diaspora are politically, culturally and morally constituted in the context of mediation. She is the author of Diaspora, identity and the media (2006, Hampton Press); Media and the city: Cosmopolitanism and difference (2013, Polity Press); and she is currently working on a book on the life and order of the digital city. 


Past Events 2018

Migrant Margins: Brutal borders and edge economies
Dr Suzanne Hall, Department of Sociology, LSE

6 December, Dr. Suzanne Hall, Department of Sociology, LSE

The ‘migrant margins’ emerges in the intersection of global migration and urban marginalisation. Focusing on livelihoods forged by migrants on four peripheral streets in the edge territories of Birmingham, Bristol, Leicester and Manchester, I draw on face-to-face surveys with self-employed proprietors. Despite significant variables amongst proprietors, these individuals had all become traders on streets in marginalised parts of UK cities, and I address whether ‘race’ matters more than class for how certain groups become emplaced in the city. Narratives of inequality and racism feature prominently in the proprietors’ accounts of where they settled in the city and what limited forms of work are available in the urban margins. Yet as significant to proprietors’ experiences of trade are repertoires of entrepreneurial agility and cross-cultural exchange. Through the concept of the ‘migrant margins’ I explore the overlap of human capacities and structural discrimination that spans the margins of global and urban space. I combine urban sociological understandings of ‘race’ and inequality with fluid understandings of makeshift city-making that have emerged in post-colonial urban studies. Such combinations encourage connections between the histories and geographies of how people and places become bordered, together with practices of edge economies that are both marginal and transgressive.

Suzanne Hall is an urban ethnographer and has practised as an architect in South Africa. She is Co-director of the Cities Programme and Associate Professor in Sociology at the LSE. Suzi’s research and teaching interests explore intersections of global migration and urban marginalisation in the context of inequality, discrimination and resistance. Her research focuses on the street life of brutal borders, migrant economies and urban multi-culture. The research engages with streets in deprived and culturally diverse parts of UK cities including: the ‘Ordinary Streets’ project based in south London (supported by an LSE Cities Fellowship), and the ‘Super-diverse Streets’ project based in Birmingham, Bristol, Leicester and Manchester (funded by an ESRC Future Research Leader’s award, ES/L009560/1). Suzi’s recent project on the ‘Migrant Margins’ is based in South Africa, and brings into dialogue urban sociologies of ‘race’ and postcolonial approaches to city-making in urban studies. Suzi is recipient of a Philip Leverhulme Prize 2017, an LSE Teaching Award, the Robert McKenzie PhD prize, and the Rome Scholarship in Architecture.


Racism's Reach
Dr Coretta Phillips, Department of Social Policy, LSE

22 November, Dr. Coretta Phillips, Department of Social Policy, LSE 

This paper sketches an analytical framework to conceptualise the way racial power and socio-economic precarity impacts the everyday lives of young minority ethnic Londoners. Using data from life histories, photo-elicitation and vignettes, it aims to elucidate the pains of racism and economic marginalisation using and extending the notions of measurement (depthbreadthlooseness and tightness) drawn from Crewe’s (2011) conceptualisation of the contemporary pains of imprisonment. While there is no intention to imply a straightforward parallel between systems of penal power and racial power, the commonalities in the feelings evoked and the lives lived are stark in their affect and effect. s here


Uncertain citizenship: Everyday practices of Bolivian migrants in Chile
Dr Megan Ryburn, LSE Latin American and Caribbean Centre

November, Dr. Megan Ryburn, LSE Latin American and Caribbean Centre 8 

Listen to podcast here 

Uncertain Citizenship explores how Bolivian migrants to Chile experience citizenship in their daily lives. Intraregional migration is on the rise in Latin America and challenges how citizenship in the region is understood and experienced. In response to this, and drawing on multi-sited ethnographic research, the book develops the idea of transnational spaces of citizenship. It explores how migrants are both included in and excluded from these spaces across borders, considering how these inclusions and exclusions are mediated by migrants’ social identities, such as gender, race, and class. As they navigate movement and migration through these spaces, many individuals occupy a state of uncertain citizenship.

Megan is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the LSE Latin American and Caribbean Centre. From 2015-2018, she was an LSE Fellow in Human Geography in the Department of Geography and Environment. She obtained her PhD in Geography from Queen Mary University of London and her MPhil in Latin American Studies at the University of Cambridge. She carried out her BA (Hons) at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Her work has focused on migration and citizenship, and increasingly addresses violence and borders. Megan’s current British Academy project is provisionally entitled ‘Navigating borderlands: Colombian migrant women in Chile and experiences of violence’.

The Impact of Immigration on Natives’ Fertility: Evidence from Syrians in Turkey
Dr Berkay Özcan, Department of Social Policy, LSE

25 October, Dr. Berkay Özcan, Department of Social Policy, LSE

Listen to podcast here 

The discussion on whether immigration can solve the problems of population aging often focus on the fertility of immigrants. Additionally, standard projections often consider the impact of migration on population growth but assume that the natives’ fertility does not change in response to migration. By contrast, we show that the native fertility is affected by immigration. We use the Syrian mass migration to specific Turkish provinces shortly after the 2011 civil war as an exogenous source of variation in exposure to immigration and show that natives’ fertility in the affected provinces increased relative to the provinces that are less affected. Our findings are consistent across fertility measures both at the aggregate and individual levels. We provide further analyses to test four potential mechanisms and to show heterogeneity in the fertility response by population subgroups. We find that the labor market-related factors and social interactions can plausibly explain the increase in natives’ fertility.

Dr Berkay Ozcan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Policy. He is a social and economic demographer working at the intersection between family processes (divorce, marriage and fertility) and child and economic outcomes (savings, labour supply and type) to understand social stratification. Much of his work is inherently interdisciplinary, cutting across research in demography, population economics, and sociology.  His published research can be found in internationally prominent journals of all three disciplines, such as Annual Review of Sociology, Proceedings of National Academy of Science (PNAS), Demography, Journal of Human Resources, European Economic Review, among others. 

Multiple generation mobility among European Turks and non-migrant Turks in Turkey
Dr Ayse Guveli, Department of Sociology, University of Essex

11 October, Dr. Ayse Guveli, Department of Sociology, University of Essex

Intergenerational social mobility is a longstanding research topic and a reoccurring measure for equal opportunities in our societies. High levels of social mobility decrease social inequalities and fuel equal opportunities. Recently, the impact of grandparents’ social class has gained extensive attention among stratification scholars, but research is still rare in international migration literature. Do descendants of migrants benefit from migration in obtaining better occupational status? This research focuses on three to four generation social mobility among Turkish origin Europeans and their non-migrant comparators in Turkey by analysing the original 2000 Families dataset, including about 20,000 adults in Western European countries and Turkey. Our preliminary findings show that migrants were positively selected on social mobility. That is, they were more likely to have different job than their parent before they migrated to Europe compared to those who never left Turkey. We find that social reproduction is stronger among non-migrants in Turkey than those in Europe.

Dr Ayse Guveli is a Reader in the Department of Sociology at the University of Essex. Her research focuses on social stratification and mobility, international migration, religion, families and quantitative research methods. Her most important research, the 2000 Families, aims to reveal the persisting impact of migration on migrants and their multigenerational descendants in origin and destination countries.