Over the border. Social movements and refugees

SISP General Conference

Milan, 15-17 September 2016


Panel: Over the border. Social movements and refugees

Chairs: Lorenzo Zamponi and Donatella della Porta

Since 2015, a rising number of refugees made the journey to the European Union to seek asylum, traveling across the Mediterranean Sea or through Southeast Europe. According to Eurostat, EU member states received over 1.2 million first time asylum applications in 2015, a number more than double that of the previous year. This unprecedented phenomenon triggered a series of events and processes in different domains: at the EU level, policies went from attempts to address the humanitarian crisis and the dramatic number of deaths at sea to measures aiming to fight human smuggling and to negotiate with Turkey to reduce the inflow; some countries proposed to suspend the Schengen Treaty and re-establish internal border controls; radical right forces proposed emergency measures to “defend the borders” throughout the continent, sometimes gaining hegemony on the whole political field and dramatically influencing the policies of mainstream parties. At the grassroots level, a wide set of actions and initiatives were proposed in solidarity with refugees in many countries and at the transnational level.

This panel aims to focus on these cases from the point of view of social movement studies and of the sociology of migration. We invite papers focusing their analysis on the development of counter-hegemonic frames and social coalitions during critical junctures, on mobilizations in support of refugees, on those by refugees themselves, on the protests developing in the various territories involved in the migration flows from the South to the North of Europe that cut across the Balkans and Eastern European Countries up to Northern Europe with particular attention to the period 2013-2017, on the interaction of these events with the economic crisis, on their representation in the public discourse, on their impact on party politics.

We invite papers aiming at addressing, both from theoretical and empirical perspectives, these issues and others regarding the refugee crisis and its relationship with collective action.