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Call for panel proposals: 3rd Transnational Mobility-Development Conference

29-30 November 2018, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

2018.09.03 | Jon Bendixen

Life phases matter: new imaginaries of transnational mobilities

Younger and older people move for different reasons and in different ways in our mobile world. Transnational mobilities shape distinct life phases of both the migrant and of those whose lives are linked and changed by these mobilities. More young people are projected to become mobile as the Global South will have a larger share of younger population compared to the Global North. This demographic dividend is not always productively channeled to contribute to the benefit of the society as many of these countries lack the infrastructure to support, train and nurture human capital. People left-behind are usually those who are not able to migrate or those are not allowed to migrate. Age, health and socioeconomic position create either barriers/opportunities for moving/staying.

Young people are often caught at the intersections of education, career, family and peer pressures. Transnational mobilities for these youth could be a way of escaping oppressive, patriarchal, and heteronormative structures. For the more mid-life phase migrants their decisions for onward or return transnational mobilities depend on their intersectional lived experiences of inclusion/exclusion, care for significant others and changing geopolitical connections - such as Brexit. For more senior migrants, the desire or need to stay or move for care and/or to take care of their families is not always straight-forward. Return, onward and circular transnational mobilities at different life phases, both voluntary and forced, need to be further theorized taking into account the changing porosity of borders, privileged corridors and the agency of the migrants.

Theorizations around transnationalism have largely examined identity, family-relations and remittance-behaviour. In this conference we encourage participants to bring in alternative theorisations that will broaden our focus and provide new insights. One of these alternatives could be the concept in social imaginaries. Imaginaries broadly defined as culturally shared and socially transmitted representational assemblages that interact with people’s personal imaginings and are used as meaning-making devices (Salazar 2014, p124). These imaginaries could help us make sense of mobilities, and their implications for development. We need to also experiment and innovate with new methodologies to capture the nuances of these imaginaries of mobilities.  

The Transmobilities-Development conference thus encourages network members to focus on new imaginaries of mobilities taking into account life phases and diversities. We invite network members to develop panel proposals (+/- 400 words) on the following/related issues:

  • Youth, mobilities and lived inequalities
  • Privileged corridors and skilled mobilities
  • Dynamics of student mobilities and precarity
  • Life phase, life choices and transnational mobilities
  • The role of imaginaries in processes of forced displacement
  • Methodological innovation in migration and mobility research
  • Ageing, mobilities and transnationalism
  • Place attachment and belonging across life phases
  • Life phases mobilities: implications for development
  • Governing imaginaries of mobilities

Please send your panel proposals (rationale +/- 400 words, with abstracts of confirmed papers welcome but not a must) to: Ajay Bailey (a.bailey@uu.nl) or Maggi Leung (W.H.M.Leung@uu.nl) or Gery Nijenhuis (G.Nijenhuis@uu.nl) by 1st September. In the same week the organising committee will make a selection.

Registration for the conference is free-of-charge. Participants are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation costs.