Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Migration and Transnationalism

Memories, normative ideals and empathic solidarities in Europe
in the aftermath of refugee arrivals in 2015–16

Humboldt University, 19–20 October 2018

About | Programme | Open Space Debate | Speakers | Registration | Venue


Exploring the politics of emotions that structure the discourses on migration seems most relevant following the countless pro- and anti-refugee movements since the rapid arrival of a large number of refugees in Europe in 2015 and 2016. Thereby the rise of far right nationalistic practices and politics is juxtaposed by the bottom-up movements that signify solidarity with refugees and bring ordinary people to volunteer for refugees in their respective neighbourhoods.
This workshop aims to gain a nuanced understanding of the role of emotions, memories and normative ideals for generating a sense of solidarity with refugees – whether mobilised through volunteering or as more general positive support. While cosmopolitan and humanitarian ideals might drive the practises of solidarity with refugees, this workshop also discusses how anti-refugee rhetoric and violence fuel the "emotional regimes" of anti-immigration discourses that expose the fragility of European political unity, not only amongst the European nations but also within them.
Involving a number of international scholars of different generations and with different disciplinary backgrounds, this workshop interrogates the importance and contingency of local and national contexts to refugee acceptance and tolerance, especially in relation to histories, cultures of memory and psycho-social politics of identity.
To create an interactive and productive platform for the exchange of initial research results this workshop will combine two formats: a conventional conference format with invited lecturers from Germany, Sweden, Poland, Croatia, Hungary and other places, as well as a collaborative format based on the Open Space Debate methodology. For the latter, both young and experienced researchers, together with activists and civil society groups, are invited to initiate collaboration on the questions of memory politics, emotions, and normative regimes in the fields of migration and refugee activism studies and discuss current conceptual, political and methodological challenges of such research.


The KOSMOS Workshop is funded by the Excellence Initiative of Humboldt University of Berlin and organized by Prof. Dr. Magdalena Nowicka, Department of Social Sciences and Berlin Institute on Integration and Migration Research BIM (overall concept), Theresia Turinsky, freelancer (coordination and Open Space Debate) and Stefan Lindemann, Department of Social Sciences (administration).



Mitteilungen des Instituts




Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät
Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Unter den Linden 6
10099 Berlin



Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Universitätsstraße 3b
10117 Berlin