Utrecht University: The Focus Area Migration and Societal Change funds four Special Interest Groups

This spring four Special Interest Groups have been awarded funding from the Focus Area Migration and Societal Change. All SIGs bring scholars form various faculties and disciplines together to work on one common topic. A wide variety in topics has been chosen and we proudly present the four selected SIGs to you. Congratulations to all the SIGs!

Special Interest Groups
This Special Interest Group (SIG) aims to apply migration as a discursive category and incite productive discussions on various cultural and artistic topics that are closely tied to migration, including but not limited to transculturality, multiple modernities, art historiographies, gender fluidity, cultural identities and communal affiliations, digital technology, and social media. It suggests that contemporary art and visual culture bear the responsibility to restore the relations between people and offer possibilities of constructing more tolerant and inclusive communities. Regarding this, the SIG looks into the artistic and cultural interventions in the contemporary world in terms of political aesthetics, affective studies, feminism and queer studies, media studies, post-colonial reflections and ethico-political responsibilities, therefore extending contemporary art and visual culture into the embodied experiences that challenge the established sensory ordering and query the hierarchic regimes.

Citizenship and Immigrant Integration
The Special Interest Group ‘Citizenship and immigrant integration’ aims to establish an interdisciplinary network for studying the role of citizenship, and naturalization, in particular for mobility patterns, integration outcomes and life course developments from a long-term perspective. Within its network it wants to focus on the role of citizenship acquisition as well as the impact of non-citizenship (e.g., irregular migration, undocumented or stateless migrants). The complexity of this topic calls for an interdisciplinary approach. By linking the expertise of different disciplines (social sciences, history, human geography, political science, economics, law) the SIG aims to arrive at a more robust and comprehensive understanding of the role of naturalization in immigrant life courses.

Reception of the Russia – Ukraine war refugees in Europe
In order to explain how these dynamics of solidarity and securitization in the field of migration are shaped around the Russia – Ukraine conflict zone, this Special Interest Groups will explore several objectives of the stakeholders, in particular the experiences of oppositional parties. Therefore, this SIG aims to explore the cultural, religious, economic, and geopolitical aspects that shape the relationship between arrivals and host communities in the case of the Russia Ukraine war. The central research question of this SIG is: How can the diZerent dynamics of refugee reception be explained considering the refugees of the Russia Ukraine War in Europe, in particularly in the Eastern European neighboring countries?

The rise of the radical right in Europe: An interdisciplinary approach
From the Austrian Freedom Party to the French Rassemblement national, populist radical right parties (PRRPs), with a strong anti-immigrant rhetoric and ethnic nationalist agenda, have been on the rise across Europe over the past decades. As a result of this development, research on PRRPs has become increasingly popular and widespread. The field, however, also faces challenges and shortcomings that call for novel and interdisciplinary research. The aim of this SIG is to stimulate interdisciplinary research, within and beyond Utrecht University, that addresses the following main research question:
How can the rise and evolvement of populist radical right parties across Europe be explained and what is the role of minority groups in these movements and their electorates?

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