BICC | Call for Abstracts: FFVT Scholarly Workshop “Forced Migration and Dynamics of Political Mobilisation: conceptual approaches, comparative and case studies“

This Workshop invites scholars to look into forced migration from the angle of political mobilisation. Originating from social movement research, mobilisation denotes sustained collective initiatives to bring about or prevent social or political change, operating outside – yet in close interaction with – formal political institutions, whose orientation and leadership they may directly challenge (Khoshneviss & Benford 2017).

With this concept in mind, the Workshop attempts to leave the constraints of policy relevance in refugee studies behind, which have “encouraged researchers to take the categories, concepts and priorities of policy makers and practitioners as their initial frame of reference for identifying their areas of study and formulating research questions” (Bakewell 2008, p. 432; cf. also Stierl 2020).

Political mobilisation focuses on strategic action by individuals or groups towards extending their support base for aims that are directed towards social change (Mayer 1991). The mobilising actors often are ‘authentic’ groups – those affected by discrimination or injustice (Roose 2013; Shadmehr 2014). The angle of mobilisation research hence allows for studies on the agency of individuals and groups under existential pressure, the exploration of the range and limitations of social and/or political engagement, and the change ensuing movements bring about. It also allows for examining cases where actors make efforts to mobilise groups they consider as being affected from injustice to include them in a social movement (Roose 2013).

We invite conceptual contributions as well as case studies to address the question:
Which factors cause political mobilisation in the context of forced migration, and which dynamics and outcomes can be identified?

Workshop contributions may answer some of the following more specific questions:

1. Why and how has political mobilisation occured in societies of origin of large numbers of refugees, and what have been outcomes of mobilisation?

Abstracts may address situations where people managed to flee outside the state’s borders whereas others were displaced internally and/ or engaged politically or in militant groups. Agency and decision-making dynamics, changes over time, political engagement in the original society followed by political mobilisation from exile, violent and non-violent movements are some of the aspects that can be covered here. Resulting changes in

societies and / or politics should be addressed, too.

2. Which factors have led to political mobilisation in societies receiving large numbers of refugees? Who are the actors? Which political processes, dynamics and outcomes can be identified, and (how) are refugees involved?

Here the focus can be on the political mobilisation of exiled groups or among refugees in or outside camps, of anti-refugee movements and/or movements in support of refugees, as well as mobilisation for communal conflict or civilian and armed movements in societies receiving refugees. (Im)mobilisation among second or third-generation migrants whose ancestors had been refugees may also be covered here. Related abstracts should moreover identify changes that mobilisation has brought about.

3. How and where has international political mobilisation been related to forced migration? Which actors, dynamics and outcomes have occurred?

Here research on international social movements referring to refugee protection or against the acceptance of refugees can be presented; approaches could be on opportunity structures, narratives or framing of issues related to forced migration that have led to political mobilisation. The focus should again be on the actors, dynamics, political processes and outcomes of the mobilisation.

Further aspects related to mobilisation in the context of forced migration can be addressed, too, conceptually or based on case studies or comparative analyses.

Submission details:

We kindly invite you to submit an abstract of about 500 words (with contact data and short bio) until 13 September 2021 to the following email address:

We will inform you by 20 September 2021 about acceptance of your abstract. You are then asked to prepare a presentation of about 20 minutes for one of the Workshop panels. It is subject to discussion at the end of the workshop how to proceed with the results. Options could be preparing a special issue or research proposal based on the workshop inputs.

Background of the Workshop:

This Workshop is part of a FFVT Scholarly Workshop series that had started with an Expert Workshop exploring the conceptual intersections between Peace & Conflict Research and Forced Migration & Refugee Studies in April 2020. The workshop series is part of the project “Forced Migration and Refugee Studies: Networking and Knowledge Transfer” (Flucht- und Flüchtlingsforschung: Vernetzung und Transfer, FFVT), which is funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, Germany.

The aim of the joint project of the four partners Bonn peace and conflict research centre BICC, the Centre for Human Rights Erlangen-Nürnberg (CHREN), the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DII) and Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS) at the University of Osnabrück is to strengthen forced migration and refugee research through national and international networking.

You can find more information about the project at

Read the Call for Abstracts online

Source: Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC), 07. September 2021