Migration Governance: New Koinova Monograph and a Workshop in November

Migration governance constitutes one of the Centre's four policy fields. Research in this field has produced insights and output for some time. A special issue of the Third World Quarterly this year on ‘New Actors and Contested Architectures in Global Migration Governance’ was guest edited by scholars affiliated with the Centre and drew on workshops conducted here. GCR21 Associate Senior Fellow Maria Koinova, a professor in International Relations at the University of Warwick, has recently contributed a highly interesting monograph to the literature: Diaspora Entrepreneurs and Contested States  develops a novel understanding of diaspora entrepreneurs based on their linkages to de facto states and various global contexts. Together with Volker Heins, Policy Convener for Migration Governance at the Centre, Koinova now invites contributions to a workshop in November which focuses on the 'Governance of Transit and Irregular Migration'. In what follows, we provide impressions from a first reading of her book and publish a call for the workshop.

Koinova is interested in conflict-generated diasporas and how the affected people mobilize towards their countries of origin during experiences of contested sovereignty. Socio-spatial linkages, as they emerge in the process, can be understood as resulting from the pursuit of homeland-oriented goals through channels of interest. Koinova’s empirical results come after years of research and close contact with diaspora entrepreneurs in the UK, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, and France. She distinguishes four types of entrepreneurs:

  • The Broker (strong linkages: host-land, original homeland, global locations)
  • The Local (strong linkage: host-land, weaker: original homeland, global locations)
  • The Distant (strong linkage: original homeland, weaker: host-land, global locations)
  • The Reserved (weaker linkages: host-land, original homeland, global locations)

In 2012-2017, she conducted more than 300 interviews in the UK, Sweden, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Armenia, Belgium, Kosovo, and Switzerland. Her study looks closely into conflict-generated diasporas linked to the de facto states (original homelands of) Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Palestine at different stages of recognition. In passing, this work also integrates the study of fragile statehood with that of migrants’ incorporation and transnationalism.

Reviewing the literature she wants to overcome a dichotomous view of diasporas as either ‘peace-makers’ or ‘peace-wreckers’. A narrowed view of the researchers seems to be causal for this. The affiliation of actors to trans-national, global contexts is crucial here.

Diasporas mobilize not simply in host-lands, but online, and in cities, refugee camps, supranational organizations, sites of global visibility, and spaces contiguous to or distant from the homeland.

Koinova is convinced that ' a deep immersion in the individual dimension of diaspora entrepreneurs is missing', and her study digs deeply in this direction. It is this individual dimension that finally unveils global inclinations.

Maria Koinova has written a novel text: the first book 'to theorize about diaspora individual agency from a socio-spatial perspective by prioritizing linkages to global contexts over personal characteristics'.


Governing Transit and Irregular Migration: Formal Policies and Informal Practices

International Workshop
Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21)
University of Duisburg-Essen
8–9 November, 2021

Co-organized by Prof. Maria Koinova (Professor in International Relations, PAIS, University of Warwick/Associate Senior Fellow, KHK/GCR21) and Prof. Volker Heins (Professor of Political Science, University of Duisburg-Essen, Senior Researcher, KHK/GCR21)

Call for Papers, full text, pdf

From the Workshop Outline

This workshop seeks to move debates on transit and irregular migration beyond mobility, securitization, and criticism to Euro-centric perspectives.

The emphasis here is to capture the conglomeration of formal policies and informal practices that co-exist and form governance architectures. Scholarship is often too eager to look mainly into official policies of governments, international organizations, and more recently NGOs, but not into the informal practices of governance that arise through or together with non-state actors. Since transit and irregular migration occurs in many parts of the world where state institutions are weak and corruption is rampant, the actual governance may entail open and informal toleration, even of non-state actors.

The workshop will be conducted over two days, on 8–9 November, 2021. Currently it is planned to take place in person at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research in Duisburg, Germany, with an option for online participation where necessary. The current plan for a blended delivery format would also allow the workshop to flip to an online format, should the pandemic situation require.

Professors Koinova and Heins plan to publish papers from this workshop in a journal special issue.

Please send abstracts of your papers to the organizers by 5 September, 2021 at m.koinova@warwick.ac.uk and volker.heins@uni-due.de. Decisions about participation will be made by 10 September, 2021.