AFK-EuPRA – 10: Forced Displacement and Statelessness – More Alternatives to Mainstream

AFK-EuPRA – Panel 10:
Forced Displacement and Statelessness – More Alternatives to Mainstream

This panel aims to look at the phenomenon of forced displacement and statelessness. On one hand, the panel critically discusses how migration is problematized through various lenses such as a problems of integration, security, economy, transnationalism; resulting in a reading of migration with all its ties to conflicts, thereby also underlying (mostly irregular) migration/refugees as a kind of forced displacement which triggers not only governmental but also non-governmental responses. On the other hand, it scrutinizes statelessness which is often a result of major conflicts and ensuing sudden population movements such as forced displacement. While forced displacement in the form of migration and refugees garner lot of attention, although a normative framework of statelessness exists, the attention on this phenomenon is rather low. In this vein, alternatives to mainstream are also visited to debate whether major issues that relate to marginalization, intolerance and exclusion of non-Western cultures and ideas are in place by juxtaposing such alternative ideas with the mainstream ideas of the West while dealing with forced displacement and statelessness.

Chair: Unto Vesa (University of Tampere, Finland)


Viktorija Ratković (University of Klagenfurt, Austria): Peace Research Meets Migration Research: Proposing Peace Logical Migration Research

In this paper, the perspectives of (Critical) Migration Research and (Critical) Peace and Conflict Research on migration are discussed, compared and combined with the goal of proposing a ‘Peace Logical Migration Research’ (‘Friedenslogische Migrationsforschung’). First of all, hegemonial discourses on migration (in German speaking countries) are problematized, as they either describe migration as a problem (of integration and/or of security) or as an economical resource that should be managed. Second of all, critical perspectives are taken into consideration, e.g. the concept of transnationalism that focuses on migrants’ transnational practices and networks and defines those as acts of resistance against restrictive (and often deadly) migration politics. Subsequently, the tendency of Peace and Conflict Research to mainly discuss migration either as a consequence of conflicts and/or a cause of conflicts is problematized as by doing so, migration appears to be mainly linked to conflicts.

Taking into consideration Ulrike Krause’s (2015) and Hanne Birckenbach’s (2015) deliberations on ‘Peace Logical protection of refugees’ (‘Friedenslogischer Flüchtlingsschutz’) on the one hand and Richard Jackson’s (2015) elaborations on the need of embracing conflicts and resistance in order to facilitate peace on the other hand, the concept of a migration research that is infused with Critical Peace and Conflict Research is presented. I argue that ‘Peace Logical Migration Research’ should e.g. explicitly aim at creating a more peaceful world and consciously seek for and explore examples of instances of peaceful conviviality.

Anthony Ssembatya (Leipzig University, Germany): Citizenship and Statelessness: A Comparative Study of Uganda and Kenya

According to the 1954 Statelessness Convention, a person is considered ‘stateless’ if he or she is ‘not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law’. UNHCR estimates that there are at least 10 million people in this situation globally, though the lack of reliable ways of establishing that someone is stateless and gaps in reporting make this figure only a rough estimate. The implications of statelessness are huge, especially where there is no other documentation available. There are two aspects to combatting statelessness. This can be seen in the names of the two Conventions. The 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons offered a way to identify people as stateless and suggested a range of rights and protections that should come with a recognition of such status, using the same logic as the Refugee Status. The 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness instead provided measures directed at reducing the incidence of statelessness, through birth registration, and a default to assigning citizenship based on where someone is born (jus soli) in cases where citizenship is not clear, for example. The two-pronged approach of recognizing stateless persons and stopping people from being stateless is crucial in the campaign to minimize the difficulties of statelessness.

On the other hand; Conflicting nationality laws are one of numerous causes of statelessness. Nationality is usually acquired through one of two modes:

  • Jus soli („right of the soil“) denotes a regime by which nationality is acquired through birth on the territory of the state. This is common in the Americas.
  • Jus sanguinis („right of blood“) is a regime by which nationality is acquired through descent, usually from a parent who is a national.

This paper will seek to analyse the laws and scholarly literature on Uganda and Kenya, make a comparative analysis, surrounding their citizenship and stateless status. The paper will critique circumstances when one has the ability to confer, acquire, change and retain nationality. These 2 countries being strategic actors in the Great lakes region, provides a chance to address issues of fragility, conflict and violence which may arise from the status of the residents in the respective countries. The study will draw insights from Global Scholarly literature on the issue of Citizenship and Statelessness and relate it to Africa, in particular Uganda and Kenya.

Sybille Reinke de Buitrago (University of Hamburg, Germany): Western Hegemony and the Value of Non-Western Ideas of Peace: Borders, Discourse and Practices in the Current Refugee Crisis

Much of today’s conflicts and challenges, globally and locally, can be in part attributed to or are influenced by the hegemony of Western over non-Western cultures and politics. Long-standing and still reproduced Western dominance and power are directed at the protection of own interests, thereby re-creating power imbalances, inequalities and practices of exclusion. This Western dominance does not only come with effects of exclusion and violence, part and parcel we also find a deep-rooted marginalization of non-Western ideas. Such Western ethnocentrism and inherent biases cloud and distort our understanding of other, non-Western perspectives, including perspectives that can be beneficial to peace and constructive, cooperative interactions.

This paper – presented in form of PechaKucha – will attempt to illustrate key issues in the discourses and practices of marginalization, intolerance and exclusion towards non-Western cultures and ideas, and how this creates difference and otherness between the Western self and the non-Western other. Coming from a critical geopolitics and poststructuralist perspective, it will discuss developments regarding the externalization of border control practices and the securitization of borders in the current refugee crisis. It will speak on the role of spatial constructions, practices and the constitutive impact of particular discourses in this crisis, as well as their effects regarding a constructive and humane handling of the crisis. Furthermore, by posing the question of what we in the West can learn from non-Western perspectives, the paper will attempt to enlighten our Western concepts with non-Western ideas of peace coming from the Asian, Latin American and Islamic contexts. A final part is aimed at showing how we may integrate or join Western and non-Western ideas of peace, and how we may implement this in conducting our research more critically, reflexively and inclusively.

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