Norms and Values in the European Migration and Refugee Crisis

NoVaMigra’s Final Conference “The Boundaries of Cosmopolitan Europe” and Policy-Roundtable “On Norms and Values in Europe’s Migration and Refugee Policy – The Way Forward” will take place from 3-5 May 2021. For details and registration, see here.

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Final Conference

Refugees and Religious Tolerance in Europe:
Plurality of Perspectives

April 21st 2021
14.00-17.30 CET
Online workshop

Please register:

Facilitating Religious Tolerance and Interfaith Dialogue in Local Communities
Izabella Main, Elżbieta M. Goździak, and Izabela Kujawa

Religion took center stage in the recent ‘refugee crisis’ in Europe. In the increasingly secularized Europe, religion, paradoxically, has gained or regained significance in many policy and public debates. Using our empirical research, we discuss the use of religion to other refugees and migrants and present the efforts informed by religious and secular values to solidarize with and assist refugees and migrants in Poland and in Hungary. We also debate the ways, in which religious tolerance is part of the imaginaries and experiences of refugees based in Turkey and those who are in the process of resettlement from Turkey to the EU.

Izabella Main, Elżbieta M. Goździak, and Izabela Kujawa are affiliated with the Center for Migration Studies at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland. They are part of the NOVAMIGRA research team.

Contested Conversions and the Production of Belief
Annelise Reid

The increased number of refugees seeking asylum in Europe since 2015 brought an increase in asylum claims based on conversion to Christianity. Many of these converts are Persian speaking refugees from Iran and Afghanistan. The entanglement of conversion with asylum has brought to the fore issues of what counts as a `sincere conversion.’ The (re)definition of what counts as religious conversion is meant to separate the `deserving’ refugees from the `undeserving’ economic migrants. In the process of defining these categories, the Dutch Immigration Services (IND) engages with academic and religious specialists. These discussions result in a Protestant framing of religion and conversion and lead to particular policies and regulations. Knowledge about religion is transferred to asylum case managers in the form of policy documents, workshops and meetings. As a response to the asymmetrical relationship between the IND and those claiming asylum, refugees learn to narrate their experiences in ways that resonate with the IND’s framework. However, as my empirical research shows, the lived realities of refugees are often much more complex. In my presentation, I focus on the ways particular definitions of religious conversion emerge at the level of the IND and how they affect refugees’ lived experiences and shape how asylum is negotiated.

Annelise Reid is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Utrecht University.

Mere Tolerance Instead of Political Equality. The Fortification of Majority Cultures as a Challenge to Freedom of Religion
Christoph Baumgartner

In this presentation, I explore how the democratic ideal of freedom of religion is put under pressure in the context of political controversies about migration and refugees. Despite the significant unchurching of societies like Germany and the Netherlands, right-wing political parties and civil society organizations have mobilized Christianity to push back the public presence of Islam. The culturalization and heritagization of this process plays an important role. I argue that freedom of religion replaced by an understanding of religious tolerance hampers social inclusion and political equality of all members of democratic and religiously pluralistic societies.

Christoph Baumgartner is Associate Professor of Ethics at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Utrecht University.

Refugees and Religion – Mobilizing Theory
Birgit Meyer

In this presentation, I will introduce some basic ideas from the volume Refugees and Religion (edited by Peter van der Veer and myself). First, I will problematize the framing of the arrival of refugees and migrants in terms of a ‘crisis’ and situate this arrival in a longer history of the production and accommodation of refugees of different faiths in Europe. Second, I will discuss the tensions that arise between national frameworks aimed at accommodating refugees and long-standing patterns of coexistence, on the one hand, and the ways in which religion transcends such regulations. Thirdly, I will ask how to mobilize theory in order to transcend the sedentary categories that still ground social analysis of people on the move.

Birgit Meyer is professor of Religious Studies at Utrecht University where she chairs the research project Religious Matters in an Entangled World

This workshop, part of the NOVAMIGRA project, is co-organized by the Center for Migration Studies (CeBaM) in Poznan, Poland and Utrecht University’s Focus Area ‘Migration and Societal Change’.

This workshop is organized as part of the NOVAMIGRA project, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 770330.

IMISCOE PhD Lead Workshop on Norms and Values:
April 28th – 29th 2021


This is a call for panels to the 2021 PhD Lead Workshop on Norms and Values, organized by the Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM), held online via Zoom on April 28th-29th.

Owing to societal transformations at an increasingly high pace, norms and values have taken centre stage in many contemporary political debates and social subjectivities. As society transforms, so does the diffusion, transmission, and education of norms and values. Many social science disciplines have explicitly and implicitly engaged in these debates and done profound work to inform our understanding of these transformations. However, definitions and usages of these salient analytical concepts vary across the social sciences and can become conflated or vague. Keeping analytical diversity in mind, the workshop aims to gather individuals from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds to discuss the study of norms and values within their work.

The current call for panels extends an invitation to PhD students across the globe who work with norms and/or values in their doctoral project. Our goal is to provide PhD students with an opportunity to discuss their work with an academic audience in order to share and develop understanding of the role of norms and values in the social sciences. Panels can be both empirical and/or theoretical in nature.

Panel proposals relating to institutions, society and/or migration in the social sciences are welcome. We particularly encourage panel proposals concerning the following topics:

• Ethnic Relations
• International migration and mobility
• Integration
• Nationalism
• Citizenship
• EU policy
• Asymmetric partnership between states
• Norms as a ‘weapon of the weak’ and everyday politics

If you are a PhD candidate and interested in organising and convening a panel, please submit a proposal by October 1, 2020. The proposal should present your idea in no more than 300 words, as well as your name, title, affiliation and topic of dissertation. All proposals will be considered by the organising committee, and selected panel organisers will be notified by November 1st, 2020. Abstract calls will come at the beginning of 2021. Each panel organiser will select the participants themselves, and will also decide on the format of the panel (discussants, full papers, etc.).

Key dates:

• Panel proposal submission deadline: November 1st, – 2020
• Notification sent to panel organizers: December 1st, – 2020
• Abstracts submission deadline: February 1th – 2021
• Final submission of papers April 1st – 2021
• Workshops held on zoom: online via zoom on April 28th -29th – 2021

If you have any questions regarding the workshop or potential panel topics, please contact the organisers at or

This workshop is organised by the IMISCOE funded research initiative on norms and values in migration and integration (NOVAMI) in collaboration with the H2020 project NoVaMigra (Norms and Values in the European Migration and Refugee Crisis) as well as the research schools of Global Politics and International Migration and Ethnic Relations (IMER) at Malmö University.

The organising committee consists of:
Caroline Adolfsson
Johan Ekstedt

Advisory committee:
Brigitte Suter
Ingrid Jerve Ramsøy
Michael Strange

Please send applications to Caroline Adolfsson ( and Johan Ekstedt (

View PDF

Peer-to-Peer Spring School: Values in an imperfect world – Migration ethics and non-ideal conditions

25-27 May 2021, online via Zoom

NoVaMigra’s Peer-to-Peer Spring School intends to take stock and debate the merits of different conceptions of non-ideal conditions in migration ethics. We aim to give junior scholars the opportunity to present their work to peers in 1-hour discussion sessions, asking each participant to either submit a (draft) paper before the workshop or to prepare a comment on another participant’s paper. Papers may include working papers, papers recently published or submitted for publication, or PhD chapters. As in the call for applications below, we invite a wide reading of “non-ideal conditions” for the purposes of an open, interdisciplinary debate.

Peer-to-peer debate will be supplemented by discussions of papers and works in progress by senior scholars in the field, including Eszter Kollar (Leuven) and Leila Hadj-Abdou (Vienna), David Owen (Southhampton) and Andreas Niederberger (Duisburg-Essen).

We invite submissions from all related academic fields, including political and moral philosophy, political theory and political science, migration studies, sociology and legal theory.

Possible topics include:

o Migration ethics and feasibility: Does a normative theory of migration need to be politically feasible, and what would that mean?

o Migration ethics and political legitimacy: What do we gain from taking legitimacy, rather than justice, as the central value in a normative theory of migration?

o De-colonial perspectives on migration ethics: In what respect should colonial legacy figure in a normative theory of migration?

o Migration ethics and international law: International migration law has evolved considerably in recent decades – to what extent should non-ideal theories in migration ethics take that into account?

o Migration ethics and securitization: Do changing technologies and practices of border security pose new questions to migration ethics?

o Migration ethics and mixed migration: Should we keep up the distinction between refugees and other immigrants?

o Methodological debates: Is the distinction between non-ideal and ideal theory helpful at all in the migration context? Or should we drop these concepts and think about real-world circumstances in different terms?

To apply for participation, please send an e-mail to therese.herrmann[at], specifying your interest in the field and indicating whether you would like to submit a paper or prepare a comment. For papers, please send an abstract of 300 words. Application is possible until 28 Mar 2021.

To enable peer to peer discussion, participants are asked to submit their (draft) papers in mid-May and to join in discussions for the duration of the Spring School.

See here for more information: NoVaMigra Spring School – Norms and Values in an Imperfect World.pdf


NoVaMigra’s Final Conference “The Boundaries of Cosmopolitan Europe” and Policy-Roundtable “On Norms and Values in Europe’s Migration and Refugee Policy – The Way Forward” will take place from 3-5 May 2021. For details and registration, see here.

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