Norms and Values in the European Migration and Refugee Crisis

The program for our conference on “Migration and European Cosmopolitanism: A Critical Assessment”, which takes place on 27-28 May in Paris, is now online! You can find it here.

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Migration and European Cosmopolitanism: A Critical Assessment

May 27-28, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne

Organization: NoVaMigra, University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne (ISJPS), KU Leuven (Center for Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy)

The conference program is now online (see below)!

As part of the H2020 NoVaMigra project, this international conference will examine the topic of migration in relation to European cosmopolitanism from various perspectives in social, political, legal philosophy.

Cosmopolitanism rests on the basic idea that humans’ political standing should not depend on their cultural and national membership, but reflect their moral status as human beings. In the 1990s and 2000s, many have considered the EU and European political culture to foreshadow a supranational cosmopolitan polity or, at least, to offer an exemplary case of cosmopolitanism in the making. However, strong populist and xenophobic reactions to the influx of economic migrants and asylum seekers in the last decade has cast serious doubts on such a view of the EU and its Avantgarde role for a post-national age. The 2015 crisis has also contributed to reactivating values and ideas opposed to cosmopolitanism (such as unrestricted national sovereignty, cultural integrity, and the criminalization of solidarity) and to raising skepticism regarding the ability of the EU to live up to the requirements of a cosmopolitan order (solidarity, protection of human dignity, openness to diversity, toleration).

This conference will draw from various approaches in social, political and legal philosophy to assess the extent to which the EU’s answer to contemporary global migration patterns reflects cosmopolitan values and commitments. It also seeks to discuss what could be a model of a cosmopolitan Europe in an era marked by global migratory fluxes.

We are especially interested in contributions addressing the following issues:

Is there a EU approach to human rights?

What has been the role of the ECHR and other EU institutions in protecting migrants’ human rights? How can European values help interpreting the human rights of migrants and the responsibilities of the EU and its member states with regard to migrants and asylum seekers?

European solidarity and migration

How is solidarity between member states and between EU citizens and foreigners conceived in the wake of the migrant and refugee ‘crisis’? What is the nature of the obstacles to solidarity and what are the potential avenues for strengthening solidarity in the EU? What are the sources of solidarity in Europe? Does the EU draw on exclusionary characteristics (its secular/Christian character) to nurture solidarity?

Cooperation in the EU and migration

Has the EU been successful in promoting cooperation among member states in the domain of migration and integration policy? To which extent should migration and integration be viewed as European competences? What is the nature of interdependence and of social cooperation with regard to migration? How can the EU fairly allocate responsibilities to provide asylum?

How should we understand horizontal intergovernmental relations (between member states) and vertical (between member states and the EU) intergovernmental relations regarding migration policies?

To which extent has the EU been able to empower local and subnational actors (cities, associations, regional governments) driven by cosmopolitan values and engaged in migrants’ inclusion and settlement?

A European Cosmopolitanism?

Are there inherent inconsistencies and tensions in the ideal of European cosmopolitanism? Do pan-European identity and solidarity reproduce the exclusionary character of the national state?

How do EU institutions represent migration? Have they put forth a neoliberal discourse on the economic benefits of migration? Can such a discourse be reconciled with cosmopolitan values?

The deadline for submission is November 30th, 2018.
Abstracts (500 words) can be submitted in English or in French at
Notification for acceptance will be sent by December 15th, 2018.

Keynote Speakers:
June Edmunds (University of Sussex)
Andrea Sangiovanni (European University Institute)

Organization Committee
Isabelle Aubert (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, ISJPS)
François Boucher (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, ISJPS)
Sophie Guérard de Latour (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, ISJPS)
Eszter Kollar (KU Leuven, CESPP)

Confirmed participants Benjamin Boudou (MPI for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity), Fabienne Brugere (Université Paris 8), Philippe Crignon (SPH), Speranta Dumitru (Paris Descartes) June Edmunds (University of Sussex), Christian Fernandez (Malmö University), Elzbieta Gozdziak (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań) Guillaume Le Blanc (Université Paris-Est Créteil), Izabella Main (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań), Andreas Niederberger (Duisburg-Essen Universität), Emmanuel Picavet (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne).

Migration and European Cosmopolitanism: A Critical Assessment Program

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International Academic Conference: Refugees, Borders and Membership

Malmö University, 24-26 Oct 2018

“Researching norms and values in the field of migration and refugee studies”

Values define how societies look upon themselves. However, while this seems to be important to their self-understanding and, hence, their behaviour and expectation towards newcomers, there is often an absence of awareness of these values, and their enabling or, on the other hand, constraining and excluding function. Moreover, different values often compete with each other in a society, and take on shifting priority: those promoted by European institutions, those considered as collective and societal, those pertaining to specific nations or ideologies; and those considered personal. Talk of European values, for example, is in many cases vague and references to them often primarily aim at discrediting political opponents or decisions at the European and member state level. At the same time, there is a need for stabilisation and cohesion on various societal levels in Europe on the basis of common norms and values in order to find appropriate solutions to the multiple crises it faces, especially given growing tensions in the context of the so-called refugee-crisis.

As a field, migration and refugee studies have a long history of studying immigrant integration into societies of nation states, and into cities and neighbourhoods. However, such research has largely been oblivious of values and norms. Supposedly this is because the concept of values, and its related normative categories of norms and rights, seem to belong to a specific discipline (philosophy, political science). Nevertheless, values and norms have since long been debated in national politics on immigration, both explicitly and implicitly. As such, they have not only shaped immigration and integration policy profoundly, but also the lived experience of immigrant and societal integration.

This workshop addresses the question on how to study this field and how to create fruitful debates between already existing lines of research in migration studies and philosopher interested in the significance of norms and/or values in the broader migration and integration context. How do we get from the normative to the empirical and vice versa? How do we accommodate narratives of lived experiences with wider normative questions? How do we get into a conversation across disciplines? Or how do we approach these questions from an interdisciplinary perspective?

This workshop invites contributions particularly – but not exclusively – on the following topics:
• Value agents (i.e. formal and informal groups and institutions mediating values) on
various levels in society; their motivation, activities and target groups
• Policy processes; for example, the implementation of shared values into policies
• Public and political debates; for example, current and past dominating values, their
shifting positions and their relation to wider political-economic processes
• The potential significance of fundamental values like gender equality,
humanitarianism/hospitality and religious pluralism in various European societies
and/or translocal social spheres?
• Diversity in a cosmopolitan and/or a nationalist Europe

The workshop invites 6-10 papers that show a range of different approaches to the study of values and norms in migration. Ideally, the presentations would, in different sessions, address normative, methodological or thematic concerns. This workshop is organised in the framework of the recently funded H2020 project “NoVaMigra – Norms and Values in the European Migration and Refugee Crisis” (2018-21), and serves to open up the academic discussion.

Johanna Gördemann, University of Duisburg-Essen
Prof. Dr. Andreas Niederberger, University of Duisburg-Essen
Dr. Brigitte Suter, Malmö University

Europa nach der Migrationskrise?

Wednesday, June 20th 19:00 – 21:00

Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen (KWI), Gartensaal, Goethestraße 31, 45128 Essen

Die Europäische Union wurde in den vergangenen Jahren mit einer Vielzahl komplexer Probleme konfrontiert: Steigende Zahl von Zuwanderern, stetig zunehmender Populismus, die Finanzkrise, Brexit. All diese Gegebenheiten stellen eine große Herausforderung für den europäischen Zusammenhalt dar. Von einheitlichen europäischen Werten ist keine Spur, die Sprache über ein desintegriertes Europa wird immer häufiger.

Die zahlreichen Probleme, mit denen die EU zu kämpfen hat, werfen viele Fragen zur Zukunft der EU auf: Wie ist es zur jetzigen Situation gekommen? Was kann, bzw. muss, getan werden? Und von wem? Gibt es eine kosmopolitane Perspektive für die EU oder ist die Idee einer kosmopolitanen EU nur noch idealisiertes Wunschdenken? Kann sich die EU, so wie sie besteht, überhaupt noch aufrechterhalten? Kurz: Wie sieht es aus mit der Zukunft der EU?

Zahlreiche ForscherInnen setzten sich mit eben diesen Fragen auseinander und versuchen sich an einer umfassenden Analyse der Probleme der EU und an der Entwicklung von möglichen Handlungsvorschlägen. Darunter auch die Universität Duisburg-Essen, die in Zusammenarbeit mit dem KWI und acht anderen europäischen und amerikanischen Universitäten und Forschungseinrichtungen das Forschungsprojekt NoVaMigra begonnen hat. In diesem Projekt soll untersucht werden, welche Auswirkungen die Migrations- und Flüchtlingskrise auf die normativen Grundlagen und Werte hat, die das Fundament der Europäischen Union bilden, und wofür Europa in Zukunft stehen wird bzw. kann.

Dieser Abend soll Raum für Diskussion bieten. Ab dem 20. Juni soll es pro Semester jeweils einen Abend geben in dem sich EU-Interessierte, ForscherInnen und Co. zusammensetzen und sich bezüglich ihrer Perspektiven zur Zukunft der EU austauschen können. Der Auftakt wird mit einer kurzen Vorstellung des Forschungsprojektes NoVaMigra von Andreas Niederberger (Universität Duisburg-Essen) und einem Vortrag von Matthias Lutz-Bachmann (Goethe Universität Frankfurt) über die Möglichkeit eines kosmopolitanen Europas und einer anschließenden Diskussion eingeleitet.


  • Matthias Lutz-Bachmann , Institut für Philosophie an der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main – Neue Perspektiven für Europa
  • Andreas Niederberger , Institut für Philosophie an der Universität Duisburg-Essen – Was bedeutet der Umgang mit Migration und Flucht für die Grundlagen und die Zukunft der EU? Ein Forschungsprogramm


Teilnahme & Anmeldung:




The program for our conference on “Migration and European Cosmopolitanism: A Critical Assessment”, which takes place on 27-28 May in Paris, is now online! You can find it here.

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