6-8 NOVEMBER 2019


Keynote speakers


Sub themes


Growth in international migration has prompted a diversity of efforts to manage global migratory flows as well as improve and streamline the economic, social and political integration of migrants into the host countries. Migration and integration today involve a myriad of actors such as international and regional bodies, state agencies and municipalities, companies, interest groups, community-embedded, civil society organizations as well as individuals, including migrants, who design, implement reproduce, participate in, and replicate individual or collaborative initiatives aimed at facilitating migration and integration. Some efforts are planned and involve years of preparation and the engagement of large coalition of actors; others are ephemeral and ad hoc, emerging from one day to the next only to disappear again quickly. Some efforts aim at facilitating transnational migration others at improving migrants’ health, at supporting migrants’ inclusion into the host countries’ education system or the labour market, at preventing radicalization, or securing migrants’ civic, social and legal inclusion in the new country. From a coordination and organizing perspective, this myriad of actors and activities separated in time and space poses not only far-reaching challenges, but also great opportunities.

These challenges and opportunities demand novel and critical research and interdisciplinary approaches from a range of disciplines, such as anthropology, educational sciences, health sciences, information technology, international studies, law and human rights, management and organization studies, migration studies, political science, social work and sociology. This to rethink how migration shapes and produces inclusion and exclusion around the world – from welfare states in the Global North to the states of the Global South.

The School of Business, Economics and Law, together with the Centre on Global Migration at the University of Gothenburg, therefore invites scholars from many disciplines and all parts of the globe to the Organizing Migration and Integration in Contemporary Societies Conference, 6–8 November, 2019, in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Organizing committe
Andreas Diedrich, associate professor, Business Administration
Gabriella Elgenius, associate professor, Sociology and Work Science
Gregor Noll, professor, Law
Andrea Spehar, associate professor, director of Centre on Global Migration (CGM), Political Science
Patrik Zapata, professor, Public Administration
María José Zapata Campos, associate professor, Business Administration


E. Tendayi Achiume

E. Tendayi Achiume is an Assistant Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. She is also a Research Associate with the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of Witwatersrand. The current focus of her work is the global governance of racism and xenophobia; and the legal and ethical implications of colonialism for contemporary international migration. More generally, her research and teaching interests lie in international human rights law, international refugee law, international migration, and property law.

In November 2017, the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Professor Achiume the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, making her the first woman to serve in this role since its creation in 1993. In 2016, she was appointed to co-chair the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law (ASIL), and she is currently the co-chair of the ASIL Migration Law Interest Group. In 2018, she was named an Emerging Scholar by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.


barbara czarniawska

Barbara Czarniawska Born 2nd December 1948 in Bialystok, Poland, where her family moved from Vilnius after the World War II. Swedish citizen since 26 August, 1988. MA in Social and Industrial Psychology, Warsaw University, 1970; Economic Sciences, Warsaw School of Economics, 1976.  She is at present Senior Professor at Gothenburg Research Institute at the School of Business, Economics and Law at University of Gothenburg, Sweden.  In her research, she applies a feminist and constructivist perspective on organizing, including organizing integration. Her methodological interests concern fieldwork techniques and the narrative approach in social science studies. She writes in Polish, English, Swedish and Italian. 

Achille Mbembe

Achille Mbembe  Professor Achille Mbembe is a philosopher, political scientist, and public intellectual. He obtained his doctoral degree at the Université Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne) in 1989 and subsequently obtained the D.E.A. in Political Science at the Institut d’études politiques, Paris. During his time in France, Jean-Marc Ela, Jean Leca and Jean-François Bayart had a profound influence on him. Mbembe is a Research Professor of History and Politics at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research in Johannesburg, South Africa and a Visiting Professor in the Department of Romance Studies at the Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University. He has also held appointments at Columbia University, Yale University, and the University of California. Achille Mbembe’s research interests lie in the social sciences and African history and politics. More precisely, Mbembe investigates the “postcolony” that comes after decolonization. He is especially interested in the emergence of “Afro-cosmopolitan culture,” together with the artistic practices that are associated with it. However, he has also critically explored the notion of Johannesburg as a metropolitan city and the work of Frantz Fanon.

Jenny Phillimore

Jenny Phillimore is a professor of Migration and Superdiversity at the Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology at the University of Birmingham, UK, and director of the Institute for Research into Superdiversity. She is a world leading scholar in refugee integration, superdiversity and access to social welfare with a particular focus on public health, as well as publishing and development of the community research methodology. Over the past decade she has managed teams of researchers focusing on access to health, education, employment, training, and housing integration with a particular focus on integration and organisational change in the UK and EU. Currently she leads the international SEREDA project which aims to understand the incidence and nature of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) experienced by women, men and child refugees who have fled conflict in the Levant Region. She is also involved in the Forte funded project at the University of Gothenburg comparing the role of civil society for migrants’ labour market participation in diverse areas in Sweden and the UK.

Thomas Spijkerboer

Thomas Spijkerboer is a professor of Migration Law at the Amsterdam Centre for Migration and Refugee Law of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam since 2000, and Raoul Wallenberg Visiting Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Lund University (Sweden) since November 2017. He is one of the lecturers in the master’s track on International Migration and Refugee Law of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In 2016, he was appointed as a member of the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenchappen (Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities); in 2017 he was elected as a member of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Academie van Wetenschappen (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Siences).


Digitalization and migration 

Andreas Diedrich, Johan Magnusson & Amin Parsa

Digitalization has long been seen as a silver bullet for industry and society. Within the public sector, governments have competed in notions of accelerated digitalization with the general assumption that digitalization will solve many of the prevailing challenges of society. In the wake of this, initiatives such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and other applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) within the field of migration control have been put forward e.g. the recent EU project, iBorderCtrl, which aims to use machine learning technology as a means for classifying mobile populations claims, including but not limited to credibility assessment of asylum claims. In light of this, with few exceptions, critical examination of the implications of digitalization in the context of mobility and migration management are still developing (for instance.

With the current global political challenges in mind, the inclusion of under-represented groups such as newly-arrived refugees and other migrants becomes significantly important. This requires an increased understanding of how, in practice, digitalization actually unfolds among these groups, how it enters “migration management”, and what the implications are of all this. Previous research in many fields has pointed to marginalization and disenfranchisement of these groups, both in the labour market and society at large. While the critical studies have alerted us to some of the challenges brought about by the increasing digitalization, we still lack a comprehensive understanding of how digitalization facilitates, contributes and maintains inclusion and exclusion in practice. We are of the view that lack of such understanding regarding the effects of digitalization reduces every proposal to a superficial engagement, risking detrimental effects on our societal challenges.

This stream thus turns attention to the role of digitalization in the context of migration and integration. What role does digitalization have for migration control and for integration of migrants into the labour market and society at large? How can policy makers and practitioners respond to the challenges and opportunities brought about in the context of migration and integration by an ever-growing number of digital technologies?

We welcome contributions from various disciplines, such as political science, sociology, law, business administration, history, anthropology, information technology and public administration.

We are inviting papers that address following issues:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI), migration and integration
  • Digitalization, security and migration control
  • Digitalization and marginalization of migrants
  • Digitalization and labour market integration of migrants
  • Other topics

Education, learning and migration

Airi Rovio-JohanssonJohannes Lunneblad och Syna Ouattara

Global migration, communication and collaboration across borders bring important challenges and opportunities for education and learning in multicultural societies. Growing ethnic and linguistic diversity among teachers and students, for example, can be evidenced in different education/training contexts. And an increasing number of language courses, civic orientation courses or vocational education/training courses are organized to facilitate immigrants’ integration into the host countries. Research on multicultural societies and schools in a variety of countries has over the past decade repeatedly shown that many immigrants and their children are marginalized and generally do worse than other students in educational/training institutions at different levels of the education system. A broad view of education as multicultural and inclusive has been neither officially proclaimed nor realised, although schools and training colleges are responsible for providing high quality education and training or all their students. The important challenges, which remain for education and training in general, and in the context of migration in particular, are to incorporate the history and perspective of its learners and to adjust its teaching practices to benefit all its learners and to thereby contribute to facilitating equality and opportunity for all.

We welcome contributions from various disciplines, social sciences, educational sciences, natural sciences and health and medical faculties.

We are inviting papers that address following themes:

  • Empirical and theoretical grounded studies of inclusion and learning development of young immigrants in pre-school activities
  • Empirical and theoretical grounded studies of integration of immigrants in compulsory school education
  • Theoretical and methodological approaches of inclusion of immigrants in lifelong learning activities in labour market
  • Empirical studies of initiative by public and private actors to integrate immigrants in various labour market sectors

Living conditions and agency among migrant children and families 

Ingrid HöjerCharlotte Melander & Oksana Shmulyar Green

The aim of this stream is to gather papers from different disciplines about research on living conditions and agency of migrated children and families. The lives and agency of migrants, children, individuals and families are shaped by external conditions and institutional frameworks, but also by migrant´s own strategies in relation to these structures. The strategies also depend on the individual resources and social capital imbedded in social networks. These networks can be local and transnational and more or less supportive depending on the social context. This stream wishes to discuss further the interaction between institutional conditions, social network resources and children’s and families’ own livelihood strategies in new countries.

We focus on individuals’ own experiences and strategies as well as professionals´ views on their work and interaction with migrated children and families within, including social services and child protection, parental support and education groups, special efforts aimed at migrated children and families in health care settings and schools.

This stream is open to a variety of theoretical angels, some of which can be about transnationalism and transnational families, transnational social work, mobility theory, bordering, social capital and social network theory, inclusion and exclusion, recognition, governmentality and intersectionality.

Family ties and transnationalism 

Quang EvansluongMarcela Ramirez-PasillasMariana Morosanu & Allan Discua Cruz

Migration is a highly significant phenomenon in the world. This phenomenon changes the nature of family and specifically family ties dynamics.

Family is recognized as a resource and institutions that provide the basis for trust and collective actions. The family dynamics influence different aspects of diasporas’ lives including, career choice, education, business development, family social capital, religion, and acculturation, leading to integration into the country of residence. As diasporas are aware of global sustainability challenges, the creation of social enterprises to sustain family ties and support diasporas’ communities become important.

Family ties are becoming increasingly diverse and international due to global mobility and intercultural marriages. Such transnational configuration of the family makes its influences on diasporas more dynamic because their lives are embedded in family relations and networks within and beyond one country. How transnational family ties influence everyday life and choices of diasporas needs to be further investigated.

We welcome both empirical and theoretical contributions on any discipline such as sociology, business administration, sustainability, history, anthropology and information technology that brings forth new conceptual and empirical understanding of the connections between family ties, diaspora, transnationalism and sustainability.

Health, risk, and resilience: Transcending the biological, the psychological, the social, and the structural in migration and integration

Josephine T. V. Greenbrook

Health is more than pulse and blood pressure; it transcends the biological, the psychological, the social, and the structural. Health, in all its existential complexity, is fundamental to the enjoyment of all human rights. Due to the syndemic nature of migration, substantial impacts on health can occur through exposure to cumulative risk factors relating to disparity, structural violence, and social condition. Migrating populations have largely suffered interpersonal and structural trauma, such as having been exposed to conflicts of war and extreme poverty, having lost family and close relations, and having suffered bodily harm, sexual violence, and torture, as well as oppression, neglect, and maltreatment. Beyond other social vulnerabilities, harsh living circumstances involved in pre, during, and post-migration, also contribute to a number of health-related issues in all those affected. Notwithstanding this, substantial barriers in seeking health care exist for migrants, and discrimination, neglect, and prejudicial attitudes amongst health care practitioners have been reported. Clinicians have also been found to struggle with a variety of difficulties, ethical dilemmas, and other conflicts in transcultural health care encounters. Cultural stigma, low health literacy, and low healthcare utilization amongst migrant populations further compound existing problems.

This stream aims to highlight health as it relates to migration, as well as the fundamental role of health in integration. The objective is to present empirical research and critical academic debate exploring risk and resilience in migrant health and transcultural care, in theory, policy, and practice. We warmly welcome contributions from a wide variety of disciplines, as well as multi-disciplinary work.

This will include, and is not limited to, topics covering:
• The foundational role of health in integration 
• Upholding health as a human right in the context of migration
• Migration and healthcare barriers
• Migrant health rights and health equity in applied settings
• Syndemics and migration
• Health and intersectionality in relation to migration
• Mental health and belonging in migration and integration
• Clinical and organisational challenges to care delivery
• Transcultural health care encounters
• Ethical considerations related to transcultural care provision
• Community health engagement
• NGO and other outreach practices
• Other related topics

Migration and cities: Social institutions, political governance and integration 

Andrea Spehar

Migration is primarily an urban phenomenon, and one that creates new economic, social and political challenges for migrants and host communities. This stream turns attention to the urban dimension of migration and migration-related diversity. What implications does migration have for the city and social cohesion, how do cities respond to both the challenges and oppor¬tunities offered by migration and diversity?

We welcome contributions from various disciplines, such as political science, sociology, law, economics, histo¬ry, law, anthropology, health art, public administration.

We are inviting papers that address following issues:

  • Governing diversity and integration in the city
  • Multilevel governance
  • Migration and urban planning
  • Migrant political and civic agency and participation  
  • Other topics

Organising Civil Society for building inclusive societies

Ester BarinagaGabriella Elgenius & María José Zapata Campos

In the midst of the migration crisis and the resurgence of the radical right, the civil society at large is experimenting with novel organizational forms to organize the social, political, and economic inclusion of migrants. From activist and community groups to migrants and neighbourhood associations, cooperatives, and social entrepreneurs, these citizen initiatives are leading inclusive practices in sectors as diverse as the arts, education, employment, entrepreneurship, health and housing.

Many terms are used to refer to such initiatives. Some are of recent coinage, such as “social innovation”, “social entrepreneurship”, “grassroots innovations” or “community economies”. Others have a longer history, such as civil society organizations, “the non-profit sector”, “local communities”, “social movements”, or “social economy”. This has led to the introduction of a new language of social action, civic engagement and social entrepreneurship as well as an increased focus on the centrality of civil society initiatives for building more inclusive societies and resilient economies. It has also led to a discussion of what social, economic and political imaginaries these civil society initiatives are advancing as their work, in practice, with migration and integration challenges. Nevertheless, the institutional, economic and socio-cultural challenges these initiatives meet are many, and differ from one context to another one.

This stream invites theoretical, empirical and methodological contributions that explore concepts, strategies, tools and practices used by civil society initiatives to address the challenges associated with migration, integration, settlement, and employment in an effort to promote inclusive societies. A list of topics particularly welcomed to this stream include (but not limited to):

  • Theoretical elaborations on the role citizen-driven initiatives play in addressing the challenges associated with migration and integration. Some theoretical concepts that have already been used in this regard include social capital, governmentality, power and resistance, or (re)framing. Others are also welcome.
  • Empirical studies of civil society initiatives (both formal and more informal) that promote integration and more inclusive communities. Among others, empirical descriptions may focus on the methods and practices used by citizen-driven initiatives, the organizational process required, issues of co-participation, rationalities guiding the efforts, power struggles, barriers they meet, etc.
  • Methodological contributions: quantitative, qualitative and collaborative strategies employed to investigate civil society initiatives. We particularly welcome discussions that help develop the role of the researcher in collaborative knowledge production.
  • The extent to which the novel conceptualizations and practices introduced by civil society initiatives contribute to work towards more inclusive communities and cohesive societies.
  • The way citizen-driven initiatives, in their efforts to address migration and integration challenges, are contributing to advance social, economic and institutional change.

Organizing labour market integration 

Patrik Zapata & Andreas Diedrich

The integration or inclusion of foreign-born persons, in particular recent refugees and especially migrant women, into the labour market and society, post the 2015 peak of refugee arrivals to Sweden, remains one of biggest challenges for Nordic welfare states. Solutions for the challenge are sought on many levels, local, regional, national and transnational, and today involve a plethora of public, private and volunteer organizations. 
Focusing on the practices of both top-down and bottom-up initiatives, this stream calls for papers which address, among many others, the following questions related to the integration of recent refugees and other immigrants:

  • How is the “integration industry” organized and how does it function?
  • What are the taken-for-granted ideologies, norms, hidden power relations, and actual practices connected to initiatives aimed at integrating recent refugees and other immigrants into the labour market and society?
  • What organizations, groups and individuals are being enrolled in integration activities, and how do they react to these integration initiatives? What do they do?
  • What role do employers play in the inclusion of recent refugees and other immigrants in organizations?
  • How do labour integration initiatives relate to issues of time, space, territory and cities?

We are particularly interested in examining both challenges and opportunities created by novel initiatives driven by the public sector, the private sector, and the civil society; as well as the complications and opportunities of connecting these activities across sites.

Organizing migration: beyond the imperial 

Gregor Noll

The organization of migration has always involved the interplay of public and private power throughout the modern project. Overall, the structure of contemporary migration law, policy and practices reflects Northern dominance over states and communities in the South. This also applies to much of migration research today, which is discursively shaped by Northern voices. With this thematically broad stream, we wish to explore how our understanding of migration and its organization might reach beyond the imperial, both empirically, conceptually and theoretically. How does the interplay between public and private manifest itself today, and what new patterns of dominance do we see emerging? Can the history of migration teach us what factors we should be attentive to in its current organizational structures? How might we break through to a research organization where Southern research perspectives articulate themselves to a proportionate extent?

We welcome submissions from a broad variety of disciplines, such as, but not limited to, history, political science and theory, sociology, law, demography, economics, philosophy, and the arts. We look forward in particular to cross-cutting, multi- and interdisciplinary contributions.

Papers could inter alia address one or more of the following issues:

  • Conditions of migration research in the global South
  • Organizing the migration industry
  • The making of borders
  • The historical philosophy of migration
  • Migration as collective entrepreneurialism
  • Predicting migration
  • A socioeconomic analysis of migrant smuggling

Privileged Migration: Deconstructing Privilege and Advantage

Ylva Wallinder

The notion of ‘a migrant’ is often formulated as an abstract category, ignoring the heterogeneity among migrants depending on, for example, gender, ethnicity, ‘race’ and social background. One reason for this could be an ongoing tendency to underestimate the motives, strategies and experiences of privileged migrants who might not even be categorized as migrants e.g. due to the recognition of various forms of resources, on the basis of whiteness, nationality, financial, educational and cultural resources. While some migrant groups are defined as a ‘problem’ in the local society, others are classified as ‘expatriates’ without facing devaluation due to, e.g., their alleged unwillingness to integrate.

This stream turns attention to the existing hierarchies of recognition, understandings and conceptualizations of migrant employees. It aims to bring forward new frames, stories and contexts for understanding migrants as a category, exploring migrant privilege and intersections of privilege or advantage. Contributions from a broad range of disciplines are most welcome.

To address privilege and advantage, theoretically and/or empirically, possible topics include:

  • Migration and economic/social/cultural/educational privilege or advantage
  • Self-perceptions, strategies, and experiences among voluntary labour migrants
  • Migration from/within western welfare states
  • Classification schemes of migrant employees
  • Comparative research on disadvantage and advantage, exclusion and inclusion
  • Migration and cultural identity markers
  • Privilege and local integration policies and practices
  • Related topics

Securitization, migration and integration

Robin Andersson Malmros & Christer Mattsson

Migration flows, integration efforts and the threat of terrorism are increasingly intertwined in policy and practice. Fighting terrorism has during the last decades developed from a responsibility for militaries, intelligence communities and police forces, to a multi-disciplinary problem that engages diverse organizations and professions on international, national and local level. This development has contributed to the securitization of migration and integration policies. At its most basic level, securitization transforms subjects and policy areas to matters of security. Empirical examples are numerous and world-wide: the closing of regional- and national borders to reduce the risk of terror attacks, enhanced control of migrants’ background in relation to terrorism and diverse integration initiatives that are being reframed as actions to eliminate the so-called breeding ground for terrorism. Public policy and discourse point to the “lack of integration” among migrants as a potential root-cause to terrorism and migrants are conceived as “vulnerable” for radicalization – the gradual pathway leading to terrorism.

In this conference stream, we wish to shed light on securitization related to terrorism and efforts to counter radicalization. In relation to this frame, we invite contributions from various disciplines, methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives that could address subjects such as:

  • Organizational change of forms and structures
  • New, old and changed practices for professions- and occupations in welfare operations
  • Securitization of integration efforts and migrants in public policy
  • Politics, ideologies, populism and securitization
  • Racial and cultural biases in policy and practice
  • The role of civil society organizations and social movements: victims, enablers or resisters
  • The “risk society” and terrorism
  • The role of media and internet in securitization processes
  • Historical perspectives on securitization in relation to terrorism
  • Consequences for objects/subjects of securitization practices


The OMICS 2019 will be held at the Scool of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.