“Borders, Migration, and the Changing Nature of Sovereignty” with Ruxandra Ivan

The event will take place on November 8th, Room 102, Faculty of Sociology and Social Assistance, Panduri Campus at 5:00 pm.

Abstract: Democracy presupposes the existence of a political body – the demos – which is the legitimate holder of the sovereign rights. The identity of the State, as well as the possibility of the existence of a democratic political regime, is founded upon the cohesion of this political body. In 19th and 20th centuries’ Europe, this cohesion was expressed through a certain idea of the ‘nation’, a constructed notion of cohesiveness of a territorial community. But what is becoming of this political body at a time when porousness of State borders allows for the massive intrusion of populations perceived as being fundamentally extraneous, therefore threatening (Girard 1982)? Which is the place of the immigrant in the Western democracies? And which are the means through which the State reacts when confronted to this type of identity threat? Our investigation will try to map the main interrogations that cross the relation between democracy, migrations and sovereignty in the 21st century. We will argue that, while the political body of the nation-State is fragilized by immigration, new ways of re-instituting the cohesiveness of its political community are set up by the State in order to enhance its identity through difference with respect to others. These include the consolidation of external borders (a policy trend in the EU), but also enhancing the symbolic internal boundaries between “us” and “the others”. The recent discourse of the European leaders about the failure of multiculturalism is an example of this attempt to re-institute difference.

Key words: borders; migration; refugees; sovereignty; globalization.

Short BIO: Ruxandra Ivan is a Romanian political scientist specialized in international relations with a focus on foreign affairs and international politics, as well as a strong interest in 21st transformations of international interactions. Currently she acts as Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, International Relations and Security Studies, Faculty of Political Science, University of Bucharest, where she teaches course on foreign policy analysis, international relations theory and international politics. She holds doctoral degrees in political science from the University of Bucharest and the Université Libre de Bruxelles. She published extensively on Romanian foreign policy after the Cold War, including the first in-depth overview of postcommunist Romanian foreign policy (La politique étrangère roumaine 1990-2006, Editions de l’Université de Bruxelles, 2009). Among her most recent publications there is an increasingly quoted collective volume on Black Sea international regionalism (New Regionalism or No Regionalism? Emerging Regionalism at the Black Sea Area, Ashgate, 2012).

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