Round Table: Legal, Political and Social Construction of Migrants’ Illegality: Between Cosmopolitan Norms and State Sovereignty

The event is a meeting of a research team and is part of the seminar series Migration in a Global Perspective and will take place on the 6th of April, Room 102, Faculty of Sociology and Social Assistance, Panduri Campus at 15.00.

 The current legal and political analysis and the practice in the field of migration is manifestof a lack of awareness of the role played by the law in producing illegality, and of a polarization between the “realist” privileging of the perspective of the sovereign state, and law’s cosmopolitan aspirations grown from the emergence of the individual increasingly as active subject of the law. With respect to the approach to illegality, there is little understanding about the social, political and legal construction of the “illegal”, and how this relates to particular politics of nationalism and citizenship, which are constantly redefining the boundaries of particular nation-states. In this dominant approach, illegality is seen as the ineffectiveness and powerlessness of the law, as a failure in implementation of migration policies, like border enforcement, internal controls etc.  This type of approach is challenged for its governmentalist and managerial ethos, whereby governmentalism is understood as the activity of defining what is a “problem” from the point of view of the dominant group, and law and policy are preoccupied to „manage” situations and „deal” with problems.

This seminar explores the production of illegality in constructing the legal status of the migrant, by exposing the ways in which obstacles are instituted to the obtaining of the protection and benefits that, at the same time, law and policies provide for them. It looks into ways in which international standards of refugee protection are reflected in the EU and domestic legislation and case-law of courts at various levels, what is problematic about those standards and about the social practices they reflect, and the political discourses surrounding them, and examines how sovereignty is challenged by the encounter with the refugee/ migrant’s human rights aspirations. The seminar will trace paths into illegality especially in the dynamics of granting refugee status by state authorities, on the asylum procedures and on the recent practice of „outsourcing” responsibility for persons in need of protection outside the State borders.

Round table participants:  Tamara Caraus, Elena Paris, Camil Parvu, Ruxandra Ivan,  Monica Serban, Bogdan Voicu, Elena Simina Tanasescu


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