WG 3 Workshop 2

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COST Action CA 16211 RECAST

Reappraising Intellectual Debates on Civic Rights and Democracy in Europe

Concepts 2

Hosted by the Department of Humanities of the Università del Piemonte Orientale, and coorganised with the Centro Interdipartamentale di Diritto e Storia Costituzionale of the same university, and the Centro Interateneo di Studi per la Pace, this second workshop of Working Group 3: Concepts of COST Action RECAST, is scheduled for 19–20 March 2020 in Vercelli, Italy.

Convened by Gonçalo Marcelo (University of Coimbra), Hanna-Mari Kivistö (University of Jyväskylä) and Gabriella Silvestrini (Università del Piemonte Orientale), its title is Migration, Rights and Democracy: Conceptual Reappraisals.

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the workshop was cancelled and later on rescheduled as an online workshop for 15–16 June 2020, hosted by Hanna-Mari Kivistö using the University of Jyväskylä's Institutional Zoom account.

Call for Papers



In this adapted format, the online workshop took place in one day and a half, in the morning and afternoon of June 15 and then in the morning of June 16. This was a publication-driven workshop, that was geared towards providing feedback to the participants. As such, the participants that had been chosen for the original programme were asked to draft short papers delving into their proposed topic, and the papers were circulated among participants before the workshop, with the goal of making everyone acquainted with each other’s work. Then, in the workshop participants were asked to make short presentations of their papers followed by an extended feedback and discussion, with the aim of helping each participant to ameliorate his or her own paper in preparation of the full version that is to be considered for a future collective publication that will be the result of this workshop.

Paper presentations were divided in six thematic sessions bringing together academics in different stages of their respective careers, including a large number of PhD students and early career researchers, affiliated with institutions from Austria, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Poland, Spain, United Kingdom, and the USA.

This was a workshop that aimed to explore the topic of migration in its relation with rights and democracy, which are the main concerns of RECAST, from a conceptual standpoint, in line with the orientation of Working Group 3: Concepts. On June 15 the opening words of the workshop were delivered by RECAST’s chair, José María Rosales and by the three conveners. All the participants were thanked for their availability to take part in the online workshop and for having sent their draft papers beforehand, and the details on how the sessions were to be conducted were given.

After these opening words, the first session, titled “Challenging Borders: Cosmopolitanism and the Concept of Hospitality” and chaired by José María Rosales, explored the seeming paradox (attested by its etimology) between hostility and hospitality when faced with the stranger, and discussed it within the context of cosmopolitanism, with the presentation of three papers: “Cosmopolitanism: (Open) Borders and Migration” by Angela Taraborrelli (University of Cagliari); “Two Offers for the True European: Hospitality and Hostility” by Zanan Akin (University of Hagen) and “The Law of Hospitality in the Shadow of an Empire” by Marin Beroš (Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar, Zagreb).

The last session of that morning, session 2, “Boundaries, Populism and Migration”, chaired by Gonçalo Marcelo, counted on two presentations: Tomás P. Bethencourt (University of Málaga) – “‘You Are Not the People’: Core Concepts in the Fabrication of Right-Wing Populist Rhetoric on Immigration” and Laura Santi Amantini (University of Genoa, North-Western Italian Philosophy Consortium (FINO)) – “Counteracting Populist Anti-Immigrant Sentiments: Is Governments’ Action Legitimate?”. These presentations analyzed the connection between immigration and the populist surge, discussing how these populist narratives are constructed and what should be done about them.

In the afternoon of June 15 two additional sessions were held, both dealing with the relation between migration and rights. Session 3, “Rethinking Human Rights and Migration”, chaired by Saila Heinikoski, focused on human rights and on the very notion of the right to have rights in migratory contexts, and had three presentations: Ewa Wyrębska-Đermanović (University of Bonn) – “Hannah Arendt, the Right to Have Rights and Contemporary Challenges”; Natalija Shikova (International Balkan University) “Human Rights and Migration: The Case of the Roma Minority at the Macedonian Borders” and Hanna-Mari Kivistö (University of Jyväskylä) – “Human Rights and Asylum: Conceptual Explorations”.

As for session 4, chaired by Gabriella Silvestrini, “Reframing Citizenship, Democracy and Rights in Migratory Contexts”, it discussed the several ways in which the phenomena of migration, and of the rights due to migrants, are in tension with the notion of citizenship and also the role of education in these contexts. Four presentations were held in this panel: Maxim van Asseldonk (University of Aberdeen) – “Rights beyond Boundaries: The Political Turn in Human Rights and Democracy’s Boundary Problem”; Anna Milioni (Onassis Foundation Scholar) – “Citizenship and Voting Rights in Times of Migration: A Normative Account”; Anna Malandrino (Center for European Studies, Harvard University) – “A Right to Immigrant Language Education in Europe?” and Gottfried Schweiger (University of Salzburg) – “Mandatory Value Courses for Asylum Seekers: Are they Justified?”. The first day of the workshop was closed with some preliminary conclusions on the discussions held and what was to follow the next day.

On June 16, session 5, titled “Ethics and Politics of the European Union Asylum Framework”, and chaired by Hanna-Mari Kivistö, discussed several practical aspects of the non-ideal situation of migration in Europe, with three presentations: Tom Montel (Université Paris 8) – “The Common European Asylum System as a Tool for National Sovereignty: The Dublin Regulation and Populists’ Contradictions”; Martin G. Weiss (University of Klagenfurt) – “Philosophical Aspects and Ethical Implications of DNA Testing for Family Reunification” and Saila Heinikoski (Finnish Institutute of International Affairs) – “Internal and External Boundary-Crossing in Crisis-laden Europe: Applying the Ideal Theory of Demoicracy in Non-ideal Conditions”.

Finally, in session 6, “Migration, Borders and the Moral Right to Self-determination”, chaired by Gonçalo Marcelo, the focus was on the notion of self-determination, discussing the inclusion and exclusion of migrants in its tension between individual rights of migrants and the rights of host communities. Two papers were presented: Gianfranco Pellegrino (LUISS Guido Carli Rome) – “Diasporas as Invisible Nations. Immigrants’ Self-determination and the Right to Exclude” and Tamara Crnko (University of Rijeka) – “Self-determination and the Exclusion of Immigrants”.

This last thematic session was followed by a short concluding session, in which some remarks were made concerning this first experience of a RECAST workshop being held online, and further information was given to participants as to what was to follow, namely, the submission of full papers for inclusion in a book edited by the conveners and to be pitched to a reputed international publisher in early 2021.

(Please note this report complements the programme.)

Gonçalo Marcelo (University of Coimbra / Católica Porto Business School)

Hanna-Mari Kivistö (University of Jyväskylä)

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