Call for papers of La Revue française des Sciences de l’information et de la communication: N°17 | Special Issue: Migrants and migration studies in ICS – LIMITE : 01/10/2018
N°17 | Special Issue: Migrants and migration studies in ICS
Call for papers of La Revue française des Sciences de l’information et de la communication directed by Claire Scopsi, Carsten Wilhelm & Khaled Zouari | 1st September 2019
The aim of this dossier of the French Review of Information and Communication Sciences (RFSIC) is to understand the information-communication issues that the impact of media coverage on migrants and migration represent and to theoretical and practical base around this question. We seek to revisit the French and international work already done, to propose new lines of reflection, and to enrich the scientific debate around a subject of studies that preoccupies the ICS and that comes back in force in the wake of the various migratory movements of recent years.
Scientific prospects of the issue
Work on transnational migration gained renewed interest in the 1990s in a post-colonial context. The question is political: mass migration following decolonization, the consequences of the fall of the wall in the East (1989), the institution of the European community with the Maastricht Treaty (1992), the implementation of the the Schengen Area (1995), and the context of cultural and economic globalization are blurring national borders and affiliations. It is also economical: technologies dematerialize financial flows, and the productions of the goods of consumption are organized less and less at the local level. The mobilities of workers are no longer analyzed only at the level of the city and its local transport: the movements of economic migrants are internationalized (Kaufmann, 2002) and the means of transportation allow an international back and forth of workers. These new mobilities do not only concern managers and workers of international firms. A nomadic underground economy is emerging “from below”; it is based on “knowing how to migrate”, on those who know how to cross borders, and on exploiting differences in the standard of living and consumption of countries (Tarrius, 2002). In sociology, the paradigm of mobility becomes more complex. In addition to physical travel, John Urry proposes to consider forms of virtual mobility, where the rest of the world is apprehended via television or computer screens (Morley, 1995, Urry, 2002) and where travel is also possible via telephone or computer networks. Anthony Giddens questions the social life of an era when delocalized relations take root in a local spatio-temporal context. In modern social life, where we are in constant interaction with foreign people, mistrust of the foreigner, prevalent in the community of pre-modern societies, turns into an abstract trust in the other, which expresses itself through discrete marks and rituals intended to implicitly mean a lack of hostile intent (Giddens, 1990). The continuous presence of the figure of the stranger, as described by Simmel (1908/1979), is supposed to produce reciprocal acculturation.
Post modernity and liquid modernity
Traditional models of territorial and cultural affiliations are more and more transformed into liquid metaphors, reflecting both the notions of mass movements, the plasticity of social structures and the porosity of categories. Ajun Appadurai (1996) conceives modernity as a superposition of global flows: flows of images and information (mediascape, technoscape) and cultures (ethnoscape) are superimposed on flows of goods and money (financescape). For Bauman (2000), the transition from the twentieth to the twenty-first century manifests itself through the replacement of the structure by the network. “Strong” organizations, whose role was to secure a society through sustainable nodes, give way to a collection of individual links that can be formed and undone. Transnational mobility (Glick Schiller, 1992) contributes to this breakdown, the crossing of borders takes the form of an infiltration through metissage (Gruzinsky, 1999), creolizations (Chivallon, 2013), diasporas (Dufoix, 2000, Düvel, 2006; Hepp 2009, Agbobli et al., 2013, Duchêne-Lacroix and Koukoutsaki-Monnier 2015). Exile is no longer radical: Dana Diminescu shows that the uses of ICTs by migrants make it possible to replace the double absence (Sayad, 1999) by the double presence: the mobile phone, the videophone keep the emigrant in permanent contact with the family and homeland (Diminescu2005, Miller and Madianou 2012).Travels back to the home country, forced or chosen, are also linked to identity and media strategies (Miller and Madianou, 2012).
The end of the second decade of the twentieth century: a turning point
From the attacks of September 11, 2001 onwards, issues evolve progressively. Physical boundaries have become porous, but are replaced by surveillance and identification devices (biometric passports, video surveillance, international files) (Mattelart, 2007). Far from the utopia of Internet democracy of the beginnings of the web, the networks and digital media are considered under their dark side: the Darknet, manipulative social networks, viral videos, become the vectors of jihadist proselytism. Information and data both flow abundantly, but does this suffice to produce communication? (Wolton, 2009). Is the public space losing its base? The “media crisis of migrants” is becoming a major political issue in Western societies. It appears as a crisis of visibility (Bélouin et al., 2009): the invisible immigrants of the twentieth century, hidden in peri-urban areas and in factories, or as in the case of women, in the home, became the “migrants” too visible because they are grouped together in areas where traffic flows are disturbed: “jungles”, railway station areas, asylum or regularization centers, the shores of the Mediterranean, South American borders. Active media, institutional or memory recognition strategies (Honneth, 1996) (such as the Saint Bernard sans-papiers movement, or the “march of the beurs”) do not concern newcomers who are precarious and depersonalized by media representations: veiled, filmed from behind, by far, at night, forms lying on a sidewalk, or reduced to their footsteps, only indications of their passage after the dismantling of the Calais camps. If they are the subject of multiple hostile or benevolent analyzes or comments, few are directly invited to express their point of view.
While the walls threaten to resurface, and the reactionary struggles currently shaking Western political systems, are expressed in a climate of “moral panic” (Baumann, 2016) that makes them all the more virulent, the vocabularies emphasize increasingly complex administrative categorizations, leading to a segmentation of populations in migration, between asylum seekers, rejected asylum seekers, refugees, economic immigrants, re-migrants, expatriates, undocumented, isolated minors (dreamers) or young adults. A new culture of migration is emerging and public opinion must learn to cope with it (Agier, 2016).
We propose to consider this dilution of migration in the networks and the digitalas a new paradigm and the “migrant crisis” as an information and communication crisis in which all actors, at each stage of the journey, perceive themselves through media artifacts: images, data, maps, mediated discourses, figures …, as a concrete example of the mediatization of social life (Krotz 2007, Hepp and Couldry, 2016). We have moved from the flow model (flow and liquidity) to the “blurred” model (a cloud of data superimposed on reality). How do each of the actors (immigrants, institutions, media, civil society) seize these data to act …? Do their strategies vary according to states and cultures? Who controls these flows, and is able to use them for his or her purposes? Particular attention will be paid to international work, or work situating French initiatives in the European and global context.
Theoretical Approaches to Migration in the Information and Communication Sciences
This topic deals with the epistemology of migration in information and communication sciences. How do the theories and concepts of our “inter-discipline” contribute to the evolution of knowledge about contemporary migrants and migration? How to deal with migration-studies’ issues in the light of concepts like mobility, nomadism, virtuality, mediated communities or online cooperation (etc.)?
We also propose to question, through interdisciplinarity, the effective contributions of work donefrom ICTs to digital humanities, pertaining to anthropology, sociology, or the history of migration. We also seek to develop an understanding of the multiple digital representations of migrations, and immigrants (data processing, datavisualizations, cartographies, chrono-cartographies, etc.).
The proposals for this topic address the practice and uses of ICTs at various moments of the migration process. We favor contributions that address digital platforms for migrants’ information and communication, access to rights and health, linguistic assistance, or departure assistance, as well as the uses of ICTs in reception centers, in refugee camps, and in crisis situations.
This topic also includes contributions on the characteristics of the mediatized communication of (=by) the migrants, with particular emphasis on social web techniques (Facebook, Twitter, blog, YouTube …) that reflect the migratory experience, intervene in migration projects, or support citizen activism.
It also integrates proposals that, through communicational and information approaches, study the presence of immigrants in hostland and homeland media, and apprehend the multiple forms of media and journalistic treatment of immigration (media iconsand images of migration, cross media and participative strategies , etc.).
Migrants, migrations and intercultural communication
This topic focuses on online interculturality. Proposals that fall under this heading address language practices and rituals in a situation of intercultural communication whether online or face-to-face. We also privilege proposals that study initiatives promoting cultural diversity, living together or education for children. digital interculturality in situations of migration, or cross-border mobility.
This topic concerns the issue of digital traces and memories of migrants and migrations. Rich in scientific perspectives, it allows to build a theoretical and practical foundation on various subjects. For example :
the archives of digital productions of immigrant communities, the commemorative practices of migrant communities and their use by researchers.
the digital strategies of exogenous minorities to claim and promote their cultural traces within the dominant society or the role of digital media in identity strategies
the vectors of the patrimonialisation of migration (objects, testimonies…), the role of heritage institutions (migration museums, cultural associations, etc.).
the exploitation of traces by administrations: administrative files / data / electronic borders, electronic surveillance.
The proposals for this topic will focus on the study of artistic projects using digital means to contribute to the visibility of immigrants. Contributions related to Action Research projects (by academics, professionals, artists, associations and cultural structures, communities, etc.) will be highly appreciated.
Proposals go through a two stage process
1) Sending a detailed summary of 1,500 words (approximately 10,000 characters), Times, body 12 and single spacing, with a title and 3 to 5 keywords. Authorswill clearly explain their research question, object, theoretical references and methodology. A short bibliography should be added. Proposals may be submitted in either French or English
Publication of CFP : mai 2018
October 1st, 2018 : reception of proposals (abstracts)
November 1st, 2018 : feedback to authors about acceptation.
March 1st, 2019 : reception of full papers
Mars 1st to April 1st, 2019 : evaluation of full papers and final decision
May 1st, 2019 : reception of final versions for publication
September 1st, 2019 : publication of the issue (n°17)