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Introduction - Conceptual thinking in migration studies


The main rationale of the book “Contested Concepts in Migration Studies” is that selected concepts are shaping the migration and diversity research agenda, and that we need to take a step back and make a critical assessment. Concepts force social scientists to take position, often a normative or critical one. Sometimes this is done explicitly, and concepts are scrutinized and deconstructed. Often, however, we find ourselves trapped within a complex conceptual galaxy of key concepts and taken-for-granted notions that implicitly shape the different meanings. Each chapter in this book addresses the question what role particular concepts in the field of migration and diversity studies play in everyday language, research, media, and policy realms, and how they interact. We address the question how concepts shape policies or drive narratives of politics, and we investigate how concepts get mobilized and contested in different contexts. Contributions also reflect on how public and political debates extend and distort concepts. The core premise of this volume is that migration- and diversity-related concepts are not neutral. As they become more popular, they typically become cross-concepts or passe-partout concepts, even abused concepts, used with a multiplicity of meanings. As multilayered concepts, they can serve several (even contradictory) paradigmatic, ideological, and normative positions, leading to either involuntary confusion but also to intended distortions. It is hence important to study how concepts are ideology dependent, policy/politics dependent, context dependent, discipline dependent, and language/media dependent. In other words, the same concept can be used differently in different languages (related to political tradition and ideology too), mirroring different normative visions on how to govern migration and diversity.
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hal-03519633 , version 1 (10-01-2022)


  • HAL Id : hal-03519633 , version 1


Ricard Zapata-Barrero, Dirk Jacobs, Riva Kastoryano. Introduction - Conceptual thinking in migration studies. Ricard Zapata-Barrero, Dirk Jacobs, Riva Kastoryano (eds). Contested Concepts in Migration Studies, Routledge, 2022, Routledge Series on Global Order Studies, 9780367634834. ⟨hal-03519633⟩
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