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Hospitality and Hostility towards Migrants: Global Perspectives

With International Migrants Day around the corner, we are proud to present the inaugural volume of Migration and Society. Here is a note from the editors.


Mette Louise Berg and Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh

Throughout history, migration, forced and otherwise, has been at the heart of the transformation of societies and communities and it continues to touch the lives of people across the globe. Migration is, in all its heterogeneity, a multi-directional process that is intrinsically related to diverse forms of encounters: with and between different people and objects, places and spaces, temporalities and materialities, beliefs and desires, and sociocultural and political systems.

In the inaugural issue of Migration and Society, we reflect on the complex and often contradictory nature of such encounters by focusing on diverse dynamics of hospitality and hostility towards migrants around the world and in different historical contexts. We do so with the firm belief that in a world of increasing inequality, hostile politics, and wall building that seek to keep migrants and refugees out, there is both a need and a space for a forum such as Migration and Society to instead build bridges: between scholars, practitioners, and activists in the global North and the global South, and between the social sciences, the humanities, and the arts.

Discourses, practices, and policies of hospitality and hostility towards migrants and refugees raise urgent moral, ethical, political, and social questions. In seeking to answer such questions, we can benefit from empirically and theoretically grounded scholarship showing the social embeddedness, nuances, and ambiguities of situated practices of hospitality and hostility. Resisting the largely myopic, ahistorical, and isolationist responses that governments and media have developed to migrant arrivals in the global North, our inaugural volume includes critical reflections that aim to situate current practices in a deeper and wider historical and geographical context.

It is our hope that readers will enjoy the theoretically and empirically rich research articles alongside contributions in our journal’s four additional regular sections: People and Places; Reflections; Creative Encounters; and Book Reviews. These sections provide a space for pieces that reflect on the complexities of both studying and teaching migration, as well as focusing on the relationship between scholarship and the policies and politics of migration.

We also hope that readers will in turn consider joining our community by contributing to the journal as authors, artists, practitioners, reviewers, and guest editors, to enable us to collectively publish work that pays attention to experiences, representations, and conceptualizations of migration and the way it is socially, historically, culturally, and legally grounded. We will continue to especially welcome critical theoretical perspectives on migration, which carefully engage with power dynamics, identity politics, and structural inequalities, including perspectives that are truly global in scope.


The following articles are free to access until December 31, 2018.

I. Research Articles

Hospitality: A Timeless Measure of Who We Are?  

Elena Isayev

Undoing Traceable Beginnings: Citizenship and Belonging among Former Burundian Refugees in Tanzania  

Patricia Daley, Ng’wanza Kamata and Leiyo Singo

II. People and Places: Cities and Universities as Sanctuaries

Migration and Citizenship in “Athens of Crisis”: An Interview with Vice Mayor Lefteris Papagiannakis  

Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou and Nina Papachristou

Sanctuary City Organizing in Canada: From Hospitality to Solidarity  

David Moffette and Jennifer Ridgley

III. Reflections

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Refugee and Migration Studies: Lessons from Collaborative Research on Sanctuary in the Changing Times of Trump  

Sara Vannini, Ricardo Gomez, Megan Carney and Katharyne Mitchell

Refugia Roundtable

Nicholas Van Hear, Veronique Barbelet, Christina Bennett and Helma Lutz

IV. Creative Encounters

Once, I Lived in a House with a Name  

Mohamed Assaf and Kate Clanchy