Chair: Andrea Carlà- Eurac Research (

Panel to be submitted to Section 35- International Migration Policies and Politics: Current Challenges and Opportunities

Panel abstract:

Though minority issues have long been linked to security considerations, in the past decades, greater attention has been given to the concept of securitization, namely the process through which an issue is considered an existential threat requiring exceptional measures. Securitization has become a recurrent theme in regards to both ‘old’ (national, ethnic, linguistic, religious) minorities as well as migration issues and the settling of ‘new’ minorities stemming from recent migratory flows. As a consequence of securitization, minority members and migrants have become targets of reactionary, exclusionary and discriminatory policies. Thus, there remains  the great challenge of how to contest and reverse such processes (Balzaq, 2015), in particular how to de-securitize minority issues and minority communities. 

As the antithesis of securitisation, de-securitization refers to the process by which an issue is taken out of the emergency mode and is brought back to normal political bargaining dynamics; though the concept has a variety of theorizations (Hansen, 2012). Whereas scholars have long investigated and debated the concept of securitization of minorities, less is known about its twin process through which migrant and minority communities could be de-securitized. Indeed, de-securitization of minorities has been mostly debated on the theoretical level (Huysman, 1995; Roe, 2004; Jutilia, 2006; Aradau 2015); fewer studies have looked at how such a process unfolds in practice, often lingering on the role of potential de-securitizing actors at the international level (Galbreath and McEvoy 2012; Nancheva, 2017; Skleparis, 2018). Empirical research in this regard is scattered. Neither has research on de-securitization dialogued much with the extensive scholarship on policy tools to address ethnic issues and deal with minorities, whether old minorities (e.g. power-sharing, consociationalism, minority rights) or new migrant communities (e.g. multicultural policies, intercultural initiatives, civic integration practices). There remains much to explore in how institutional and legal/policy solutions interplay with de-securitization processes and how to translate the concept of de-securitization in legal and policy measures.

The aim of the panel is to fill these gaps, bringing together empirical analyses of discourses and practices of de-securitization vis-à-vis both the migrant population and old national/ethnic minorities. Situated at the intersection between security studies, migration studies, and scholarship on minority rights/protection, the panel addresses questions such as: How can de-securitisation of minorities be achieved? Through which specific dynamics does it unfold? Why does it occur and what are its cause modes? Under what conditions could minorities be de-securitized? When is it possible to speak of successful de-securitization? How should de-securitization be measured? Who can act as de-securitizing actors? To what extent and in what way specific policy tools to deal with minorities, such as multicultural measures, recognition of minority rights or power-sharing mechanisms, spark processes of de-securitization? Which institutional solutions and policies for minorities best foster processes of de-securitization?

The panel is open to contributions from different disciplines in a comparative and/or single case perspective.

In order to submit your proposal, send an abstract of no more than 400 words to

The deadline for submission is the 1st of February 2020!

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