Workshop on “Lived transnationalism in times of violent conflict – Cross-border connections and mobilities of people, goods and capital”

Violent conflicts set people into motion and change existing social relations. More specifically, large-scale wars and localised conflicts not only force people to flee from violence but transform pre-existing mobility patterns, often rupturing the rhythms and routes of movement. As a consequence, new forms of social practises across international borders and of 'transnational living' (Carling et al. 2021) are established. This two-day symposium, which is co-organised by the IMISCOE Standing Committee on Migrant Transnationalism (MITRA) and the BMBF-funded project Forced Migration and Refugee Studies: Networking and Knowledge Transfer (FFVT), seeks to unpack how transnational mobilities and connectivities come into being and change under the conditions of violent conflicts, and how they shape the lives of those who are transnationally (dis)entangled.

So far, practices of transnationalism in the context of violent conflict are a marginal theme within studies of migrant transnationalism (e.g., the recent handbook on transnationalism by Yeoh and Collins (2022) hardly mentions conflict or displacement at all). Nonetheless, refugees and other migrants’ multi-directional mobilities and transnational networks in the context of war, insecurity and (protracted) displacement have been studied for more than 20 years (Al-Ali et al. 2001; Horst 2006; van Hear 2006; Monsutti 2008; Harpviken 2014; Etzold et al. 2019; Horstmann et al. 2019; Betts et al. 2021; D’Angelo 2021; Zuntz 2021; Etzold and Fechter 2022; Tobin et al. 2022; Vancluysen 2022). Still, large gaps in research remain. Displaced people’s multiple border crossings, e.g. for family visits and business activities, between countries of origin and neighbouring countries, and their specific transnational entanglements in wider kin networks and/or diaspora organisations affect their ways of ‘doing family’, ‘doing business’ or ‘doing politics’ across a multitude of countries.

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