Call for Papers: ISA Annual Meeting 2015

Migration Governance in the Post-“Arab Spring” Middle East

One of the most critical challenges to arise from the ‘Arab Spring’ has been the need to address a number of migration-related issues across the region. Over the past three and a half years, governments have had to tackle new waves of refugees or political asylum seekers, diasporic empowerment in states’ electoral and constitutional processes, transnational political activism, and long debates around questions of citizenship and nationality. While some research is being conducted on aspects of this complex phenomenon (namely its legal, security, and domestic political economy components), scant attention has been paid to the evolving policy framework concerning migration governance within the Middle East.

The rationale behind this panel is that the growing politicization of these migratory phenomena in the post-2011 Middle East leaves a number of issues unaddressed: what are the changes in the multilateral, regional, inter-regional, bilateral, or state institutions that shape migration governance in the MENA region? To what extent are such institutions formal, informal, or a combination of the two? How do migration policies shape or respond to migration flows, and how do they interact with other policies (security, trade, aid)? Have different policies been enacted toward low- or high-skilled labor migration, irregular migration, human trafficking and smuggling, refugees or asylum-seekers, and what do these differences tell us about state preferences? In the absence of a formal multilateral framework regulating states’ responses to migratory pressures, to what extent does migration governance reflect local, national, and regional power hierarchies?

We invite papers that address these questions focusing both on individual case studies within the Middle East, and the regional context. The panel will be submitted to the ISA “Ethnicity, Nationalism, & Migration Studies” Section. Please send a title and abstract (fewer than 50 and 200 words, respectively) to Kelsey Norman ( and Gerasimos Tsourapas ( by Sunday, May 18.

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