Reinforcing the already “known”

Do migration researchers reinforce what we already know? Are they critical enough?

Professor May-Len Skilbrei is academically well known for her work on migration, prostitution, gender and trafficking. Skilbrei heads the project MIGMA Transnationalism from above and below. Photo: UiO.

These were some of the questions on the role of research in migration management May-Len Skilbrei addressed at the Nordic Migration Research Conference. According to Skilbrei; what is researched and what we know about migration and migrants is political because it is influenced by priorities from different authorities.

These are core themes in the research project MIGMA - Transnationalism from above and below supported by the RCN which Skilbrei leads.

The politics of migration research

In addition to her paper about the role of research in migration management Skilbrei also headed a session on unequal returns together with Erlend Paasche at the Nordic Migration Research Conference. By unequal return they point to how social inequality affects practices and outcomes of return policies. At the session Skilbrei presented a paper on how how assumptions about migratory decisions are integrated in European politicians’ attempts to reduce the number of arrivals of third country nationals.

Jørgen Carling from PRIO, also delivered a paper as well as a prepared comment on one of the keynote speeches. Carlings paper was on “The Transnational Ideal: Preferred Futures among Immigrants in Europe”. Photo: Heidi Østbø Haugen. 

When Norwegian Minister of Immigration, Sylvi Listhaug, make statements on making Norwegian immigration policies to ‘send signals’ to prospective migrants, she seems to assume that this will be heard and responded to in a predictable way. But such ‘signals’ might as well produce other outcomes or drown in or be cancelled out by all the other information migrants receive from friends, family, NGOs, social media and human smugglers, Skilbrei contends.    



By Ingvild Knævelsrud Rabe, Per Jørgen Ystehede
Published Aug. 16, 2016 11:51 AM - Last modified Aug. 16, 2016 11:54 AM