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Migrant Entrepreneurs and B/Order Asymmetries as a Resource

Panel Conveners

Carolin Leutloff-Grandits
Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION
European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)
Judith Möllers
Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO)
Ulf Brunnbauer
Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS)

The Call

In their function of migration management, state borders often pose a barrier which is difficult to cross, especially for so called third-country nationals who want to enter the EU. Goods and capital, on the other hand, seem to cross state and EU borders relatively unhindered – or at least under different conditions. In this panel, we want to link migration and material and financial cross-border flows and ask in which way migrant entrepreneurs use borders as a resource in order to open a profitable firm in their countries of origin – be it for the national market or an international one, or both. More generally, we want to focus on the meaning of borders for migrant entrepreneurs and their enterprises. For this, we understand borders not only as lines on the map, dividing two states, but also as social and symbolic boundaries dividing those socially constructed as “us” from “them”, creating differences which can be - among others - also economically exploited.

For our panel, we invite contributions that address the following questions from a variety of disciplinary (social anthropology, sociology, history, economics, and others), as well as interdisciplinary approaches:

  • To what extent do (state and EU) border asymmetries – be it in the form of finances, access to labor and sales markets and tax conditions, human mobilities etc. impact on the material and non-material flows across borders and may be successfully used or also represent obstacles for migrant entrepreneurs and their businesses?
  • In which way do migrant entrepreneurs rely on knowledge, ideas and networks achieved and maintained “across the border” in order to open and run their businesses?
  • In which way do border asymmetries find entry in the branding of certain products as “German” or “EU standard”, as such implying to be of a high(er) quality, and what kind of imaginaries and hierarchies, as well as economic success are built in them?
  • In which way does the (state) border serve as a development marker, and what kind of implications does this have for businesses opened by migrants, but also for the communities in question? In which way can our findings contribute to a critical conceptualization of “development”?

Please send an abstract (300-400 words) and a short bios of the presenter (affiliation, academic background) to:
Deadline for sending abstracts: 10/31/2022