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Call for Papers

NGOs/CSOs, migration management and border control
Convenors and prospective editors: Paolo Cuttitta and Antoine Pécoud


A key aspect of the ongoing transformations in migration and border governance is the inclusion of non-state actors, including supra- and intergovernmental organizations, the private sector and civil society.
As far as civil society is concerned, research has looked at the diverse activities and attitudes – from resistance to support to restrictive state policies – of NGOs/CSOs, particularly in the ‘Global North’. It has also examined civil society in transnational spaces, such as rescue at sea in the Mediterranean. Recent scholarship has further documented the diversity of CSOs, from highly professionalized international NGOs to local grassroots organisations, and between human rights-based NGOs and more humanitarian-oriented organisations.

While conventional views about CSOs tend to position them in opposition to states and markets, there is evidence that these organisations play a more complex role. Building upon this scholarship, we invite papers that investigate the role(s) played by NGOs and CSOs in contemporary migration and border regimes, their relationship to state authorities and other actors in the field (such as international organisations, carriers, the border security industry, militias, smugglers, migrants, etc.), and their involvement in attempts to discipline and manage migration. Other key questions include the extent to which NGOs support migrants in challenging restrictive border policies, their relationship to humanitarianism and human rights, and the impact of their activities on the making and unmaking of territories and borders.

Papers that look at so-called ‘sending’ and ‘transit’ countries in the ‘Global South’ are particularly welcome, and so are contributions by junior researchers (advanced PhD students, postdocs) across disciplines. A webinar (or, depending upon the sanitary context, a seminar) will be organized in March 2021, in order to prepare the submission of a special issue to a leading journal in the field.

Abstracts (up to 250 words) should be sent, along with a short bio (up to 150 words), to Paolo Cuttitta () and Antoine Pécoud ().

Deadline for submission: Monday, 30 November
Response to authors: Friday, 18 December
Date of event: Monday 15 March 2021
Venue: t.b.d. (online platform or University of Sorbonne Paris Nord)

This call for papers is part of the EU-funded LIBORG project and the ANR PACE project, both at the University of Sorbonne Paris Nord.

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