[URBANTH-L]CFP: Love, Sexuality and Migration

Angela Jancius acjancius at ysu.edu
Thu May 11 11:41:30 EDT 2006

From: Laura Agustín <laura at nodo50.org>

Hello everyone, 

If there is anyone out there working on both sexuality and migration issues, please note the following meeting in June for which there is a little money for inter-European travel. IMISCOE is an EC-funded academic network on migration.

Best, Laura Agustin

Call for Papers
Meeting of IMISCOE Cluster C8 on 'Love, Sexuality and Migration'
9-10 June 2006
University of Sussex, UK
Deadline: 14 May.

In current analyses of motivations for migration, issues of love and sexuality are seldom considered as central factors. Yet the desire to join a partner living in a foreign country, to pursue a richer emotional or sexual life, to escape persecution and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or to express one's sexual identity more fully are powerful drives in the imagination and enactment of mobility. Many migrations begin with romance, infatuation or 'real love', which can be powerful and necessary motivators for assuming the risks involved in trying to get a better life. The fact that some of these relationships sour later on, or that one (or both) of the people had or has exploitative plans, does not diminish the importance of the original feeling. In fact, only the affective dimension can explain many migrations.

So far, the complex interlocking between love and migration has been mainly addressed by research on 'prostitution' and 'trafficking', which has focussed narrowly on whether migrants knew they would be selling sex and whether they were coerced or forced to do it. Hegemonic meanings of these terms define the interconnections between sex, intimacy and mobility as inherently and exclusively exploitative, and deny the emotional ambivalence shaping the relations involved.

Moreover, these discursive practices play a key role in the construction of Europe (or the West) as a space of emotional and civic superiority and in enforcing cripplingly restrictive migration policies which produce 'trafficking' as a social and economic phenomenon.

This group will investigate migrations that involve:

- love for a boy or girlfriend, for a tourist, for a 'pimp' or 'trafficker', for a (future) husband or wife, for a parent, for a child;
- the desire to escape prejudice and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation;
- the desire for a more fulfilling expression of sexual identity and for a richer emotional life.

Please contact both cluster convenors by 14 May with questions or an abstract. It will not be necessary to write a full paper for this meeting:

Dr Laura Agustín 
Geography Department 
Loughborough University 
laura at nodo50.org

Dr Nick Mai
ISET (Institute for the Study of European Transformations) London Metropolitan University n.mai at londonmet.ac.uk

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