Category Archives: Sessions 2019-2020

White Vanishing and Settler Colonial Anxiety in the 1975 Film “Picnic at Hanging Rock”

Costanza Bergo (Researcher at the University of New South Wales)  

 13 December 2019, 11:00-12:30, Sala del Camino, Villa Salviati

organised by the Visual and Material History Working Group

Settler colonial landscape is increasingly understood as a spatial project produced by imagined geographies. This fantasy-scape is a separate entity from physical, occupied landscape; yet it always maintains a relation to it and can manifests spatially.

Settler colonialism operates as a structure that must be continuously performed, asserted and naturalised. Part of what allows this structure to be naturalised is a network of affective registers: a structure of feelings. My research argues that part of the ways in which this structure of feelings is enacted is through landscape representation.

Considering settler colonial landscape in this way, this paper will focus on the 1975 movie Picnic at Hanging Rock. The movie centres around the fictional disappearance of four Victorian schoolgirls during a day trip at nearby Hanging Rock. While the story is entirely fictional, the movie’s lasting legacy has sparked real-life search parties and a large body of historical research which goal is to find the imaginary missing girls. By contrast, history of Indigenous massacres in the same area have been entirely overlooked. This paper will analyse the trope of white vanishing, and of mythology of the Australian landscape as threat, as symbiotic features of the various ‘moves to innocence’ enacted by the white nation to (unsuccessfully) distance itself from the violence of colonialism. I will consider the paradox of imagined geographies revolving around instability manifesting spatially as concrete, permanent structures, such as the real-life Hanging Rock discovery centre.

Asylum : Legal, Normative and Quantitative Perspectives

Leonora Milazzo (PhD Researcher, SPS Department, EUI

Omar Hammoud Gallego (PhD Candidate, London School of Economics)

Michele Gigli ( Researcher, Law Department, EUI)

26 November 2019, 11:00 – 12:30, Seminar Room, Villa Malafrasca

As part of the Migration Working Group, the Migration Policy Centre will host the following presentations:

Doing more than one’s fair share: refugee protection in the EU and the ‘”coalition of the willing” scenario

The extent to which EU member states host refugees varies greatly. While it would be an overstatement to say that any of them is meeting the demands of inter-state solidarity in full, some states are actually doing more than others. What should those member states that are closer to doing their fair share do in the face of responsibility shirking by other fellow member states? Do they have a duty to take up the slack until effective protection is granted to the greatest number of refugees? Is this duty enforceable? And how should they respond to the risk of being the ‘suckers’?
To address these highly relevant questions, Eleonora Milazzo engages with the existing literature on the duty to take up the slack when refugee protection is at stake. In her paper she tests the so-called ‘coalition of the willing’ scenario as a way to bring the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) closer to what justice requires under non-ideal conditions. She demonstrates how this is a way to strive for EU-wide solidarity while, at the same time, ensuring that we do not leave our duties to refugees unmet for the sake of greater intra-EU fairness.

When countries expand refugee protection: democratisation, government ideology and policy diffusion in Latin America

What drove the countries of an entire region to significantly expand refugee protection at the dawn of the 21st century? In this paper Omar Hammoud Gallego & Luisa Feline Freier (Universidad del Pacífico, Lima, Perú) take a mixed methods approach to explain the legislative liberalisation of refugee protection across Latin America. First, they use newly codified data from the Asylum Policies in Latin America (APLA) database to show policy liberalisation and convergence across the region; applying 57 different indicators on policy measures from 19 Latin American countries for a 29-years period. Building a series of nested Ordinary Least Square (OLS), robust regressions and country-fixed effect models, they authors then use the same data set to test conventional and region-specific determinants of policy liberalisation and convergence identified by the literature. In a third step the authors build on 175 in-depth elite interviews to shed light on the causal mechanisms behind these correlations, thus lending causal validity to our previous empirical findings. The authors find that conventional explanations such as migration and refugee stocks, the state of the economy and regional integration do not hold, whereas democratisation and government ideology are key to explaining legislative convergence and liberalisation across the region. The paper thus makes an important contribution towards understanding the determinants of refugee policies outside of Western receiving states.

Externalization and data sharing: an increasing risk for asylum seekers

By 2020, an interoperable system of migration focused databases (Smart Border Package (SBP)) will become operational at EU level. This system is sharing third country nationals’ information to track irregular migrants for public security purposes, by combining data from multiple databases through a Common Identity Repository. This increased use of Surveillance Technologies would make it easier to identify so-called ‘risky elements’, but this system has been judged disproportionately intrusive for what it intends to achieve.

Furthermore, it is not clear to what extent the legislation regulating SBP makes provision of collaboration with neighbouring countries, in particular what kinds of data are supposed to be shared, and for which purposes.

The paper by Michele Gigli discusses the main challenges the information-sharing between EU and non-EU actors entails for fundamental rights of migrants, in particular those in need of protection. It relies on recent practices of externalisation of migration control and on actual asylum policies at EU level.

The paper argues, that the collaboration fostered by the SBP is ultimately aimed at implementing invisible ‘remote control’ initiatives to restrict asylum seekers’ legal guarantees, such as the non-refoulment principle, and prevents that EU states are held accountable.

Chairs and Discussants

Leiza Brumat (Research Fellow, Migration Policy Centre)

Lukas Schmid (PhD Researcher, SPS Department)

Migration, Citizenship and Public Perceptions

Rueyling Tzeng (MPC Visiting Fellow)

Lenka Drazanova (MPC Research Associate)

19 November 2019, 11:00–12:30, Seminar Room, Villa Malafrasca

As part of its seminar series, the Migration Policy Centre will host the following presentations:

Threat, Contact and Social Relationships: Public Perceptions of Immigrants in Italy, Germany, Sweden, Spain and Austria

The large literature on immigrant integration is primarily focused on ways that immigrants assimilate economically, socially, and politically into their host societies, while generally overlooking the perspectives of native citizens. Since integration entails relational concepts involving the reciprocal positions of migrants and natives, public perceptions of social relationships with immigrants are clearly important. However, researchers have shown a tendency to overemphasize the acceptance or rejection of increases in immigration flow when analysing public attitudes. This research is based on the belief that social relations provide more detailed information than abstract ideas about immigration flow regarding social interaction contexts. I use the concept of social distance as described by Emory Bogardus to define six dimensions of social relations—specifically, I look at how natives feel about having immigrants as family members, friends, neighbours, managers, colleagues, or personal physicians. A data set from Eurobarometer 88.2 (October 2017) is used to analyse how threat theory and contact theory explain public perceptions of social relations between natives and immigrants in Italy, Germany, Sweden, Spain and Austria, and to identify patterns and differences among them.

Blame it on My Youth: The Origins of Attitudes Towards Immigration

This paper investigates how the political climate during a person’s youth affects his or her attitudes towards immigration in adulthood. We analyse why cohorts formulate distinct patterns in attitudes towards immigration through a collective process of political socialization during the formative years. The theoretical arguments are tested using hierarchical age-period-cohort modelling across twelve cohorts in nine European countries using micro attitudinal data (2002 – 2016) integrated with historical macro political data. We find that contextual exposure to principles of equality and tradition in the formative political climate are central to the formulation of a person’s attitudes towards immigration later in life. While the prevalence of the principle of equality affects immigration attitudes in adulthood positively, the principle of tradition does so negatively. The findings imply that even subtle and cyclical shifts in national politics affect the political orientations of those undergoing the process of political socialization.