How Relevant is Migration Research?

Quale “rilevanza” hanno gli studi sulla migrazione? Come viene percepito, definito e valutato il fenomeno migratorio? Per chi, nel dibattito pubblico, politico e sociale è rilevante la ricerca sulla migrazione e cosa spiega il divario tra la rilevanza che ci si aspetta abbia (o che si aspira ad avere) e quella effettiva?

Venerdì 3 febbraio, dalle 9, presso la Sala Professori del Dipartimento di Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale dell’Università di Trento si terrà un workshop per indagare questi aspetti a partire dall’esperienza professionale e personale dei e delle docenti coinvolte.

What does relevance mean in migration studies? How is it perceived, defined, and assessed? To what readerships, public and social or political debates is migration research relevant, and what accounts for the gap between its expected (or aspired) and actual relevance? 

Much recent debate on the dissemination and communication of research findings, in terms of more or less credible and sustainable strategies and practices, has been driven by similar questions – as much as by more normative ones of accountability and ethical compliance. As many colleagues share the perception of a limited relevance of their own research out of a strictly academic domain, it is worth discussing the merit, but also the modes, of a potentially deeper and larger relevance.

What are, for instance, the prospects and dilemmas of entangling knowledge production and dissemination with arts and humanities, with socio-political activism, or with the use of participatory and transformative methodologies? Does this vary along with disciplinary backgrounds, substantive research subjects, target groups, and personal values or motivations? 

Based on the individual experience of each participant, our workshop will feed into the ongoing conversation on the societal and political relevance of migration studies, particularly with regard to its potential for informing public debate and reaching out to a diverse audience of readers and interlocutors. How far, and under what conditions, can migration scholars undermine the principled divide between “opponents” and “supporters” on all that has to do with migration? Is it in their remit, and in their potential, to pave the way for less exclusionary attitudes toward mobile or displaced individuals and social groups?

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