In current research about migration, there is a growing interest in the ways in which knowledge shapes migration and the experiences and apparatuses connected to it. Researchers, thus, draw attention to the categories, technologies, and data that inform border and migration policies (and vice versa). They point to the ways in which different mobilities come to be categorized, ordered and made legible to the state. They explore how the production of mobile subjects such as “the expat” or “the illegal migrant” is interconnected with specific imaginations of nations, societies or empires. Or they guide the view to the structures and assumptions that shape the politics of expertise in migration studies and related fields. Our conference approaches the interconnection between the production of knowledge and migration by placing a particular emphasis on the struggles that centre on peoples’ mobilities and their ‘correct’ quantification, categorization and interpretation. In order to make these conflicts intelligible, we propose to apply the notion of moral economies as it has been discussed in different disciplines recently.

Conflicts about migration and its effects as well as the struggles of migrants themselves often lay bare not only the different experiences and socioeconomic situations of the many actors involved but also their conflicting worldviews and value systems. We suggest taking a closer look at how different imagined geographies and ideas of justice, community, and belonging structure these conflicts. Using the notion of moral economies, we aim to systematically reflect the moral positions that guide the production of knowledge on migration as well as the different political and societal contexts in which this production takes place.

We suggest exploring the moral economies of researchers and other knowledge producers by examining the material and moral dimensions of knowledge practices on the ground and by focusing on the various people and artefacts bound together by these practices. Moreover, we propose taking a closer look at the ways in which both mobile people and their various observers navigate and influence the political, moral, social and economic landscapes in which their activities are situated. In doing so, we seek to advance a globally conscious understanding of the knowledge production on migration as a highly situated set of practices.

The conference is organized by the Resarch Group ›The Production of Knowledge on Migration‹ in cooperation with IMISCOE’s Standing Committee ›Reflexive Migration Studies‹.