Professor Jean-Pierre CASSARINO gives a keynote speech at the online IMISCOE Symposium

Professor Jean-Pierre CASSARINO gave a keynote speech entitled "Return migration: Two words, too many meanings" at the online IMISCOE Symposium which took place on 15 September 2020 (from 12:00 to 17:00 CET time). The event was co-chaired by Dr Zana VATHI, Professor Russell KING and Dr Barak KALIR.

Below you can find the abstract of Professor CASSARINO's speech:

Concepts and notions are seldom set in stone. Words do not always mean what they used to. That meaning may change as we enter a new epoch, we have all learned. History abounds with examples. Thinkers and scholars across disciplines have already denounced the dangers of fuzzy notions, euphemisms and metaphors in policy discourses: Edward BERNAYS, Hannah ARENDT, Karl JASPERS, Raul HILBERG, Victor KLEMPERER, Albert CAMUS, Václav HAVEL, to mention but a few. Beyond their inherent diversity, they all note the extraordinary degree of rationalization that new categories of thought and euphemistic constructs can acquire once they are produced by governmental institutions and repeated by the public. In other words, production and repetition are two sides of the same coin; a coin that bears the effigy of a system of diffusion.

The presentation will address the notion of ‘return migration’ – a highly contemporary case study which constitutes a clear illustration of the challenges mentioned above. It will focus on how and why the meaning of ‘return’ has changed substantially over the last two decades. Before the turn of the century it by and large described a free and individual choice on the part of the migrant, but over the last two decades it has increasingly been equated with deportation or expulsion in migration talks. It is important to understand the rationale behind this shift and to highlight its manifold implications. This endeavour has a strong political, epistemological and ethical relevance. What is this shift symptomatic of?

Further details about the programme of the event are available here.