Not Far But Beyond

The concept of new-wave forced migration is a contemporary dimension of a multifaceted phenomenon: First, it has an economic-political basis stemming from persecution or conflict. It is directly linked to new modes of exchange and uneven development, being a kind of human resource transference, whose formation and reproductive costs are not paid by the destination countries. Second, the direct causes of forced migration can be identified as serious human rights violations or armed conflict, but these causes can often overlap with or be provoked by economic-political marginalization, poverty, environmental degradation, population pressure and poor governance. Third, it has been experiencing the establishment of a different form of transnational mobilization that transcends the demands of neoliberal capitalism for a transnational labour regime and extends beyond the borders of nation states. The essential characteristic of transnational space is crossing geographic, cultural and political borders, and the multiplicity of involvements; transmigrants develop new spheres of experience and new fields of social relations. These new transnational experiences challenge traditional notions related to migration. This pluri-local mobility can create multiple possibilities for new forms of agencies which to analyze new-wave displacement would be the stratification of the mobilization.

On the other hand, forced migrations usually occur in waves triggered by specific events affecting specific groups of people. Excluding displacements targeting minorities, there have been five major waves of migration with distinctive characteristics from Turkey to Germany: economic migration –1960s, political migration –1980s, Kurdish political migration –1990s, brain drain –2000s and multifaceted post-Gezi political migration since 2013. This last wave, new-wave forced migration/displacement, has periodically increased in severity as its reasons have not disappeared. This displacement movement, with local and transnational articulations, results from a particular conjuncture of the interaction of global and local dynamics. The subject of this violence is the intersectional resistance of those who have stood for freedom, equality, diversity, cultural pluralism, human rights and democracy since the Gezi Resistance in Turkey.  Since this new-wave migration –which gained momentum right after Gezi in 2013 and following the cancellation of the 2015 general election, with threads after the declaration of the peace petition in 2016 and coup attempt in 2016– has some distinct fundamental features compared to the previous waves, in order to provide a framework, we define it as new-wave displacement. This multi-layered, multi-wave displacement is referred to as “new-exiles” by our Working Group on Exiled Intellectuals (NEWG) with the name of beyond all borders (bAb). 

What marks the new wave of displacement from the previous one and what reproduces the forms of displacement in the new country are also related with the “instabilities” that are imposed on every single aspect of professional and daily life. Change in the state and professional and daily life create more precarization for all and the conditions that triggered displacement. Given that even for the settled, the conditions for producing knowledge and arts are made immensely difficult due to temporary/short -term contracts, the already existing insecurity demands adaptation of outsiders/strangers, especially those who engage in counter-knowledge and the arts. The intellectual activities of those groups –journalists, politicians, academics, artists– have been interrupted demonstratively in their own countries. However, this rupture in intellectual activity also has a significant potential in displacement, which “in this metaphysical sense” means “restlessness, movement, constantly being unsettled, and unsettling others”.

Ultimately, the workshop lies in its focus on the potential of displacement “to change the conventional view on intellectual knowledge production relations” and its creating “possibilities for a new form of intellectual subjectivity” based on a 21st-century experience of displacement and the heterogeneous nature of the intellectuals forced to migrate from Turkey to Germany. Hence, the proposed call is aiming to address the vulnerabilities, challenges and agencies of displaced intellectuals from Turkey, acknowledging them as political and legal subjects instead of passive or fragile victims. It aims partly deal with the questions of the first topic focus titled “forced migration infrastructures” as well.

In this light, the call invites contributions linking four groups of new-wave displaced-intellectuals in Germany – journalists, politicians, academics, and artists, to analyze the intersections and divergences between to investigate vulnerabilities, challenges, and agencies in their professional and daily life.  The contributions may encompass research delving into the forced migration literature in theoretical, methodological, empirical, and policy objectives by focusing on the transnational dimensions of new-wave displaced intellectuals from Turkey and their agencies.