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Call for Papers: Migrant-led Diversification and Differential Inclusion in Arrival Cities across Asia (Singapore, 8/20-8/21/2019)

Posted: 3/18/2019 (Conference)


Migrant-led Diversification and Differential Inclusion in Arrival Cities across Asia


DATE : 20-21 August 2019
VENUE : AS8, Level 4, Seminar Room 04-04
10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260
National University of Singapore @ Kent Ridge Campus

Organised by Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, and supported by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Migration matters are spatial and temporal matters. Under increasingly unstable global conditions, migration is not only increasing but also diversifying. Although there remains much to be learnt from European and North American contexts, existing conceptualizations of urban diversity also remain inadequate for capturing the distinctive diversity of Asian cities such as Singapore and Hong Kong (Roy and Ong, 2011). Arrival cities, such as those in Asia, are shaped by wide-ranging temporal and spatial dimensions of migrant-driven diversification (Lai, Collins and Yeoh, 2013; Saunders, 2010). Transnational migrants from an ever-increasing range of backgrounds are moving into cities as low-waged labour migrants, high-status expatriates, student migrants and marriage migrants (Yeoh, 2013). These closely related processes of migration and diversification have prompted greater scrutiny of how contemporary arrival cities incorporate increasingly diverse groups of newcomers. Further, the expansion of cities is increasingly premised upon the expansion of migrant management. Various modes of migrant management include and exclude in different ways, generating different migrant subjectivities (Ye, 2017; 2018). It can be argued that the productive power of migrant management at the scales of policy and the everyday plays a significant role in reproducing migrant-led diversification (Nail, 2015; Ye, 2018). These processes of inclusion and exclusion that are integral to migrant-led diversification also unfold unevenly across the cityscape, inhering in specific sites and locales with different outcomes. Places such as the lawn (Watson, 2009), public transport (Wilson, 2011), weekend enclaves (Goh, 2014), retail spaces (Yeoh and Huang, 1998) and markets (Terruhn and Ye, under review) are spaces where both newcomers and longer term residents co-exist with difference of various configurations. Examining these everyday spaces of urban life, social science scholarship is now raising new questions about the study of social difference. On the one hand, these are spaces of exclusion, discrimination, and prejudice and on the other, they can also be spaces of mixing, integration and living with difference.

Indeed, migrant-led (super)diversification in these cities is transforming how difference is generated, experienced, and managed (Amin, 2012; Nayak, 2017; Vertovec, 2007). That is to say, the diversification of peoples in the city is also paralleled by the diversification of migrant management and, consequently, how various migrants themselves challenge and reinscribe the dominant use of spaces in the city. Instead of beginning with the conventional focus on exclusion and expulsion, the key theoretical point of departure for this workshop is that inclusion and exclusion are both sides of the same coin. Our conversations will think through the constitution of “diversity” by examining how various migrant groups are differently included.

Paper proposals might respond to the following questions in the context of arrival cities across Asia:

  •  How do strategies of state actors and institutions sort, regulate, constitute, and set the terms of diversity?
    •    How do these strategies constitute the politics of everyday coexistence in shared spaces?
    •    What do these modes of migrant and diversity management mean for the figure of the migrant?
    •    How do migrant groups respond to these wider state and/or municipal policies?
    •    What form does difference take in the diversifying Asian city? What does different-making look like in the diversifying Asian city? Where are the borders located?
    •    What are the implications of differential inclusion for belonging and citizenship?


Submissions should include a title, an abstract of no more than 250 words and a brief biography including name, institutional affiliation, and email contact. Please note that only previously unpublished papers or those not already committed elsewhere can be accepted. By participating in the workshop, you agree to participate in the future publication plans of the organizers. The organizers will provide hotel accommodation for three nights and a contribution towards airfare for accepted paper participants (one author per paper).

Please submit your proposal using the provided template to Ms Tay Minghua at no later than 30 April 2019. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out in mid May 2019. Participants will be required to send in a completed draft paper (5,000-8,000 words) by 31 July 2019.



Dr Junjia YE
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
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Prof Brenda S.A. YEOH
Asia Research Institute, and Department of Geography, National University of Singapore
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Deadline: 04/30/2019

Location: National University of Singapore