'The new orders of difference': The Cultural Discourses and Texts of Economic Migration, 14-16 July 2004 Froebel College, Roehampton University of Surrey, London sw15



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'The new orders of difference': The Cultural Discourses and Texts of Economic Migration, 14-16 July 2004
Froebel College, Roehampton University of Surrey, London SW15

1. Teresa Hayter (author and activist, UK): The Campaign to Close Campsfield

Teresa Hayter’s numerous books include OpenBorders: The Case against Immigration Controls (2000), Exploited Earth: Britain’s Aid and the Environment (1989), The Creation of World Poverty (1981) and Aid as Imperialism (1974). She has been involved in the campaign to close the Campsfield detention centre in Oxford since 1983, and has been a member of the Barbed Wire Britain network since it was set up in 2000.

When the Campaign to Close Campsfield was set up in 1994 we agreed that our policy would be to call for the end of 'racist immigration controls'. Most of us believed, and still believe, that this means calling for the end of all immigration controls. After many years of campaigning for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, and in particular against their imprisonment without trial or time limit, and with minimal rights to bail, in Campsfield and elsewhere, we are more than ever convinced that the gross abuses of human rights and civil liberties will not end, and in fact will continue to get worse, until the whole repressive apparatus of immigration controls is abolished. It is not, in fact, possible to have partial, fair or non-racist immigration controls. Suffering is an unavoidable consequence of controls. It is indeed not some unintended consequence of controls, but is deliberate government policy; governments believe that the way to stop refugees and others coming here is to make them suffer. Governments, however repressive, are not very successful at preventing people from migrating, but currently their only response to what they perceive as a 'problem' is to increase the repression, and all the violations of human rights that follow. Yet they accept publicly that migration is in the self-interest of Britain, and apparently wish to allow the nationals of the EU accession states to come here freely to work.


It is absolutely essential that people who come here to work should also have rights equal to those of the rest of the population. The recent exposure of the appalling exploitation of so-called 'illegal' workers, including some whose asylum claims had been turned down, ought to make it clear that their vulnerability is the result of immigration controls and their lack of legal immigration status. But, in addition, the current proposals to allow more migrants to enter to work legally, but on short-term contracts without the employment and other rights enjoyed by British citizens, do not give them much greater security or protection from exploitative employers, since if they try to resist poor working conditions or for example join a trade union, they are likely to be sacked, which in turn means deportation, or illegality if they try to stay here. The fact that those who came to Britain from Commonwealth countries before the 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act had the same rights as all other British subjects obviously greatly strengthened their ability to resist ill-treatment by employers and protect their interests in general. More recently, in other European countries movements such as the Sans-Papiers point out that, if they do not have the same rights as others in the countries in which they are living and working, they will be used as a way of undermining those rights in the sectors in which they are working and eventually in society as a whole. As they say, they are forced to contribute to the precarisation of all workers.


In a similar way, the denial of the human rights and civil liberties of immigrants risks undermining the rights of everybody, including the right to a fair trial and the rule of law. It has led to the proposed introduction of identity cards, at first for foreigners and then for all residents. Some have warned that the operation of immigration controls is leading to a creeping fascisisation of society. And of course controls themselves were first introduced, in 1905 and again in 1962, as a result of pressure and agitation from racist and semi-fascist organisations. Far from reducing racism, they pander to it, legitimate it and feed it.


2. Nitasha Kaul (University of the West of England, UK): Working through and resisting the (b)orders of difference

Nitasha Kaul is a Lecturer at the School of Economics. She has written several scholarly papers in economic theory and philosophy, and feminist postcolonial studies – often with an interdisciplinary bent.


Border crossings are often celebrated in academic and popular discourse as being a symbol of resistance leading toward a progressive future. The transgressing creativity of border-crossers is the contemporary text of hybridity and is seen as challenging the hierarchical orders of difference. This is especially the case in feminist theory, border crossing has been the source of much creative intervention and debate (witness the metaphors of Anzaldua’s Mestizaje, Haraway’s cyborg, and so on).
However, this emancipatory implication of border crossing is brought to a standstill when the issue is one of national borders or when it involves economic migration. When it comes to the subject of nation-state and citizenship, even in a ‘globalizing’ world, borders assume a mythical significance, and challenges on the ground are largely seen as unwelcome transgressions.
In this paper, I intend to pursue two lines of enquiry. The first relates specifically to what determines views on economic migration, and the second takes up the question of border crossing more generally investigating the links with identity and epistemology.

Following the first theme, I intend to explore the views on migration from the political economic perspective. It is ironic that the free-market neoclassicals with their faith in the identity-less consumer and producer of capitalism, argue in favour of migrant workers. Even more surprising is the stance of the liberal left on this issue, especially within the (post) industrial societies. They argue that migration imposes a cost upon the welfare states and for this and many other reasons (including some arguing that difference itself imposes a cost in interaction) it should be restricted. For example, recently there has been a lot of discussion of the advantages and otherwise of commodification from a feminist perspective. Within feminist economics, there is suggestion that in specific cases relating to women and the labour market, the way to ensure a higher valuation for non-remunerative productive activities is to restrict immigration within specific nation-states. The resulting scarcity and changing preferences would ensure that these activities become productively remunerated on favourable terms within the marketplace. This is especially remarkable for the way in which these feminist and socialist transformatory and emancipatory projects choose to bridge difference, by making certain identities worthy of ethical concern at the expense of others.


This topics of ethics and difference is quite important since it points to the way in which ethical concern for wider humanity has since the Enlightenment been presented as universal while at the same time it is actually construed as a limited store of sympathy which is available in line with identity, and diminishes with geographical distance and otherness. This links to the second theme of my investigation which is an exploration of the epistemology of difference. How are the orders of difference constructed through the discourses and politics of migration, and what impact does this have (to adopt from Spivak, the irony of a capitalist society where individuals sees upward class mobility as resistance)? I will examine at the cultural politics of the construction of difference in many diverse contemporary texts from disciplinary academic to other popular discourse.
3. Tope Omoniyi (University of Surrey Roehampton, UK): Information Services Outsourcing and Migrational Anxieties

Tope Omoniyi is Senior Lecturer in Language and Linguistics, and a coordinator of the GIPSC Project. His numerous publications include The Sociolinguistics of Borderlands: Two Nations, One Community (2004). He is also a poet, and author of the verse collection Farting Presidents and Other Poems (2001).
Britain has been, and continues to be, the leading provider of information services in the world. According to Datamonitor, Britain alone has about 5,200 call centres that between them employ nearly half a million people in full time jobs; accounting for about 1.5% of all British jobs. However, since 2000 a large number of reputable establishments (BT, HSBC, Abbey National, Prudential, Lloyds TSB, Accentre, among others) have transferred services provided by such call centres to, particularly, India – where cheapness of labour, proficiency in the English language, and adequate technological know-how and infrastructural provision allow for lucrative deals on outsourced services. This has led to significant job losses in Britain: in July 2003 the analysts Key Note predicted 100,000 of the existing 600,000 call centre jobs in UK would disappear by the end of 2008, and research by the consultants Deloitte and Touche claimed India would be the main beneficiary of an expected outsourcing of 2 million, mainly administrative and technology-related, jobs by 2008. The Communications Workers Union (CWU) in Britain has conducted an energetic campaign to stem job losses, and the repercussions are being looked into by the government. In India, rising fortunes from information outsourcing are widely regarded as another symptom of the success of the move to economic liberalization initiated in the 1980s, a consolidation of the recent success of India’s software industry, and realization of the often-deferred promise of obtaining the top spot among developing nations. It has led to significant investment in education, and in the clarification of legalities that attach to the IT industry, off-shore trade and intellectual property.
Apart from pondering the economic and political considerations at stake, the debates that have surrounded outsourcing from Britain to India have extended to cultural factors. The provision of information services from India has been on the understanding that these would meet British standards and expectations. Most immediately this involves communication problems: very few Indians use English as a first language, and Indian English is different from standard British English. Consumers of information services in Britain have registered some dissatisfaction with outsourced services on this ground, and intensive language training facilities have been set up for outsourcing call centre workers. But the communication problem goes deeper: providing outsourced services often entails a virtual presence and intervention into a geo-cultural location where the worker is not physically located. Training a call centre worker in India therefore involves the inculcation of the social and cultural values and information needed to maintain a virtual presence, and being a call centre worker often involves assuming a virtual identity in interpersonal communication situations. These relatively recent cross-cultural communication situations and identity negotiations/shifts provide a complex field for cultural analysis.
This paper will examine some of these issues with two considerations in mind: (a) the debates about job losses appear to replicate, to a significant degree, past debates on job losses and devaluation of labour arising from economic migrations, except that in this case it is not labour but the jobs that are migrating; and (b) the cultural negotiations involved in the provision of outsourced information services seems to involve a new kind of economic migration – economically effective virtual migration.


4. David Richards (Open University, UK): Antibodies: migration, health, and dis-ease

David Richards is Director of the Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies, and a coordinator of the GIPSC Project. His numerous publications include Masks of Difference: Cultural Representations in Literature, Anthropology and Art (1994). He has conducted research in Nigeria and Morocco.
Since 1994, the World Health Organisation has been involved in monitoring the spread of drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in many countries worldwide, and in March 2004, Paul Sommerfeld, Chair of TB Alert, together with Dr. Mario Raviglione and Dr. Paul Nunn of WHO, published a global report on the spread of tuberculosis. Their findings make grim reading. The highest rates of MDR-TB are found in the former USSR, especially the Baltic States, and the report indicated that newly-identified areas with MDR-TB above 3% among new cases “pose great challenges to global TB control”. Although in the UK, MDR-TB cases have remained stable at around 1 - 1.5 % of cases for ten years or more, the global TB crisis has inflamed the national press and political debate on economic migration. While WHO experts agree that border controls have only a very small role to play in limiting the spread of the disease and that it is more effective to maintain TB services and improve access to them globally, freedom of movement within the expanded European Union and from countries outside the new EU borders have created a xenophobic public discourse in which migrants have been demonised as bearers of a new ‘plague’ infecting British citizens.

With statements such as London 'is the TB capital of the west' (Aug 4 2003) the Conservative party has proposed controversial plans for health tests for all new asylum seekers. Shadow health secretary Liam Fox pointed to the "frightening problem" of soaring rates of ‘imported infectious diseases’. The Conservatives propose compulsory screening of all new immigrants and asylum seekers before they are allowed to stay in the UK, also arguing that ‘the tests would stop people coming to Britain simply for free health care, draining the resources of the National Health Service, as well as help cut levels of infectious diseases brought to the country from overseas’. “London is now the TB capital of the western world because we have such high rates coming in. We now have higher rates of TB in London than in places such as Azerbaijan. It's becoming quite a frightening problem.” Press responses from some quarters have systematically associated economic migrants and asylum seekers with the disease and in the process linked it with poverty, lack of hygiene, sexuality, and criminality, particularly in relation to Eastern Europe and Central Asia where drug resistant tuberculosis levels are ten times higher than in the UK. And yet, ironically, the history of the disease shows that TB is now being re-imported from endemic countries - often in Asia, Africa or Eastern Europe - as TB was exported from Europe to the rest of the world in the last century when 1 in 4 people in Europe died of the "white plague".

Yet a more sinister element exists in the public responses to the disease and its association with economic migrants. With MDR-TB presented as a significant risk to public health, doctors and policy makers are increasingly concerned about the issues raised by individuals who are ‘non-compliant’ with treatment. Dr Richard Coker
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has raised concerns about the ethics of isolation and civic commitment of these individuals, and about current laws governing public health in the UK and abroad. Detention is already a reality - in the UK, detention of a patient can be authorised by a JP if he/she decides that other people are at serious risk of infection. Dr Coker has pointed out that this system has “few safeguards from abuse”, no right to representation, and no review or appeal process.

This paper will discuss the history and morphology of the TB debate, its association with economic migration, and the public discourses



and policy involved.

5. Unrike H. Meinhof and Nadia Kiwan (Southampton University, UK): Perspectives on Cultural Diversity: a Discourse Analytical Approach

Ulrike Meinhof is Professor of German and Cultural Studies. She was the Coordinator of an EU 5th Framework Project on “Discursive Construction of Identities in European Border Communities” (2000-2003), and is Coordinator of another EU 5th Framework Project on “Changing City Spaces: New Challenges to Cultural Policy in Europe” (2002-2005). Her numerous publications include the following: Living (with) Borders. Identity Discourses on East-West Borders in Europe (2002, edited with 3 co-authored chapters), Intertextuality and the Media (2000, edited with Smith), World in Common: Television Discourse in a Changing World (1999, with Richardson), Language Learning in the Age of Satellite Television (1998).
Nadia Kiwan is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow attached to the EU 5th Framework Project on “Changing City Spaces: New Challenges to Cultural Policy in Europe”. She completed a PhD in French and Sociology in June 2003 at the University of Bristol and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, on the construction of identity and the challenges of collective action amongst young people of North African origin in Paris. Her recent publications include ‘Citizenship Education: the French and English Experiences’, co-authored with D. Kiwan, in Young People in Transition: Becoming Citizens, edited by Christopher Pole, Jane Pilcher and John Williams (Palgrave 2004).
The much quoted concept of 'Cultural diversity' in public rhetoric and its equivalent in French, German, Italian, and to a lesser extent in Serbian and Slovenian, is often evoked as either a synonym to, or an advance on the similarly omnipresent term of 'multiculturalism'. In many different contexts where metropolitan (as well as national) cultural policy engages with the relationship between people of different cultural backgrounds in our European cities, these terms seem to suggest a progressive, non-racist agenda of interconnectedness beyond the national frame. However, when examined in more detail within the linguistic and pragmatic context of policy documentation and speech these terms become ambivalent, difficult to pin down, as well as contradictory. In French for example, the term cultural diversity in cultural policy circles has traditionally been understood to refer to France’s so-called cultural exception in relation to the ‘Anglo-Saxon’-led homogenisation of cultural industries. In our paper we will explore in detail some of the linguistic and pragmatic contexts of these terms and their semantic fields in policy documents and interviews with policy makers in the different European cities of our research. This will allow us to throw light on the different implications and self-understandings of the politics of cultural diversity in Europe today.

6. Heidi Armbruster (Southampton University, UK): Economic migration – who defines it? A German-Turkish exploration

Heidi Armbruster is a Lecturer in the School of Modern Languages. She has written several papers on the social anthropology of diasporas, identity studies (with special interest in issues of gender and race), and migrants and refugees in contemporary Germany and Europe.

If economic migration is explored as a discursive reality, does that not include a potential plurality of communicative practices on the subject, as well as the question of which of these becomes authoritative and accepted by, or regulatory for, a large number of people. In other words, what are the potential definitional frames of this type of migration and who does the defining in any given context? This seems particularly significant in relation to the fact that the term ‘economic migration’ has become a political term in many European immigration countries. Thus, for instance, while some western European states encouraged economic migration to their shores in the 50s and 60s they declared it a form of illegality some decades later.


I want to explore the discursive shifts and contexts that emerged between a ‘first’ and ‘second generation’ immigrant/host experience, by discussing a Turkish-German example.
Overall, Germany provides an interesting example of a promoter of economic migration. Between 1955 and 1973 the state actively recruited foreign labour as part of the so-called ‘guest worker’ scheme. The legal frameworks, and the entire regulatory system of social and political participation for migrants was tailored towards the ‘guestworker’ philosophy, even long after the end of official recruitment. The migrant was mostly (and in many ways still is) defined as an economic agent, whose presence is entirely legitimated through that capacity. Crucially, this presence has long been understood as a temporary stay, not a life-long settlement. The dominance of this discourse cemented the image of perennial foreign ‘guests’ who do not belong to German society. However, it stood in contrast to the actual reality of rising numbers of immigrant settlers who had no intention to return to their countries of origin.
Legally, ‘economic’ reasons ceased to be a legitimate motive to immigrate in 1973, when family reunion and asylum became the main possibilities of entry. In reality, the thus differently defined migrants were still incorporated into the German labour market and continued (discursively) to be ‘guestworkers’. The ‘guestworker’ or ‘foreigner’ was augmented and partially replaced by a third category, the ‘asylum seeker’ only in the 1980s. Between the mid 1980s and early 1990s ‘asylum’ became a central political issue, and highly polarised anti-asylum campaigns supported by the mass media and political parties finally led to the abolition of the constitutionally guaranteed right of asylum in 1993. During this period, asylum seekers, the majority of whom had come from Eastern Europe and war-torn ex-Yugoslavia, were denied the right to work. The fact that they were not working and the high rejection rates of their applications were usually presented in the media as proof that they were abusing the system and in fact ‘economic refugees’. Thus, whereas the imperative to travel to Germany might have been no more or less ‘economic’ for a migrant in the 70s than for a migrant in the 90s, from the viewpoint of the German state both were categorised as fundamentally different.
Since the 70s government policies followed an ‘integration through exclusion’ model, whereby integration was often understood as a one-sided act of assimilation by migrants, but not really granted on the basis of citizenship or equal political rights by the state.
Apart from a legal apparatus that defined and controlled the status of immigrants, the political and cultural imagination of the migrant (‘economic’ and ‘asylum’) has always been racialized, which constitutes yet another discursive dimension in this context. Guestworkers were initially associated with the Italian or Greek ‘Southerner’, later almost wholly with the ‘Turk’, and the ‘Turks’ became the most problematised immigrant group. Contrastingly, the large number of EU migrants whose purpose of stay is also largely economic have remained discursively invisible as ‘economic migrants’.
Against this background I will present a case study on a group of migrants from Turkey who have settled in Germany since the late 1960s. This group is not Turkish, but Syrian Christian, which constitutes one of the many ethnic minorities in Turkey, which became part of the guestworker movement to Germany.
I will explore the links and tensions between a German institutional and discursive context that defined the immigrant as ‘guestworker’ or ‘asylum seeker’, and migrants’ own discourses that echo but also defy these definitions. This is complexly related to their own living experience in Turkey which generated a form of emigration that was never wholly ‘economic’ but also ‘political’. I will particularly focus on cultural discourses coined by first and second-generation individuals, who address their interrelationship in Germany.
7. Eugenia Markova (University of Sussex, UK): Bulgarian Immigrants in the Spanish Labour Market

Eugenia Markova is a Research Fellow of the Centre for Migration Studies. She has published several papers on international migration, the economics of legal/illegal migration, economies in transition, and regional development.
The presentation will report the findings of a recent study on the Bulgarian migration in Spain, in the Madrid area, surveying 119 Bulgarian illegal and legalized immigrants.
The purpose of the study was to examine the labour market performance of the illegal Bulgarian immigrants together with any changes in the social and economic status of those illegal Bulgarians that managed to obtain legal status under the 2000 and 2001 amnesty programs of the Spanish government or through individual application by employers. Particularly, the questionnaire was designed in such a way as to capture those changes in migrant status that closely affect the sending country such as changes in labour market behaviour and job characteristics (affecting e.g. levels of income and amount of it remitted to Bulgaria/saved in Spain), changes in the family structure (related e.g. to relatives abroad and their intentions to immigrate), and intentions for repatriation.
The interviews were fully in the Bulgarian language and the survey instrument was available in this language. Random sampling was not considered a reasonable and even plausible solution for approaching the people and obtaining any reliable information from them. Instead, the purposive method of sampling was applied. The southern regions of Madrid – Parla and Getafe- with the highest concentrations of Bulgarian migrants were surveyed.

The sample consisted of 119 Bulgarian immigrants over the age of 18, who had worked in Spain for at least two weeks during their most recent stay.



8. Zhivko Ivanov (Paissij Hilendarski University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria): Economic Satisfaction and Nostalgic Laments: The language of the Bulgarian economic emigrants after 1989 in the websites and fora

Zhivko Ivanov is Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Philology and Professor of Literature. His numerous publications include: Hristo Smirnenski. Selected works. Volume 1-2 + CD-ROM (2001-2002), Baj Ganyo. Between Europe and Homeland (1999), New Bulgarian Literature 1878-1918 (1998), Bulgarian Literature from Liberation to the End of World War I (1989 with Bistra Ganchseva), and Bulgarian Literature after World War I (1995). He is also a GIPSC Project coordinator.

Unlike Yugoslavian citizens, Bulgarian citizens until the end of 1989 had no opportunities to travel and reside abroad without special permission of the Bulgarian Communist Party and state officials. During the 1970s a system was experimentally set up in Yugoslavia whereby Yugoslav Federation workers could take up temporary residence in specified countries of Western Europe (Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden). This resulted in legal economic emigration that by the end of the 1970s reached the number of 1 million, while today this number amounts to almost 2 million.1

The Bulgarian situation proved to be different. From the very beginning 'wild', non-institutionalised emigration came to the foreground, pursuing purely economic goals, usually understood as an attempt to achieve a higher standard of living. Only after 1997-1998 has the Bulgarian government initiated certain measures for the civilised structuring of the process of emigration with economic goals.

Within or outside control, at the beginning of 2004 Bulgaria could announce that over 1.250 million of its citizens were choosing a job in a country other than their homeland. Although somewhat delayed, this wave of emigration continues to expand.

In about 15 years a Bulgarian Diaspora has emerged abroad with a coherent character and in unprecedented numbers. Neither after World War 1, nor in the late 1920s and early 1930s, or after the Communist take-over have the Bulgarian 'full-fridge seekers' been so numerous.

The idea of the presentation is to trace how this community speaks and assesses its own position in an alien society, how it has formulated its initial goals and to what extent it reports its achievement. The other purpose of this study is to examine the hidden nationalism that Bulgarian economic immigrants discover in themselves to different degrees during their residence in the recipient community.

This process of rediscovery of national identity flows with different intensity in two directions: on the one hand, Bulgarian economic immigrants suffer from deepening nostalgia and reassess the quality of life in their homeland; on the other hand, they try to justify more emphatically their choice and perceive any retreat from it as a surrender that will impede their reintegration in the homeland environment. This dual disposition generates both a new devotion toward and a new detestation of the homeland environment, as well as a critical attitude towards the recipient environment.

Bulgarian economic immigrants come to detest the place that feeds them but continue to detest the place that chased them away as well. Typically, the choice of leaving the homeland is seldom formulated as personal and deliberate, and is usually presented as a coerced decision in which the main pressure comes from the allegorical being of the 'state'. It is in this process that the division between 'homeland' and 'state' was born, and became a battle-cry of the Socialist party during the local elections in autumn 2003. Their leader Stanishev quoted a graffiti message on the wall of the French Language Secondary School in Sofia, which announced: 'I Love the Motherland but I hate the State'. This syllogism is probably embraced by the majority of Bulgarian residents abroad, who accuse the state for their own choice.

This schizoid situation generates for immigrants a traumatic gap that each tries to fill up with various forms and means of a secondary home-coming. Forums and websites where Bulgarian immigrants unburden their hearts and curse the state have emerged avalanche-like the past few years (such as, http://ide.li - The Website of Bulgarians all over the World, containing commentary, opinions, short stories, travel notes, links etc.; or the newsgroup ‘Soc.culture.bulgaria' at http://www.bulgaria.com/aba/ index.html - Agency for Bulgarians Abroad).

Another dimension of this duality is a useful and essential one. Bulgarians abroad reassess the contents and meanings of a series of stereotypical, trivial and hackneyed national values that had been inculcated at school, through the media and by the political class. This reassessment leads to a true understanding of the homeland in its natural and concrete value, which doesn’t have to take recourse to naive and ingenious explanations of national shortcomings, or even apologetic views about past 'shortcomings'.

As a result of these processes Bulgarian economic migrants share a compromise position between their national identity and the standard of living that estranges them from their homeland environment. In the language of the immigrant appears the desire of homecoming under certain conditions, i.e. the emigrant becomes an exigent and critical Bulgarian who would like to transport the positive in the alien world to his/her homeland space. This desire is apparent in the language of potential migrants as well, as they 'threaten' the political class and the ruling officials that they will leave the country if conditions of life do not improve.

Divided between a deep devotion to the homeland and a desire for a civilised standard of life (achievable at present in the alien environment), Bulgarians of the 21st century foresee a new lot for their country, characterised by:


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