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CPSA/ISA-Canada section on International Relations

C08(a) - The Politics of Migration and Frontline Diplomacy

Date: Jun 5 | Time: 08:45am to 10:15am | Location: SWING 221

Chair/Président/Présidente : Saira Bano (Mount Royal University)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Saira Bano (Mount Royal University)

Securitization of Immigration and Privatization of Immigration Control in Texas and California: Impacts on Undocumented Migrants’ Rights: Mathilde Bourgeon (Université du Québec à Montréal)
Abstract: Immigration policies in the United States are more and more strengthened, while immigration is treated as a major security concern. Consequently, migrants choose to cross the border outside of checkpoints, thus crossing in “an irregular fashion”, choosing more dangerous ways to enter the U.S. and risking detention and deportation once in the country. Furthermore, the U.S. becomes more invested in the privatization of immigration control. This phenomenon can be initiated by the federal government or the States, as with private immigration detention centers, but also can be a result of a civilian initiative, as with the Minute Men patrolling the southern border. This communication relies on the student’s master thesis, which is divided in three chapters. First, we will study the results of the immigration securitization process, as updated in the light of border and migration studies in the recent years, into policies toward (un)documented immigration in the U.S., by delving into this process and see how it affects immigration policies, considered as security policies. Afterwards, we will tackle the impacts of those policies on undocumented migrants and their rights in the U.S. Finally, we will study the privatization of immigration control in Texas and California, and its implications for undocumented migrants. The intersection between privatization and immigration policies is becoming more complex while immigration is being targeted by the U.S. government. The purpose is to highlight the relation between them, to see how they respond to and strengthen each other, and to study how they impact undocumented migrants.


Untruth Wars: Silencing Citizens and non-Citizens in a War of Untruths of Migration: Sezgi Karacan (University of Ottawa)
Abstract: This paper looks at untruths that securitize and desecuritize Syrians in Turkey. It asks how different forms of untruth have been used by political leaders and media while producing different categories and labels with regards to Syrians, and different consequences in terms of agency. Untruths in relation to migration have mostly worked to securitize migration and bring issues of mobility into the realm of extraordinary politics. However, political leaders in power also use untruths to keep issues of migration within the realm of normal politics at the detriment of making insecurity experiences of both non-citizens and citizens invisible. “Speaking” untruth then works to silence both citizens and non-citizens and their claim to defining security, preventing them from being part of politics of security. This makes it easier for actors such as opposition parties and media to create untruths that portray and constitute the migrant or refugee as the security threat in turn igniting further conflict among different groups of (non)citizens. I use discourse analysis by looking at the speeches of the president and leaders from the ruling party and opposition parties, and the news in various media outlets during the general elections of 2011, 2015, and 2018 in Turkey. Finally, the possibilities of claiming to speak security truths are inquired by looking at other categorizations that include both citizen and non-citizen voices. By way of this, this paper aims to contribute to security and mobility studies via problematizing securitization theory and exploring alternative security understandings and democratic politics of mobility.


Frontline Diplomacy in Transformation: Theory and Practice: Andrew F. Cooper (University of Waterloo), Jérémie Cornut (Simon Fraser University)
Abstract: This presentation develops the concept of ‘frontline diplomacy’ – what practitioners referring to work in embassies, consulates, and permanent representation call ‘the field’ –, defined here as any and all diplomats’ activities taking place away from headquarters. IR scholarship tends to focus on diplomatic work in Ministries of Foreign Affairs located in capitals. On the contrary, building on the practice turn in IR, we show in the first part of the paper that international politics emerge from frontline practices. Adding to criticism against the practice turn, we then explain that it has missed important transformations occurring in frontline diplomacy because it tends to privilege stability over change. We finally discuss two innovations in frontline practices: the use of Twitter by US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul (2012-2014) and the action of Sherpas in G20 summits following the 2008 crisis. For each case we ask three questions: How do these activities transform traditional modes of operation? How are non-state actors involved in them? What do they tell us about transformation of global politics? This form of analysis not only enriches the emerging research agenda on international practices. Because diplomatic practices at the frontlines epitomize international politics, these new directions for inquiry also contribute substantively to IR scholarship.


Social Media and Diaspora Mobilization: 2014 Crimean Crisis: Jean-Christophe Boucher (MacEwan University)
Abstract: One defining question in the study of Diasporas is whether or to what extent these communities influence the foreign policy of their host state. Empirical evidence on the subject seems to suggest that although some groups have some influence (the Jewish or Cuban diasporas in the US for example) this is not generalized to every diasporic community. What explains such variation? One might argue that diasporas’ influence is a function of its aptitude to mobilize. Through mobilization, diasporas can focus and coordinate their activities toward host government while also accelerate fund raising. In order to assess this hypothesis, we analyze the mobilization of the Canadian-Ukrainian diaspora during the Crimean crisis of 2013-2014. Canada’s Ukrainian diaspora, comprising almost 1.2 million individuals, is the largest community outside of Ukraine in the world. By using a combination of social network analysis and machine-learning modeling, we demonstrate that social media was used by this particular diaspora as a vector to both mobilize its community and directly interact with the Canadian government in order to influence Canada’s policy toward Ukraine and Russia.