2018•07•23 Barcelona, Spain
Meet the Authors: Part 2
International Migration and International Security. Why Prejudice is a Global Security Threat’
In the second session of the ‘Meet the Authors’ evening, attendees discussed a book authored by United Nations University Institute of Globalization, Culture and Mobility (UNU-GCM) Senior Research Fellow, Dr. Valeria Bello. She was joined by Dr. Nando Sigona to delve into her theories around prejudice against migrants migrant prejudice from her book, ‘International Migration and International Security. Why Prejudice is a Global Security Threat’.
“Ontology is based on social construction,” Bello stated, initiating the debate, “Prejudice allows migration to be framed and told as a security threat story. When migrants are portrayed as threats, their basic needs to see their own lives and dignity respected can be ignored by countries.”
Sigona and members of the audience explored Bello’s choice and use of the term ‘prejudice’. She responded, “Prejudice is a container for all dynamics of exclusion – it is a softer and broader term, but it also include more extreme social phenomena such as different forms of racism and xenophobia.”
“What has been constructed is a perspective of the world as a private property in which some are not allowed to live, through a combination of exclusion and identity. So if you don’t look like the people who designed the politics of country you are in, then you are excluded.”
Bello continued, explaining the paradox surrounding current anti-migrant policy and rhetoric, “But there is no way to protect an identity by excluding others – identity only exists by its difference from the ‘other’.”
Proposing potential solutions, Bello promoted cultural dialogue and interculturalism as ways of dealing with diversity, explaining how different actors can act on multiple levels to overcome prejudiced attitudes.
She concluded, “This book is trying to lead us away from a dominant narrative of migration as a security threat.”
Sigona furthered Bello’s points, adding, “High profile politicians are producing and reproducing a negative imaginative of migration.”
Then, drawing the debate to a close, Sigona rhetorically queried, “Creating divisiveness is common tactic of terrorist groups, but what happens when it is employed by the President of the free world? Is there still space for a politics of hope?”
The ‘Meet the Authors’ evening aimed to facilitate exploration of some of the latest theories surrounding migration and integration policy. Organised by the UNU-GCM and held at the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI), all delegates at the International Migration, Integration And Social Cohesion (IMISCOE) 15th Annual Conference were invited to attend.
Dr. Valeria Bello (Senior Research Fellow at the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture & Mobility)
Author of ‘International Migration and International Security: Why Prejudice is a Global Security Threat’ (Routledge, 2017)
Through an interdisciplinary analytic lens that combines emerging debates in the fields of international relations, political science and sociology, Valeria Bello reveals how transnational dynamics have increased extremism, prejudiced attitudes towards others and international xenophobia.
With commentator: Dr. Nando Sigona (Senior Lecturer and Deputy Director, Institute for Research into Superdiversity at the University of Birmingham)