The Language of Multiple Belonging and Legal Status: Reconstructing Intersectional Boundaries in the Process of Cross-Border Migration

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Anna AMELINA, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus, Germany
This paper analyses the everyday positionings of migrants who live in Germany and who are affected by various categories of legal status. Building on the author’s empirical research, it compares the everyday positionings of movers from Syria who have received refugee status, of Ukrainian migrants who have the status of third-country nationals (permanent residents) and of movers from Bulgaria who are EU citizens. This comparative analysis provides insights into the most relevant language constructs that interviewees used not only to present themselves, but also to negotiate the significance of legal status for the life projects ascribed to them by the institutional frameworks. To appropriately address the complexity of the interviewees’ multiple positionings, the presentation combines intersectional theory (building in particular on Floya Anthias’ work) with Michèle Lamont’s concept of social boundaries to develop a theory of intersectional boundaries. The main advantage of this conceptualization is that it allows us to link analyses of the everyday language of multiple positionings to analyses of language labels used by institutions and organizations, which impact on the everyday positionings of (im)mobile individuals.