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Anticipation through Migration?

Migration processes and policies as a source of critical insight on anticipation

International migration is a promising field for the development of interdisciplinary research into anticipation, at a number of levels and on different scales.

At a micro level, migrant’s life experience is a rich and complex terrain for exploring the potential for social agents’ anticipation, as well as the interaction between aspirations, imagination and anticipation. Migrants’ evolving constructions of their own future are revealing in both respects. Indeed, migration is tantamount to the shift of more positive connotations of the future onto another country, expected to provide for “better days ahead”, economically at least. How migrants’ capabilities to anticipate that future affect their life trajectories, and how such capabilities evolve over the course of migration, are empirical questions, on which we invite original contributions.

At a meso level, anticipation can be explored through the developmental processes of several agencies that are involved in managing migration flows and should somehow anticipate the underlying trends. The long-term trajectories of institutions such as immigrant labour employers and recruiters, agencies of border control, or welfare agencies, can be fruitfully revisited along these lines.

Last, a macro level pertains to immigration and immigrant policies. This calls for analysis of the technical and political potential to “anticipate” the evolution of migration and refugee flows, as well as their composition and directionalities, as a requirement for decision-making and policy provision. Why is it that the “anticipatory potential” of migration-related policy-making seems to fall often short of declared statements and expectations?

How these levels of analysis and practice intersect with each other, and how the potential field of anticipation varies accordingly, is still another issue on which we invite theoretical and empirical contributions. Overall, our session aims to provide an innovative map of the prospects for anticipation and future studies to feed into migration studies, and on the mutual connections between these two broad research fields.


Paolo Boccagni - Dipartimento di Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale, Università di Trento

Milena Belloni – Scuola di Scienze Sociali, Università degli studi di Trento

Relevant information

To submit an abstract to this workshop send a mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  before June 15, 2015.

Further information on the conference is available at http://www.projectanticipation.org

  • Presenters should register to attend the conference:
  • Early registration (before 1 September 2015): € 150
  • Late registration (from 1 September 2015): € 200

Important dates

  • Abstract submission: 15 June 2015
  • Final program: 30 June 2015
  • Early registration: Before 1 September 2015
  • Deadline registration: 20 October 2015

The registration is now open: https://webapps.unitn.it/Apply/en/Web/Home/convegni



Project Anticipation

Department of Sociology and Social Research

26, Verdi Street, 38122 Trento (TN) Italy


+39 0461 281403

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