Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Editorial: The shadows of enlargement: Theorising mobility and inequality in a changing Europe

Anna Amelina, Andreas Vasilache


This introductory article of the special issue is based on the criticism of the sedentarist lens used in migration studies on social inequalities. It is organised around two questions: In what ways have forms of inequality and patterns of migration in the enlarged Europe been changed, and how should the nexus between migration and social inequality be rethought after the ‘mobility turn’ in the social sciences? First, the article proposes that the mobility turn and transnational sociology be combined to approach varieties of geographic mobility in the current Europe and that inequality analysis be conceptualised from a ‘mobile perspective’, meaning that forms of mobility and patterns of inequality be considered as mutually reinforcing. Second, Europe is considered as a fragmented and multi-sited societal context, which is co-produced by current patterns of mobility. The article discusses recent societal shifts such as supranationalisation and the end of socialism in the Eastern part of Europe (among many others) and identifies the concept of assemblage as a useful heuristic tool both for migration studies and European studies. Third, the final part illustrates how the contributions collected in this special issue address the challenges of the sedentarist lens and provide conceptual solutions to the analytical problems in question.


Migration; Mobility; Social inequalities; Europe; Enlargement; Mobility Turn

Full Text:



Amelina, A. (2012). “Socio-Spatial Scales as Social Boundaries? Or: How Do Migration Studies Profit from Including ‘Space’ in the Sociology of Social Boundaries”. Migration Letters, 9 (3): 193-214.

Amelina, A. and Faist, T. (2012). “De-Naturalizing the National in Research Methodologies: Key Concepts of Transnational Studies in Migration”. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35 (10): 1-18.

Anderson, J. and O’Dowd, L. (1999). “Borders, Border Regions and Territoriality: Contradictory Meanings, Changing Significance”. Regional Studies, 33 (7): 593-604.

Aradau, C. and Blanke, T. (2010). “Governing Circulation: A Critique of the Biopolitics of Security”. In: M. de Larrinaga and M. G. Doucet (eds.) Security and Global Governmentality: Globalization, Governance and the State, Abingdon/New York: Routledge.

Biebuyck W. and Rumford, C. (2012). “Many Europes: Rethinking Multiplicity”. European Journal of Social Theory, 15 (1): 3-20.

Bigo, D. (2009). “Immigration controls and free movement in Europe”. International Review of the Red Cross, 91 (875): 579-591.

Bigo, D. and Guild, E. (eds.) (2005). Controlling Frontiers: Free Movement into and within Europe. Aldershot/Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

Bingran, D. and Junbo, J. (eds.) (2008). The Enlarged European Union: Prospects and Implications. Baden-Baden: Nomos.

Black, R., Engbersen, G., Okólski, M. and Panțîru, C. (eds.) (2010). A Continent Moving West? EU Enlargement and Labour Migration from Central and Eastern Europe. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Bonifazi, C., Okólski, M., Schoorl, J. and Simon, P. (eds.) (2008) International Migration in Europe: New Trends and New Methods of Analysis. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Boswell, C. and Geddes, A. (2011). Migration and Mobility in the European Union. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Brady, David (ed.) (2011). Comparing European Workers Part A: Experiences and Inequalities. Bingley: Emerald.

Brunner, K., Sawka, M. and Onufriv, S. (eds.) (2013). Skype-Mama. Berlin: edition.fotoTAPETA.

Büscher, M. and Urry, J. (2009). “Mobile methods and the empirical”. European Journal of Social Theory, 12 (1): 99-116.

Carmel, E., Cerami, A. and Papadopoulos, T. (eds.) (2011). Migration and Welfare in the New Europe: Social Protection and the Challenges of Integration. Bristol/Portland, OR: The Policy Press.

Castles, S. (2010). “Understanding Global Migration: A Social Transformation Perspective”. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 36 (10): 1565-1586.

Council (2007). Draft Council Conclusions on Mobility Partnerships and Circular Migration in the Framework of the Global Approach to Migration. Brussels: Council of the European Union. Retrieved from

Dolton, P., Asplund, R. and Barth, E. (eds.) (2009) Education and Inequality Across Europe. Cheltenham/Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

Engbersen, G., Leerkes, A., Grabowska-Lusińska, I., Snele, E. and Burgers, J. (2013). “On the Differential Attachments of Migrants from Central and Eastern Europe: A Typology of Labour Migration”. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 39 (6): 959-981.

Faist, T. (2000). The Volume and Dynamics of International Migration and Transnational Social Spaces. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.

Favell, A. (2008). “The New Face of East–West Migration in Europe”. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 34 (5): 701-716.

Fawcett, J. T. (1989). “Networks, Linkages, and Migration Systems”. International Migration Review, 23 (3): 671-680.

Garelli, G. and Tazzioli, M. (2013). “‘We Are of the Connections’: Migration, Methodological Nationalism, and Militant Research”. Postcolonial Studies, 16 (3): 250-258.

Genova, N. de and Peutz, N. (eds.) (2010). The Deportation Regime: Sovereignty, Space, and the Freedom of Movement. Durham, NC/London: Duke University Press.

Herrmann, G. (2014). “Ein Mehr an Freiheit durch ein Mehr an Sicherheit? Zur Organisation von Zirkulation in der Europäischen Union: Die Beispiele des Grenz- und Migrationsmanagements”. In: A. Vasilache (ed.) Gouvernementalität, Staat und Weltgesellschaft: Studien zum Regieren im Anschluss an Foucault, Wiesbaden: SpringerVS.

Ivanov-Tsarevokokshaiskii, A. (2012). Allergiia na magicheskie griby.

Kahanec M. and Zimmermann, K. F. (2009). Migration in an enlarged EU: A challenging solution? Economic Papers 363. Brussels: European Commission, Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs.

Karakayali, S. and Rigo, E. (2010). “Mapping the European Space of Circulation”. In: N. De Genova and N. Peutz (eds.) The Deportation Regime: Sovereignty, Space, and the Freedom of Movement, Durham, NC/London: Duke University Press.

Koopmans, R., Statham, P., Giugni, M. and Passy, F. (2005). Contested Citizenship: Immigration and Cultural Diversity in Europe. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Levitt, P. and Glick Schiller, N. (2004). “Conceptualizing Simultaneity: A Transnational Social Field Perspective on Society”. International Migration Review, 38 (3): 1002-1039.

Mau, S. (2010). “Grenzen als Sortiermaschinen”. WeltTrends – Zeitschrift für internationale Politik, 15 (71): 57-66.

Ong, A. and Collier, S. J. (2004). Global Assemblages: Technology, Politics and Ethics as Anthropological Problems. Malden, MA/Oxford/Victoria: Blackwell Publishing.

Pfau-Effinger, B. (2005). “Welfare State Policies and the Development of Care Arrangements”. European Societies, 7 (2): 321-347.

Pries, L. (2008). “Transnational societal spaces: which units of analysis, reference and measurement?”. In: L. Pries (ed.) Rethinking Transnationalism: The Meso-Link of Organisations, Abingdon/New York: Routledge.

Rumford, C. (2008). Cosmopolitan Spaces: Europe, Globalization, Theory. Abingdon/New York: Routledge.

Rupnik, J. and Zielonka, J. (eds.) (2013). Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe: The State of the Art. Special section of Eastern European Politics and Society, 27 (1).

Sassen, S. (2008). Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages. 4th ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Scott, J. W. and Houtum, H. van (2009). “Reflections on EU Territoriality and the ‘Bordering’ of Europe”. Political Geography, 28 (5): 271-273.

Soysal, Y. N. (1994). Limits of Citizenship: Migrants and Postnational Membership in Europe. Chicago, IL/London: The University of Chicago Press.

Tilly, C. (2000). “Relational Studies of Inequality”. Contemporary Sociology, 29 (6): 782-785.

Tsoukala, A. (2005). “Looking at Immigrants as Enemies”. In: D. Bigo and E. Guild (eds.) Controlling Frontiers: Free Movement into and within Europe, Aldershot/Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

Vasilache, A. (2012). “The Rise of Executive Sovereignty in the Era of Globalization”. In: M. Telò (ed.) State, Globalization and Multilateralism: The Challenges of Institutionalizing Regionalism, Dordrecht/Heidelberg/London/New York: Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Vasilache, A., Seidelmann, R. and Sales Marques, J. L. de (eds.) (2011). States, Regions and the Global System: Europe and Northern Asia-Pacific in Globalised Governance. Baden-Baden: Nomos.

Wallace, C. and Stola, D. (eds.) (2001). Patterns of Migration in Central Europe. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wallace, C. and Vincent, K. (2007). “Recent Migration from the New European Borderlands”. Review of Sociology of the Hungarian Sociological Association, 13 (2): 19-37.

Zaiceva, A. and Zimmermann, K. F. (2008). Scale, Diversity, and Determinants of Labour Migration in Europe. IZA DP No. 3595. Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor.

Zielonka, J. (2006). Europe as Empire: The Nature of the Enlarged European Union. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Transnational Press London

Copyright © 2003-2016 Migration Letters / Transnational Press London | All rights reserved | Contact Us