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Cosmopolis Lunch Seminar with Neva Löw (University of Kassel, Germany)

29 November 2018 , Geography Dept. - Room F 4.66- (VUB - Pleinlaan 2, BE-1050 Brussels, Building F) from 12.00h to 13.30h

Solidarity and Disunity: Trade Unions and Migration in Austria and Germany

Europe's contemporary migratory movements, culminating in the so-called „Summer of Migration“, have centered the EU migration and national asylum regimes in political discussions. Trade unions are obligated to position themselves within this debate or risk disenfranchisement. 

In 2015, disturbances in continental migration policy fractured the coherence of the European migration regime. Multiple political processes resulted in migratory movements within the European Union. For instance, the positive impact resulting from the March of Hope and long “Summer of Migration" (Hess u. a. 2017) was tailed by the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, giving rise to a "spectacle of terrorism" (De Genova 2017). This climate enabled the implementation of repressive measures that limited access to intercontinental mobility. Austrian and German migration policies are subject to struggles that directly impact constituencies represented by trade unions.

This presentation examines the contemporary relationship between migrants/migration and trade unions in Austria and Germany. This relationship will be scrutinized within the context of 2015 solidarity movements and within the repressive anti-immigration political ideology that emerged. The presentation will leverage theoretical frameworks drawn from the works of Antonio Gramsci and Etienne Balibar on racism and hegemony.


 De Genova, Nicholas. 2017. „The “Migrant Crisis” as Racial Crisis: Do Black Lives Matter in Europe?“ Ethnic and Racial Studies, August, 1–18.

Hess, Sabine, Bernd Kasparek, Stefanie Kron, Mathias Rodatz, Maria Schwertl, und Simon Sontowski. 2017. Der lange Sommer der Migration. Assoziation A.

Speaker Bio

Neva Löw, Magistra der Philosophie und Master of Arts, studied Political Science at the University of Vienna, Austria. In her thesis she explored the Sans Papiers movements in Paris. She worked as a research assistant at the Austrian Society for European Politics and as a policy officer for the European Office of the Austrian Trade Union Federation in the Permanent Representation of Austria to the European Union. After studying Labor Economics at the Global Labor University/ Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil, she is now pursuing a PhD in Political Science at the University of Kassel, Germany. Neva Löw holds a Hans Böckler Stiftung scholarship and is part of the „Beyond Summer 15“ research group.

Neva’s research focus includes migration, trade union politics, and the European Union.

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