Challenging Categorizations in Migration Policy and Research – DAMR Fall Meeting 2017

The DAMR Fall meeting 2017 invited migration researchers to reflect on the issues of categorization they encounter in their research endeavours – which categories do we as researchers use?

How do we relate to the policy categories – do we use them, do we produce them, do we problematize them – or perhaps all of the above? During the day, scholars from different disciplines ranging from law to political science, sociology, and education sciences used their own work as a starting point for discussions on the use of categories in policy areas such as migrant integration policy, welfare policy, refugee resettlement, and education, but also to reflect on the epistemic and political consequences of categorisation in our own work. In her keynote, Professor Dvora Yanov (Wageningen University) built upon category theory to give insights into how we can identify the underlying assumptions in the process of category making. She reflected on the question whether categories should be exhaustive, or if we could gain something from constructing more fuzzy categories.
While neither policymakers nor researchers can do without categories, a key take-away from the meeting was to be ever critical and reflexive about how and why we categorize people.
The DAMR Fall Meeting took place in CREA at the University of Amsterdam on 27 October 2017. It was co-hosted by DAMR and the UvA Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES). It was organized by Lea Klarenbeek, Nathalie Welfens, Jeroen Doomernik and Saskia Bonjour. Besides key note speaker Dvora Yanow, speakers included: Bas Schotel, Anna Horolets, Bram Jansen, Merlijn Karssen, Katharina Natter, Asya Pisarevskaya, Nora Ratzmann, Michiel Swinkels, Jasper van der Kist, and Natalie Welfens.