Professor Anna Triandafyllidou presents, public lecture ‘Globalisation, Identity & Migrant Agency in the 21st Century’

Professor Anna Triandafyllidou presents, public lecture ‘Globalisation, Identity & Migrant Agency in the 21st Century’


We are delighted to host Professor Anna Triandafyllidou from the European University Institute as our very first Visiting Scholar to Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre (MMIC). Professor Triandafyllidou will visit the Centre from October 23-30 and has a packed schedule of engagement and networking activities during her time with us. Her visit will culminate in a free public lecture, ‘Globalisation, Identity & Migrant Agency in the 21st Century’ at the Monash Conference Centre, Melbourne on Monday October 29 from 5.30pm. You can register for this event via our Eventbrite page here.

Professor Triandafyllidou’s public lecture will offer an analytical framework that places migration and migrant integration within wider socio economic transformation dynamics rather than isolating it as a specific ‘challenge’ that destination countries seek to address. The lecture abstract is presented below. During her visit to MMIC, Professor Triandafyllidou will host a postgraduate Masterclass on ‘How nationalism is changing today in regards to work, identity and migration and emerging identities for ‘others' and what this means for the issue of race and ethnicity’ that is open to all MMIC and Arts Faculty postgraduates, as well as visiting students from the TATA Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She will also attend a number of meetings and networking events with MMIC members and the wider Arts Faculty. We look forward to welcoming Anna to MMIC!

Abstract: Public lecture, ‘‘Globalisation, Identity & Migrant Agency in the 21st Century’

Migration is part and parcel of human history and human development but keeps being represented as an exception or a crisis. Recent technological developments in IT and transport as well as the increased pace of social and economic globalisation processes unleash contrasted forces: services, goods, capitals move faster and smoother than before but people’s movement is increasingly restricted and tightly regulated. Globalisation fuels aspirations and shapes the drivers and structural forces that trigger migration. Transnational networks become increasingly important for both mobile and sedentary populations (migrants and non-migrants) albeit the national state remains the main framework for migration governance even if in the context of regional or international governance regimes. Taking stock of the above general observations, I will develop two arguments in my lecture.

The first concerns issues of identity and the ways in which globalisation triggers new forms of mobility that undermine national sovereignty but arouse feelings of national belonging. This argument borrows from theories of liquid modernity (Bauman 2000) and risk society (Beck 1992) and contextualises migrant integration and related notions of majority and minority identity in the current framework of intensified exposure to social, cultural and economic globalisation forces. The notion of monist vs plural nationalism is proposed to make sense of these identity dynamics, replacing the traditional distinction between ethnic and civic nationalism (Triandafyllidou 2013).

The second argument concerns the ways in which we understand migration governance and migrants’ agency today. The idea of push and pull factors that shape migration flows has been discredited in recent years as not sufficiently dynamic for making sense of the complex patterns of contemporary international migration. Attention has focused on migrant aspirations, desires and the drivers of migration (see Carling and Collins 2018; Triandafyllidou 2017). Building on these recent advances in migration scholarship, I am introducing the notion of ‘social navigation’ and of a ‘social navigation space’ (Triandafyllidou 2018). This space includes different actors (migrants, migration industry intermediaries, states and international actors) that develop networks. These networks are characterised by ‘nodal points’, which signpost the different phases of the migration project (pre-departure, departure, arrival, onward migration, settlement). It is at these ‘nodal points’ that migrants, intermediaries and policies ‘meet’ and where migrants make decisions and shape their course of action (Triandafyllidou 2008; 2018).