‘Refugee tragedies are a thorn in the flesh of the EU’
Sociology professor Thomas Faist addresses Bielefeld conference/ Topic of the conference: Social inequality and crisis
‘The never-ending refugee tragedies in the Mediterranean are a thorn in the flesh of the European Union’ says the migration expert Professor Thomas Faist in the run-up to a conference on social inequality and crisis in Bielefeld. ‘At the same time as EU representatives are demanding respect for human rights, the EU is turning desperate refugees away from its borders. This makes the policies of the EU open to attack,’ considers Faist. At the international conference from 4 to 6 June, Faist and about 30 further researchers will be considering when social inequalities are made a matter of public concern (conference title: ‘A New Social Question or Crisis as Usual?’). The conference is being organized by the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS).
At the conference, sociologists and historians will be discussing when the unequal treatment of people leads to protests and political interventions. Young academics from 13 nations including the Ukraine, the United States, and Greece will be presenting their research. They will be addressing, for example, the protest movement in the Ukraine, conservative activists in the United States, and the effects of the financial crisis in Greece. Alongside current topics, they will also be discussing historical cases. In addition, six renowned experts will be presenting their findings on the topic. For example, the opening speech by the sociologist Professor Loïc Wacquant PhD (University of California, Berkeley, USA) will address the change in urban suburbs in the United States. Professor Dr. Elmar Rieger’s (University of Bamberg) lecture will focus on how social policies have dealt with inequality over the course of history. The conference is being organized by five doctoral students at the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS).
The scientific perspective is being complemented by a political art contribution. The photo journalist and photographer Hermine Oberück together with Gertraud Strohm-Katzer, cultural manager of the Minden/Bad Oeynhausen adult education centre, will be talking about the artistic approach to the topic of migration and about the migration exhibition that will be showing until August at the Historisches Museum Bielefeld.
The Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS) is an institution providing a structured doctoral degree programme in history and sociology at Bielefeld University. It adopts an international orientation, is open to all topics covered by the disciplines involved, and thrives on interdisciplinary exchange. It is one of two projects at Bielefeld University funded as part of the Excellence Initiative by the German Federal and State Governments since 2007.
Further information is available online:
The conference: www.uni-bielefeld.de/bghs/programm/ansem
Prof. Thomas Faist PhD, Bielefeld University
Faculty of Sociology
Telephone: +49 (0)521 106-4650
Dorothee Wilm, Bielefeld University
Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS)
Telephone: +49 (0)521 106-6514