Escapes is a network of Italian academic researchers, practitioners, lawyers, non-profit and voluntary organizations, and front-line workers engaged and committed in the study, observation and critical analysis of forced migrations, with a specific focus on the Italian case. Italian is the primary language of the conference. However, in order to consider the great interests of European and International researchers and practitioners on the Italian case, this edition accepts also proposals for panels in English.
Since late 2013, the public, media, and political discourses focused on asylum seekers and refugees have grown substantially, reaching their peak in the summer of 2015 when the “refugee crisis” label was coined to describe the escalation of arrivals and the situations in several European countries. A crisis that apparently has deeply involved also the legal and moral principles that were at the foundation of the European Union project. During 2016, populist movements (both in Europe and in the US), which have among their main goals to fight against refugees and migrants, have achieved political and electoral success. Locally, this political and social climate resulted in acts of discrimination and aggression carried out against migrants and refugees. At the same time, civil society, associations, and activists across Europe have been establishing initiatives of solidarity and support, along with practices of resistance and mobility undertaken by migrants themselves.
Consequently, the topic of refugees has gained the attention of the European political agenda, becoming the argument to balance domestic and international political equilibriums. Academic research, for its part, has increasingly turned its gaze to the processes of forced human mobility in order to analyze the changes in flows and compositions, in the national and European policies, in the social integration processes, and in the social and psychological dynamics that characterize the stories of migrants.
The Escapes fourth annual conference aims to provide academic researchers, decision makers, practitioners, activists, and front-line workers with opportunities to extensively discuss on forced migration topics, with particular attention to the transformations underway and to the experiences lived by the subjects involved. Rethinking forced migrations today involves the deconstruction of established theoretical frameworks as well as a critical investigation of the main issues under discussion, such as the policies and forms of government, the roles of academic research, or the experiences that are able to break the emergency logic and involve the system, communities, and refugees in systematic and integrated processes of social inclusion.