Researching Norms and Values: The Emic and Etic Approach

In this blog post, Elzbieta Goździak , Izabella Main, and Iza Kujawa reflect on the methodological approaches they have deployed in their field research in Poland, Hungary, Lebanon, Turkey, and Thailand to differentiate between the insiders’ points of view and the researchers’ interpretation of the collected data.

Elzbieta M. Goździak, Izabella Main, and Izabela Kujawa, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań

 

Empirical research on norms and values constitutes a big part of the NoVaMigra project. We want to understand what role different values play in the refugees and immigrants’ integration into the European host societies. The readers of this blog have already gotten a glimpse at the research our colleagues are doing in Germany. In a blog post published in November, Franziska Bohm wrote about her attempts to explore transmission of European and national values in mandatory integration courses all immigrants in Germany must take.

Today, we want to reflect on our own research, both in terms of the subject matter we are studying and in relation to the methodological approaches we have deployed. Read More

Protecting the European Way of Life ? Von der Leyen Caught in the Paradox of Liberal Identities

Von der Leyen’s decision to create a portfolio titled “Protecting our European way of life” in her Commission prompted a large political row. However, most critical comments contended themselves with a moral condemnation of her use of far right language. In our view, this response misses the deeper issue, namely that the European project rests on a liberal identity affected by a paradox : since its supposedly unique identity is defined in universalist terms, it is at pain to highlight what is so specific about itself.

Martin Deleixhe, University Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne

 

When the portfolios of the von der Leyen’s Commission were first announced, one title immediately stood out. Margaritis Schinas, the former Chief Spokesman of the European Commission, had been appointed Vice-President of the Commission with a portfolio oddly coined “Protecting our European Way of Life”. Critical questions duly arose in the wake of the press briefing. Is there any such thing as a European way of life? And even if there was, from whom ought it be protected? Where would an existential threat come from? Worryingly, Schinas’ portfolio included the coordination of three main political tasks: upholding the rule of law, overseeing migration and internal security. The not-so-subtle link between a “European way of life” that needed protection and immigration soon turned the initially perplexed questions into firm condemnations. Hadn’t von der Leyen made an ill-judged concession to the far right? Was she attempting to tap into the vocabulary of nationalist Eurosceptics to undercut their domestic appeal? The most charitable pundits were inclined to grant von der Leyen the benefit of the doubt: perhaps she had just made a communication blunder? However, the latter seems unlikely. The title is highly unusual and was bound to attract some attention in the lukewarm and diplomatic EU environment. Surrounded by a team of communication professionals, von der Leyen could not have ignored that the “Protecting the European way of life” label was courting controversy.

Read More

Talking of Values & Migration Policy

In their new NoVaMigra Research Paper “Talking of Values: Understanding the Normative Discourse of EU Migration Policy”, Angeliki Dimitriadi and Harris Malamidis explore the normative discourse of the EU institutions and identify which values were the most prominent in the discourse on EU migration policy from 2014-2017. They find that values are both useful and instrumental to the EU institutions – and highlight the exclusionary potential references to shared values can have as regards migrants*.

Angeliki Dimitriadi, The Hellenic Foundation of European & Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)

 

Ιn the recent United Nation’s General Assembly , the President of the European Council, Mr Donald Tusk, noted that “if you want to follow the principles of international solidarity, you always have to help the weaker […]”. The call to solidarity has been repeatedly echoed in the EU and by the EU in recent years, usually in response to crises; financial crisis, the refugee crisis, Brexit.  Despite the many calls for it, solidarity remains an ambiguous term, perhaps even more so within the EU than at the global stage. Yet, it has been critical, along with other norms and values, in the discourse of EU institutions throughout the refugee crisis (2015) and its aftermath.

What role have values played and continue to play in migration policy? It is a difficult question to answer, since it is impossible to know what leaders and institutional representatives think of values and how the latter truly affect policy. In our NoVaMigra research paper “Talking of Values: Understanding the Normative Discourse of EU Migration Policy”, we instead propose to look at how institutions talk of values. By focusing on the narrative around norms and migration, it is possible to see the extent to which values and norms are acknowledged, what policies they frame and draw preliminary conclusions on whether values have a role to play in migration policy. Read More