Transdisciplinary Areas of ExcellenceCitizenship, Rights and Cultural Belonging

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Movement, Place and Conflict

This research theme looks at questions provoked by the voluntary and involuntary movement of people, across state borders and within state borders. It recognizes how local, national and transnational patterns of movement have reshaped notions of place, requiring us to rethink political, economic, social and cultural forms of identity, exchange and belonging. It is intended to facilitate research into the multidimensional questions raised by the causes and effects of new and often contested geographies and to include a stake in fair conflict resolution and people's well being.

Movement is a broad concept that incorporates motion, flows, direction, origins, destinations and magnitude, among other characteristics. In the main, movement for this TAE refers primarily to that of people and capital but may include other movements such as those of disease and climate. The movement of people involves (dis)placement and (re)settlement. Departures, stays and returns can be voluntary or coerced and are accompanied by physical, economic, psychological, geographic and cultural challenges. Place is a multifaceted and layered intersection. It can be welcoming or hostile. Social institutions and social movements operating at different geographical scales contribute to both, among other ways, through practices of inclusion/exclusion. Movement and place interact and change each other, sometime conflictually and even violently. Movement, place and conflict are normatively entwined with sovereignty, territorial rights, war and global justice and with national, regional and international law and both governmental and non-governmental organizations.

By pursuing research under the theme of Movement, Place and Conflict, researchers and scholars may position themselves on the cutting edge of conceptual and practical interventions into many problems that are related to globalization, the economic successes and disparities associated with it, the cultural transformations it endangers, the security problems arising as part of it, and the normative and institutional innovations that are needed in order to facilitate social cooperation.

The list below exemplifies the kind and range of questions that are central to this research theme.

  • How are the issues of Movement, Place and Conflict key to understanding the history and the future development of society and culture, including the development of science, economy, politics and religion in New York state?
  • How do place-making processes in which migrants (permanent and temporary) are engaged and the movement of capital contribute to conflict? What mitigates their tensions and contributes to their resolution?
  • What kinds of conflicts arise as native, indigenous or national groups experience estrangement in what they take as their homelands as new populations arrive and dramatically transform their communities? How do transnational identities and ties complicate these distinctions? What kinds of social contracts are or can be forged among "old" and "new" populations?
  • Are there rights to immigration and asylum, or to the exclusion of immigrants and asylum seekers?
  • How are the movements of capital and people related? How is the movement of capital implicated in the formation of communities of wealth and poverty? Who has responsibilities for justice when social inequities arise due to the movement of capital?
  • What is and what ought to be the role of state, regional or international organizations in the regulation of movement and conflict? What kinds of institutions or norms emerge or ought to emerge to mediate them?

Last Updated: 12/3/13