Central to the concepts of migration and diaspora is identity work, which is increasingly seen as fluid, without fixed boundaries. The panel addresses these concepts, as well as their limitations and possibilities.
Presently, as movement has become 'easier' than ever and thus central to modern identity, we move towards a rather fluid understanding of migration/mobility and, with it, its key concept, identity. Due to the explosion in the types of social and cultural mobility, the distinctions between them are blurring, making it externally and internally difficult to categorize the mobile individuals. An individual and his/her identity do not necessarily have to be seen as rooted in geographical space - such a narrow approach overlooks the implicit flow and fragmentariness of social life and, therefore, of identity work. Attachment to a cultural community and the construction of cultural identity can also be seen as a matter of individual choice (although developed and maintained in dialogue with significant others and dependent on the position one occupies in various power structures). It presupposes a variety of social identity options, some more, some less linked to a community; some more traditional, labelled with substantial symbolic markers of social identity, some more matters of picking the elements that unite a community based on individual liking and the desire for personal continuity. Yet everyone caught in the cross-border movement faces the inevitable and often challenging notional and organizational effort needed to create the boundaries of new forms of identity - work that can also fail.
The panel invites papers and dialogue about the way the (repeated) cross-border movement is experienced, defined and categorized from the perspective of different areas of research and theory.