Concourse: 02/05/22


Saturday, February 5, 2022

International conference: A Europe of migrations: family, childhood and clandestinity during the 'Trente Glorieuses' – from October 5–7, 2022 – University of Neuchâtel/CH

 Call for Papers

International conference, from October 5–7, 2022, University of Neuchâtel/CH


A Europe of migrations: family, childhood and clandestinity during the 'Trente Glorieuses


Labour migration has had a profound impact on European societies after World War II. In the context of an insatiable thirst for labour in the service of economic reconstruction, the mobility of workers from the countries of the South to the industrialised countries of the North constituted a “new intra-European migration regime” (Dirk Hoerder) which, until the 1970s, mobilised about 15 million people from the (Euro-)Mediterranean region (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Tunisia, Greece, (former) Yugoslavia, etc.) to the industrial centres of Northern Europe. Despite the end of an active recruitment policy after the oil crisis in 1973, the “guestworker-system” continued to exist/endured until the end of the 1980s.

While some elements of what Peter Gatrell has called «The unsettling of Europe» have been studied for various and specific contexts, the social situations of the workers, and particularly their family life, have long been neglected by migration history. The limited historiography stands in contrast to an abundant sociology of the “Guestworker” since the 1970s. This reticence can be explained, among other things, by a lack of sources. The challenge is even greater when it comes to research on unauthorised family reunifications and other strategies by which the persons concerned tried to maintain family relations. Official records are silent on the placement of children in orphanages or the deportation of children without legal status (sometimes accompanied by their mothers, sometimes raised by relatives in the home country). The archives are also silent on children who lived, sometimes for years, clandestinely and sometimes even hidden in the host country. However, a set of more (or less) recent tools makes it possible to explore this history, notably oral history, the sociology of mobilisations, the socio-history of migrations, gender approaches or the notion of “transnationalism” (Green/Waldinger).

By inviting contributions from various disciplines, the conference “A Europe of Migrations” aims to shed light on the links between family, childhood and clandestinity in the context of labour migration between the Second World War and the end of the Cold War (which, in turn, resulted in other types of labour migration that are not at the centre of this conference). Against the backdrop of our own research on the Swiss case, we aim to build a network of researchers who study diverse (trans)national contexts in the spirit of a critical perspective on the ‘Trente Glorieuse’, ‘miracle years’, ‘Wirtschaftswunder’, bringing together multiple disciplinary perspectives and developing a sensitivity for transnational and even comparative perspectives.

We are planning to publish an edited volume following the conference. The papers may thus also have the character of a “work in progress” in view of a future publication in 2023 (deadline for authors: 31 December 2022). Preference will be given to unpublished contributions.



We invite contributions that are particularly interested in:

  • The legal-political framework of labour migration and family reunification and its development from the end of the Second World War until the 1990s;
  • The strategies of immigrant workers’ families to make family life work under the conditions imposed by a migration regime that aims to limit or even prevent family reunification;
  • The experiences of migrant children (and their parents), especially from the point of view of clandestinity (clandestine border crossing, clandestine stay, but also frequent mobility to avoid clandestinity, threats, denunciation); the trajectories of children affected, at one time or another, by clandestinity; the multiple physical and psychological consequences of clandestinity;
  • the schooling of migrant children, with a particular focus on clandestine children, who, in the case of Switzerland, obtained the right to go to school in the early 1990s. What was the situation in other countries?
  • Gender relations under the conditions of migration, family reunification and clandestinity;
  • Mobilisations in favour of the rights of immigrant workers and especially of children, carried out for example by trade unions, churches or migrant associations; the impact of the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Please send a proposal of approximately 3,000 characters by 29 April 2022 to the following address:

You will receive a notification by 30 May 2022 at the latest.

Languages of the conference: English, French, German.

Language of the publication: English.

Information to be submitted with the proposal: First and last names, institutional affiliation; postal and email address; 5 keywords; research areas.


Contact Info: 

OrganisationProf. Kristina Schulz, Dr. Sarah Kiani, Magali Michelet, Dr. Carole Villiger – University of Neuchâtel

Date of the Conference: October 5-7, 2022

Place: University of Neuchâtel/CH – Espace Tilo-Frey 1, 2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Contact: Dr. Carole Villiger

Adress for the proposal: 

Funded by the Swiss National Science Fundation and the University of Neuchâtel