[en] The notions of ‘vulnerability’ and ‘vulnerable group’ have increasingly gained prominence in academic literature, policymaking, humanitarian debates and everyday discourses on migration and asylum. Its popularity, not limited to this field, has often led academics and practitioners to use ‘vulnerability’ as a self-explanatory condition or phenomenon. However, vulnerability is neither conceptually straight-forward nor politically and morally neutral. Multiple definitions and operationalizations of vulnerability exist across and within different fields of research and practice, without a common and systematic understanding of the concept. The notion of vulnerability can also be instrumentilised as a tool for discrimination, stigmatization, control, exclusion or even reduction of humanitarian assistance, when access to protection is restricted to ‘the most vulnerable’.
In the context of the H2020 project MIMY (n°870700), this paper examines the multiplicities and hidden pitfalls behind different conceptualizations and uses of vulnerability and critically reflects on their implication for the study and governance of migration. By unpacking this concept, we hope to highlight both limitations and opportunities enclosed in the notion of vulnerability and encourage migration scholars to understand, address and take a stand before its complexities.
Based on these considerations, a multilevel conceptual model of vulnerability in the specific context of migration is proposed. The model aims to capture several types and understandings of vulnerability and how these are (re)produced at different levels and by different actors, including migrants themselves. Particular attention is paid to migrants’ biographical and psychological experiences of vulnerability and how policy and political frameworks may affect them.
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology: Multidisciplinary, general & others
Author, co-author :
Gilodi, Amalia ; University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences (DBCS)
Albert, Isabelle ; University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences (DBCS)
Nienaber, Birte ; University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Geography and Spatial Planning (DGEO)
External co-authors :
Vulnerability in the context of migration: a critical assessment of its conceptualizations and uses
Publication date :
07 July 2021
Event name :
18th IMISCOE Annual Conference
Event organizer :
Event date :
from 07-07-2021 to 09-07-2021
Focus Area :
Migration and Inclusive Societies
European Projects :
H2020 - 870700 - MIMY - EMpowerment through liquid Integration of Migrant Youth in vulnerable conditions
Name of the research project :
MIMY - EMpowerment through liquid Integration of Migrant Youth in vulnerable conditions