The Dominance of the National in the European Discourses of Portability?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
WMB - Hugh Fraser Seminar Room 2 (University of Glasgow)
Florence Fröhlig , Social and Historical Studies, Sörertörn University
This paper explores how elite ‘discourses of belonging’ shape, and make sense of, the conditions under which EU8 labour migrants both practice and experience their mobility on the one hand, and try to secure their social protection transnationally, on the other. Discourses of belonging are naturalized gendered, ethnicized/nationalized, age- and class-related views on membership and belonging that articulate and reproduce assumptions about social rights, social security and social citizenship. They contain logics of inclusion and exclusion that discursively organize who belongs where, and under what conditions, giving us insight into the production and reproduction of inequalities in social protection for mobile EU citizens. These in turn have an impact on the distribution of social security rights and the possibilities to port social rights across borders. Drawing on analysis of 48 interviews with senior policy stakeholders in 8 countries, the paper identifies differences and similarities of elite discourses of belonging between the country-pairs Bulgaria-Germany, Estonia-Sweden, Hungary-Austria and Poland-UK. It goes on to explain how similarities and differences across all eight countries generate transnational dimensions of these discourses, while articulating specific modes of inclusion and exclusion for EU mobile citizens.