Historical Social Research

45.4 - Violence Induced Mobility

Special Issue - Christoph Rass & Ismee Tames (Eds.): Negotiating the Aftermath of Violence Induced Mobility in the Wake of the Second World War. Rethinking Sources, Methods and Approaches from the Intersection of War and Migration Studies in the Digital Age.

The 20th century has been labelled a “century of refugees.” It has not only brought forth mass displacement of humans on an unprecedented scale, but also all those concepts and definitions by which the phenomenon is described, judged, and narrated, and the institutions, politics, and policies that it dealt with. This shaped our perception of “refugees,” “refugee-crisis,” and the “management” of both at the beginning of the 21st century.

The 20th century fused mass displacement, the collective and institutionalized – often international and state sponsored – responses, and the construction of concepts for describing and shaping its realities into an inseparable trinity. Three main perspectives in historical research become visible within the ever broadening field of research on the millions driven into emigration by pogroms and persecution after the First World War, the “refugee-crisis” after the Second World War, and the forced and violence-induced migration of people as a global phenomenon during and after the Cold War: One strand of literature focusses on institutions with their legal, political, organizational, and sometimes even cultural legacies. Another main field of research covers refugees’ experiences, often limiting itself to the dramatic phase when victims of forced migration are perceived as “displaced persons,” “refugees,” or “asylum seekers” respectively. Finally, historical migration research has very much focused on reconstructing flows of forced migrants and displaced persons as specific migration systems.

Inspired by the work of Peter Gatrell, this HSR Special Issue offers to merge these perspectives with regard to mass displacement after the Second World War and broaden the approach both methodologically and chronologically: The contributions in this volume focus on the how and with what consequences mass displacement was handled after the Second World War from a migration regimes perspective. Informed by reflexive migration studies, the authors follow victims of forced migration not only while they are being framed as “refugees” or “displaced persons” but also observe their paths into, in, and beyond those categories. Empirical studies are framed by papers discussing digital methods, archival sources, and analytical approaches drawn from neighboring research on migration and violence as well as migrants coping strategies.

Furthermore, this this HSR issue contains a Mixed Issue.