We will look at intercultural relations specifically from the perspective of migration and the impacts of migration on cultural (linguistic, religious, ethnic) diversity and interactions in the region of the Mediterranean and Southeast Europe. The project will take into consideration the fact that current migrations significantly change the socio-cultural map of Europe and pose important questions about social cohesion and the broadening of citizenship and civic rights to people from non-European Union nation-states who participate in and contribute to the construction of European identity, and economic and socio-cultural development. The demand for integration of foreign populations who are resident and economically active in different European countries presents new and critical challenges for European political and policy directions.
Current policies on migration in Europe are disjoint resembling a “balancing act between exclusion and inclusion”. Thus while there is an explicit commitment to promoting intercultural dialogue and cooperation within and across European societies by integrating migrant cultures into the construction of a European identity, immigration is treated within the context of the new security agenda as a “threat” and immigrants associated with criminality and criminal networks are excluded from Europe. Far removed from the objectives of intercultural dialogue, «cooperation with third countries in the areas of migration and asylum» has come to signify a comprehensive strategy for the prevention of illegal immigrant influxes and the encouragement of legal labour movements.
Instead of being understood as a negative security threat, the concept of migration will be defined in Ge.M.IC as a positive process that produces social spaces of intercultural interaction potentially contributing to the building of constructive and peaceful societies. While acknowledging global inequalities that produce and are being reproduced by and within migrant movements, Ge.M.IC will focus on the positive impact of migration as a process and migrant groups and individuals as agents that challenge established power relations through the construction of intercultural products and hybrid identities. Ge.M.IC will provide insights into contemporary forms of racism, intolerance and xenophobia, through the tripartite approach of gender, migration and intercultural interactions by examining not only forms and practices of discrimination and exclusion of migrants, but also forms and practices of resistance to these phenomena by female and male migrants.