Research results 2021


A research paper comparing the experience of Central and East European migrants in Japan and UK has been published in a special issue of Comparative Migration Studies focusing on the diversity in UK and Japan. The paper is a result of collaborative work with Dr. Špela Drnovšek Zorko of the University of Warwick (UK) and analyzes the experience of Central and Eastern Europeans from the perspective of race in both countries. Data gathered through this project were used for the analysis in this paper.

Paper title: Comparing the racialization of Central-East European migrants in Japan and the UK
Authors: Špela Drnovšek Zorko & Miloš Debnár 
Paper abstract: The article deploys the lens of the race-migration nexus (Erel et al., Ethnic and Racial Studies 39:1339–1360, 2016) to compare the racialization of migrants in the UK and Japan. It draws on qualitative data on the experiences of Central-East European (CEE) migrants in the two countries to unpack how whiteness is constructed in relation to different histories and patterns of immigration in each national context. While CEE migrants in Japan benefit from being perceived as implicitly white and Western ‘foreigners’, their whiteness represents a form of enduring exclusion from the ethno-nationalist Japanese society. In the UK, changing political contexts and internal European hierarchies of whiteness contribute to CEE migrants’ ambiguous position in an increasingly anti-migrant society. By comparing the mechanisms of racialization in each country through the analytics of visibility and exclusion, the article furthers ongoing debates about the intersections of race and migration. It furthermore extends the comparative analysis of whiteness to a non-Western setting, making a significant contribution to the study of local/global articulations of race.

The paper is open access, and thus free to read for everyone interested. Please, follow the link bellow to read the full paper.

Academic presentations:

Preliminary results of the questionnaire and interview survey were presented by the principal investigator of this project at the following two confrences:

  1. Association for Asian Studies AAS-in-Asia 2020, Kobe (Presentation title: Europeans in Japan – a patchwork of social positions)
  2. European Association for Japanese Studies Conference 2021, Ghent University, Belgium (Presentation title: Meanings of Japan as destination and meaning of migration for contemporary Europeans in Japan)

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