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Final Report Summary - LSSDMIC (LAY AND SOCIAL SCIENCE DISCOURSES ON IDENTITY, CITIZENSHIP AND MIGRATION)

The LSSDMIC project aimed to examine the ways in which the principles used in the social sciences to explain the social world might interact with the interpretative resources that are used by lay social actors to make sense of this world. The project examined this by focusing on the underlying processes of interaction between social scientific and everyday lay discourses: the different ways in which social-scientific discourses are synthesised, how these discourses are filtered back to lay discourses, and how these discourses are taken up by lay social actors. The topics selected to probe these issues are identity, citizenship and migration. The interaction between social scientific and lay discourses is studied by conducting a systematic review of social science texts on identity, citizenship and migration and by interviewing immigrants and locals in Central Macedonia, Greece.
The project was completed over 48 months (4 years). During the first 2 years of the project, forty (40) participants were interviewed in group interviews paying attention to combining ethnic group, residence and citizenship status with differences across different age groups, gender, employment, marital and educational status. Overall, fifteen (N=15) group interviews were conducted comprising 2-4 participants each. Seven (N=7) group interviews were conducted with non-indigenous residents of Thessaloniki (N=20) and eight (N=8) group interviews were conducted with indigenous residents of Thessaloniki (N=20). Thessaloniki as an urban centre suffering from high unemployment as well as the uptake of the Citizenship law 3838/2010, proved critical instances of life for research to explore as interesting triggers. As regards the systematic review, the main databases used were: (i) Elsevier’s Scopus and (ii) Thomson-Reuters’ Web of Knowledge (WoK). These two produced extensive lists of material: search results in Web of Knowledge on identity resulted in 108 items; on prejudice 306 items; on social cohesion and integration 50 items; and on civic and political participation, and legal frameworks 406 items. In Scopus, search results on the above thematic areas were numerous of which the top 200 hundred in each category were selected based on the criterion of citation counts.
Years 3 and 4 of the project were dedicated to (i) the analysis of the data collected through, group interviews with majority members of the Greek population and people with immigrant background; (ii) the synthesis of these data with prominent social science texts on topics related to migration, identity and citizenship; (iii) the identification of links between the two and (iv) dissemination within academic as well as wider outreach, beyond scientific audiences. The thematic regularities identified in the interview data revolved around two core themes: (i) citizenship constructed as consciousness, lived experience and feeling; (ii) a rhetoric of ‘law and order’. In the first regularity citizenship was commonly treated as something more than civic making distinctions between citizenship as a formal, bureaucratic conferment and citizenship as an inner feeling that can only be acquired through lived experience – according to some participants – or blood – according to others. In other words, citizenship was treated as ‘belonging’. The second regularity – the rhetoric of ‘law and order’ – was manifested in arguments about the ‘readiness’ and ‘capacity’ of Greece with regards to migration, the management of numbers, the (dis)organisation of the state, the state as a control mechanism, and about respect and law-abiding behaviour. The observations made by reviewing the literature indicated that migration management, legality, proof of effort and worthiness, earned right to stay and access to citizenship, the distinction between ethnic and civic approaches to citizenship and to migration policy, significant others and inclusion/exclusion enjoy heightened attention in social scientific debates.
These insights have been discussed in scientific fora (papers, conferences, seminars and workshops) – both national (LSSDMIC Day conference, ELPSE) and international (CRONEM, Rhetorical Citizenship, BPS, ISPP, ESA) – and addressed to non-scientists (non-technical and technical briefs and a round table). In addition, a project website was set up to communicate its progress (www.lssdmic.eu).
The fellow, Maria Xenitidou, has established a research group which is active in preparing papers for publication and conference presentations and has led the applications for follow up grants. As a result, she will be the Principle Investigator (PI) of a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grant (01/04/2016-30/09/2017). As regards the fellow’s career development and re-integration, a research group has been established and space has been allocated at the laboratory of Child Psychology. Maria Xenitidou has also held a teaching role at the host institution, Democritus University, teaching at the Department of Education Sciences in Early Childhood and at the Department of Social Administration and Political Science. While due to the economic crisis in Greece hiring in the public sector and consequently in the Universities in suspended, the fellow is considered an asset to the host and the department in particular, especially due to her research activity, her specific research interests and cross-disciplinary knowledge of research methods in the social sciences.

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ANTONIS SAPOUNTZIS, (LECTURER)
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