Call for Papers: The impact of Black Lives Matter and Covid-19 on Public Attitudes to Immigrants

Call for Papers: The impact of Black Lives Matter and Covid-19 on Public Attitudes to Immigrants
ECPR General Conference, 31 August- 3 September 2021, University of Innsbruck

When it comes to attitudes to immigrants and their rights, 2020 has seen two major events: the Black Lives Matter protests in the US triggered by the killing of George Floyd, and the global Covid-19 pandemic. In this panel, we seek innovative empirical contributions that study how these events affected social norms and in turn affected attitudes to immigrants or related discrimination. On the one hand, the pandemic a priori heightens distinctions between in-groups and out-groups, which leads to more negative attitudes. The crisis may further create a fertile ground for xenophobia and nationalist tendencies due to increased feelings of fear, threat, uncertainty, and anxiety, which may result in discriminating behaviour. What is more, scapegoating of immigrants and health-related negative stereotypes may surface during the health crisis. On the other hand, the media coverage of Black Lives Matter increased awareness of structural racism and spread the perspective of racial and ethnic minorities. As a result of this, European respondents may have developed more nuanced attitudes to minority groups, and the salience of the news coverage may have led to extended contact and perspective taking that reduce negative stereotypes and will lead to more positive attitudes. We expect temporal and geographic variation to yield insightful comparisons, while experimental studies can reveal likely mechanisms how these major events affected attitudes and discrimination. We also welcome experimental and observational papers explicitly accounting for the intersectionality of categories of difference, e.g. ethnicity, race, religiosity or gender, in triggering prejudice and discrimination.

Panel chairs: Didier Ruedin (University of Neuchâtel,, Anita Manatschal (University of Neuchâtel,


Submit your abstract (max 250 words) online at: no later than 1 February 2021.

Call as PDF

Reminder: Call for Survey Questions & Experiments

This is a reminder for the call for a joint survey, building to a joint publication.

You can contribute (a) survey questions, (b) designs for survey experiments, and (c) interest in survey analysis in the following areas:

— The role of limited information in decisions to migrate
— Aspirations and abilities to migrate
— The role of different narratives of migration
— Immobility (inability or lack of motivation to move)
— Research on the role of trust in migration decisions
— Health and migration

The survey will probably be fielded in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, or a combination of these countries in October 2020.

You are embedded in a university in a Subsaharan African
country or in Switzerland, and study human migration in any relevant discipline.

Deadline: 4 September 2020

Online form:

For further information on the Swiss-Subsaharan Africa Migration Network (S-SAM):

Call for Papers — Decision-Making under Uncertainty: African Migrants in the Spotlight

In the context of the Swiss-Subsaharan African Migration Network (S-SAM), we’re now looking for paper contributions for a thematic issue at the open access journal Social Inclusion. Feel free to contact me for information.

Submission of Abstracts: 1-15 May 2020
Submission of Full Papers: 15-30 September 2020
Publication of the Issue: March 2021

Information: The objective of this thematic issue is to better understand how migrants decide whether to migrate and where to migrate to by considering the limited information available to them. Existing work is informed by two distinct literatures. Migration studies developed two-step models distinguishing ambitions to migrate from the capability to migrate, while contributions in economics and psychology have sharpened our understanding that we often make decisions without perfect information.

Without communication between literatures, however, we do not understand well why immigrants try to reach countries in the Global North despite seemingly impossible odds. The articles should use mostly qualitative and mixed methods to study migration decisions in countries of origin and transit, to better understand how imperfect and contradictory information affects decisions. They highlight the role of narratives and expectations, and how human biases and bounded rationality matter for ambitions to migrate, and what migrants do to maximize the capability to migrate.

Articles will focus on the initial decision to leave countries of origin—why individuals take considerable risks and often take on debt in their endeavour to reach countries in the Global North, risks that seem disproportional to the likely gains, as most immigrants never reach their destination, and many are unable to fulfil their expectations. Articles will also focus on what happens during the journey where formal and informal migration may be mixed. They explore how different narratives influence the migration journey as individuals learn more about the risks and likely outcomes. Articles focusing on student migrants in particular, a migration channel experiencing a recent surge without much attention in academia, are especially welcome. With the increasingly difficult routes across the Mediterranean, some individuals formally sign up for studies in countries such as Northern Cyprus as an intermediate destination.

Instructions for Authors: Authors interested in submitting a paper for this issue are asked to consult the journal’s instructions for authors and send their abstracts in a Word file (about 250 words, with a tentative title and reference to the thematic issue) by email to the Editorial Office ( When submitting their abstracts, authors are also asked to confirm that they are aware that Social Inclusion is an open access journal with a publishing fee if the article is accepted for publication after peer-review (corresponding authors affiliated with our institutional members do not incur this fee).

Open Access:  The journal has an article publication fee to cover its costs and guarantee that the article can be accessed free of charge by any reader, anywhere in the world, regardless of affiliation. We defend that authors should not have to personally pay this fee and advise them to check with their institutions if funds are available to cover open access publication fees. Institutions can also join Cogitatio’s Membership Program at a very affordable rate and enable all affiliated authors to publish without incurring any fees. Further information about the journal’s open access charges and institutional members can be found here.

Contour Plot Breaks Off?

Today I experimented with the good old contour plots in R. I plotted my points rather large, because there is quite some uncertainty around their precise placement. In this particular case, I start with an empty plot and a custom range, and add the points separately. Note the cex=8 to draw extra large points.

plot(c(80, 740), c(180, 740) , type='n', xlab="", ylab="", bty="n", main="")
points(jitter(x), jitter(y), cex=8, pch=19, col="#AA449950")

Then I added contours, and they were cut off, breaking off where I expected them to go around the dots. Why are there incomplete lines at the top and bottom?

It turns out — a.k.a. read the manual — that kde2d sets the default limits to the range (I guess this is quite reasonable in other cases): lims = c(range(x), range(y)). Now my big dots obviously cover more than the strict range of values, so all I needed to do was set my own lims in kde2d.

Here’s the entire code for the plot:
plot(c(80, 740), c(180, 740) , type='n', xlab="", ylab="", bty="n", main="")
points(jitter(x), jitter(y), cex=8, pch=19, col="#AA449950")
# z = kde2d(x, y, n=50) # this one didn't work out
z = kde2d(x, y, n=50, lims=c(80, 740, 180, 740))
contour(z, drawlabels=FALSE, nlevels=6, col="#AA4499", add=TRUE)

How Many Sans Papiers Are There in Switzerland

I have written a blog post for the NCCR on the move on how many sans-papiers there are in Switzerland (in German). The blog post draws on a study I was involved in two years ago, where we estimated the number of sans-papiers in Switzerland. The main message: of course we don’t know how many there are, so our best estimate also comes with uncertainty. Strangely enough, when this study is cited in politics, I can always see a single precise figure — a figure we always greatly de-emphasized in the report.