Loving Attachment: Regulating Danish Love Migration (LOVA)
Research Ambition: Scope and Impact
The unfolding European migration crises illustrates the urgent need for new conceptualizations and discursive frameworks to qualify our understandings of how and to what effect different forms of migration are conceptually and politically governed. The LOVA collective research project investigates the ways in which the psychological and juridical concepts of attachment have come to regulate Danish love migration. LOVA is structured around four individual and two collaborative projects, which provide synergic, interdisciplinary perspectives on how the concept of attachment governs love migration. In everyday use, the developmental psychological concept of attachment (‘tilknytning’) denotes an individual’s capacity to form social bonds. Over the past 15 years, however, Danish migration legislation has operationalized the concept of attachment as a means of governing types of migration commonly understood as involving relationships of love: i.e. family reunification, transnational adoption, and transnational migration marriages.
Even though the concept of attachment thus functions as an established organizing tool for love migration to Denmark, no research exists on the effects of this form of political and social regulation. Likewise, there is a lack of research into the psychological, juridical, and discursive understandings of attachment upon which these regulations rest. LOVA establishes such knowledge through the overall research question:
How and to what effect has the concept of attachment been operationalized to regulate different forms of love migration in a Danish context from 2000-2015?
This research question thus posits attachment (to the adoptive family, to a family member, and to the nation) as a new (bio)political regulation that forms the basis upon which migration is discussed.
LOVA offers A) a locally situated contribution to the rapidly growing international field of affect (emotion) research within equality studies, B) analytical methods for theorizing love and attachment as specific power technologies utilized within the political field of migration.
LOVA’s academic impact consists of introducing new interdisciplinary tools to research on governmentality, migration politics. In terms of social impact, LOVA aims to challenge public understandings of attachment’s function as a migration political tool and to bolster democratic dialogues on love migration, which plays a key role in the Danish political debate. Through knowledge exchange with NGOs and stakeholders, we seek to qualify the knowledge that forms the basis for policymaking, which could ultimately lead to policy changes.
International Conference and Special Issue
The conference will bring together researchers at the intersection of affect theory, transnational adoption studies, critical race studies, and governmentality studies. In relation to the conference, there will be a CFP and the editing of a publication about Affective Regulations of Migration.