EuroStorie research seminar: Prem Kumar Rajaram 12.11.2019

The EuroStorie research seminar is organized by the Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives and will host a guest speaker or several shorter presentations centred around a common theme.


Room 229, Psychologicum (Siltavuorenpenger 1 A, 00170 Helsinki)

Prem Kumar Rajaram (Central European University): The production of surplus populations: forced migrants, coloniality and racialised capitalism


Migrants and refugees, displaced peoples generally, are often framed as ‘outsiders’ - historical and political analysis has it that displaced peoples are subject to forms of government that are distinct from those experienced by local populations, and as a consequence they are at a remove from the social and political hierarchies and marginalisations, including race relations, ‘inside’ states. Much of this rests on a methodologically nationalist and Orientalist historiography that focuses on the state as the primary political receptacle and actor, and privileges the European state in this history. Against this, I begin with a history of capital, looking at the intertwinement of metropole and colony, that centred on the production of surplus populations, those to be placed outside of capitalist value regimes. This presentation will focus on how different groups, both ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ are subject to marginalisation under contemporary capitalist regimes in Europe. The overall aim is to de-centre migration studies, to move away from a focus on the exotic and different ‘migrant’ towards studying common marginalities of different groups.

About the speaker

Prem Kumar Rajaram is Professor of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Central European University, Budapest. His work centres on the study of forced migration and displacement, on capitalism and on inequalities in higher education. He is the author of Ruling the Margins: colonial power and administrative rule (Routledge, 2016) and co-editor of Borderscapes: Hidden Geographies and Politics at Territory’s Edge (Minnesota, 2008).