The ‘illegal’ traveller

An auto‐ethnography of borders*

in Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale
Shahram Khosravi Department of Social Anthropology Stockholm University
SE‐106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

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Borders of nation‐states have come to be a natural order in human lives. They are not only edges of a state but also seen as an essential reference of national identity. Based on a capitalist‐oriented and racial discriminating way of thinking, borders regulate movements of people. In an era of global inequality of mobility rights, freedom of mobility for some is only possible through systematic exclusion of others. This paper is an auto‐ethnography of borders and ‘illegal’ travelling. Based on personal experiences of a long journey across many borders in Asia and Europe, I attempt to explore how the contemporary border regime operates. The paper focuses on the rituals and performances of border crossing. This is a narrative of the late 20th century through the eyes of an ‘illegal’ migrant.

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