This thought piece reflects on the workings of modern migration through the prism of metabolism. It contends that the metabolic idiom productively underscores how migration as a process is enabled and evoked by particular flows of materials and energy and how the movement of migrants engenders social and environmental transformations.
The Metabolism of Modern Migration
Migration and Citizenship in “Athens of Crisis”
An Interview with Vice Mayor Lefteris Papagiannakis
Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou and Nina Papachristou
In this interview with UCL’s Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou, Lefteris Papagiannakis explains his role as Athens’ vice mayor for migrants and refugees. He discusses the city’s responses to the arrival of thousands of refugees and migrants in the last few years. He reflects on the complex relationship of the municipality of Athens with non-government support networks, such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations, as well as autonomous local activists, in providing support services to migrants. Papagiannakis also addresses how Athens negotiates its support for these groups in the current European anti-immigrant climate, and the relationship between the Greek economic crisis and the so-called “refugee crisis.”
Moving the Goalposts
Postcolonial Intersections and Mobilities
The articles in this issue’s special section strike a balance of disciplines, geographical areas, scales, and seniority levels, and offer thought-provoking examples of studies of postcolonial intersectional locations of mobile people and ideas in Asia. This response seeks to tease out the potential avenues not only for future themes of research but also for innovative methods. It concludes with an invitation to better incorporate intersectionality into our research and acknowledge how it also plays out in our own positionality and understanding of mobility.
The Needle Drop
History and Hip-Hop Mobility in the Transpacific (EP)
William B. Noseworthy
Scholarship in the field of hip-hop studies has convincingly argued against a “cultural grey out” and in favor of “local idiosyncrasies” in the mobility of cultural forms. That said, no published study has focused on the movements of the artists themselves in a transpacific context that places scenes in Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Vietnam in conversation with one another. Varying histories of colonialism and postcolonial movements are essential aspects of each social context. I argue that the transpacific lens allows scholars to draw out the movements of individuals, influences, and emergent trends in the art form to better understand how artists are, metaphorically, scratching back and forth between representing originality on the one hand and the need for popular appeal on the other. I draw on vinyl itself as a metaphor for this article, which is framed as an EP.
Once, I Lived in a House with a Name
Mohamed Assaf and Kate Clanchy
Five poems written by Mohamed Assaf (a young Syrian boy who currently lives in Oxford with his family and studies at Oxford Spires Academy) under the mentorship of the poet Kate Clanchy. The introduction and poems themselves offer a reflection on Mohamed’s old and new place(s) in the world, and the signifi cance of writing as a way of responding to, and resisting, “refugeedom.”
Re/Making Immigration Policy through Practice
How Social Workers Influence What It Means to Be a Refused Asylum Seeker
Kathryn Tomko Dennler
Refused asylum seekers living in the UK face hostility and legal restrictions on the basis of immigration status that limit access to statutory support, employment, and social goods. Working at a non-profit organization that offered an advice service for refused asylum seekers, I observed how the experiences of refused asylum seekers are constituted not simply by restrictions within immigration law, but rather by the ways in which laws are perceived and implemented by a wide range of actors. I argue that the legal consciousness of social workers hostile to refused asylum seekers plays an important role in making policy through practice. I show that social workers prioritized immigration enforcement over other legal obligations, thereby amplifying the meaning of immigration status and deepening the marginalization of refused asylum seekers.
Critical Music in Reassembly on Tinos
G Douglas Barrett
Reassembly, curated by G Douglas Barrett and Petros Touloudi Tinos, Greece 5 July 2017 to 31 October 2017
The free movement of bodies and objects once considered critical for the smooth functioning of contemporary art has appeared, especially since 2017, increasingly uncertain in this era marked by new forms of nationalism, xenophobia, and economic isolationism. Indeed, many artists working in this environment have found it difficult or impossible to cross once unquestionably open borders, or to ship works to and from exhibitions held across a requisitely international stage. As an attempt to respond to this crisis, I, along with Petros Touloudis, curated Reassembly, an exhibition held in the summer of 2017 on the island of Tinos, Greece. The exhibition came out of an annual residency program organized by Touloudis’s Tinos Quarry Platform and was held at the Cultural Foundation of Tinos. Overall, we wanted to ask if there is a critical role for music can play in the field contemporary art, especially as its plagued by new forms of border policing and geopolitical conflict.
Refugee Hospitality Encounters in Northern Portugal
“Cultural Orientations” and “Contextual Protection”
This article discusses the legal and institutional framework of refugee hospitality in Portugal. This sets the context for an analysis of how hospitality encounters take place in northern towns between asylum seekers, refugees, voluntary hosting institutions, public services, and volunteers. The aim is to enquire into the conflicting expectations, morals, and values of these different people and institutions, and into how they are managed and negotiated in practice. Through focusing on the “moral subjectivities” of individuals, the data elucidates the tensions that arise between charity-based and rights-based approaches, how misunderstandings arise and are avoided through engaging in “contextual protection,” and how linear transitions from hospitality to hostility cannot be presumed.
Imagining Refugia: Thinking Outside the Current Refugee Regime
Nicholas Van Hear, Veronique Barbelet, Christina Bennett, and Helma Lutz
Against the background of the refugee and migration crises of the last three years, this contribution takes as a starting point recent proposals that explore alternatives to the current international migration and refugee architecture. One strand of proposals explores the idea of new nations, cities, or polities for refugees and migrants—often dismissed as fantasies by many commentators. After briefly reviewing these proposals, the article explores the possibility not of a new “refugee nation,” but rather a new kind of transnational polity—Refugia—created and governed by refugees and migrants themselves, and which links refugee and migrant communities globally. Such a transnational polity is imperfectly prefigured in many of the transnational practices that refugees and migrants deploy and the environments in which they find themselves today. Consolidating them pragmatically into a common polity—Refugia—might prove to be a way out of the current impasse.
Sanctuary City Organizing in Canada
From Hospitality to Solidarity
David Moffette and Jennifer Ridgley
In recent years, migrant justice organizers in Canada have developed campaigns aimed at building, legislating, and enforcing municipal commitments to alleviating and resisting the harms done by federal immigration enforcement, and ensuring migrant access to municipal services. As a result of these efforts, some cities, including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Hamilton, have declared themselves “sanctuary cities,” and campaigns centered around this concept have emerged in other localities across the country. In this article, the authors—who are themselves involved in sanctuary city organizing—reflect on the concept, and offer a critical assessment of these organizing efforts. We provide a brief history of these campaigns in Canada, discuss the impact of these policies in cities where they have been adopted, reflect on the types of politics that inform notions of sanctuary, hospitality, solidarity, and resistance, and offer some lessons for moving forward.