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Open access

The Powerful (Vagueness of) Numbers?

(Non)Knowledge Production about Refugee Accommodation Quantifications in UNHCR's Global Trends Reports

Ulrike Krause

Abstract

The Global Trends Reports represent UNHCR's key tool to share information about annual developments in relation to displacement, primarily through numbers. Among the many subjects covered, they often also address different forms of accommodation. But how do such quantifications produce (non)knowledge and link with the humanitarian landscape? This article explores accommodation categories, quantifications, and local categorizations as presented in the Global Trends Reports published from about 2003 to 2020. While the numbers appear to display precise knowledge on refugees’ whereabouts, gaps prevail in the reports: accommodation categories remain undefined, calculations are partly unclear, and local recategorizations occur suddenly without explanation. This article argues that these issues produce nonknowledge, and that the reports’ continuous attention to accommodation data simulates refugees’ controllability and governability.

Open access

Reflecting on Crisis

Ethics of Dis/Engagement in Migration Research

Ioanna Manoussaki-Adamopoulou, Natalie Sedacca, Rachel Benchekroun, Andrew Knight, and Andrea Cortés Saavedra

Abstract

This article offers a collective “gaze from within” the process of migration research, on the effects the pandemic has had on our interlocutors, our research fields, and our positionalities as researchers. Drawing from our experiences of researching a field in increasing crisis, and following the methodological reflections of the article written by our colleagues in this issue, we discuss a number of dilemmas and repositionings stemming from—and extending beyond—the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Focusing on issues of positionality, ethics of (dis)engaging from the research field, and the underlying extractivist nature of Global North academia, we propose our own vision of more egalitarian and engaged research ethics and qualitative methodologies in the post-pandemic world.

Open access

UK University Initiatives Supporting Forced Migrants

Acts of Resistance or the Reproduction of Structural Inequalities?

Rebecca Murray

Abstract

This article reports on a decade (2008–2018) of university-led “sanctuary scholarships,” which mitigate the challenges encountered by forced migrants with unsettled immigration status in accessing university: primarily financial barriers imposed by their categorization as international students and ineligibility for student funding. Secondary and primary empirical data was analyzed to i) map a decade of sanctuary scholarships delivered across the UK; ii) extend the debate from access to HE to interrogate the efficacy of sanctuary scholarships as a solution; and iii) assess the extent to which sanctuary scholarships challenge the structural exclusion of forced migrants from UK HE across three indices: growth and development, HEI investment, and student success. The findings reveal the extent to which neoliberal and administrative immigration logics are manifest in bordering practices specific to universities, and the interaction of the higher education border with university-led initiatives shaped by hospitality, in the context of anti-migrant hostility.

Open access

“Voluntary Return” without Civil Society?

How the Exclusion of Nongovernment Actors from the Austrian and British Return Regimes Affects the Quality of Voluntariness

Reinhard Schweitzer

Abstract

This article looks at the implementation of so-called “assisted voluntary return” policies in Austria and Britain, where state agencies have recently replaced nongovernmental organizations as providers of return counseling. To better understand how such a shift affects the in/voluntariness of return, I identify three dimensions along which the “quality” of voluntariness can be assessed and relate them to concrete aspects of return counseling practice: absence of coercion; availability of acceptable alternatives; and access to adequate and trusted information. Based on original qualitative data, I show that even within an overall restrictive and oppressive regime, return counselors can make room for voluntariness by upholding ethical and procedural standards—if they retain substantial independence from the government.

Open access

Welcoming Acts

Temporality and Affect among Volunteer Humanitarians in the UK and USA

Rachel Humphris and Kristin Elizabeth Yarris

Abstract

This article compares local volunteer mobilizations offering welcome to forced migrants in the USA (Oregon) and UK (Yorkshire). We contribute to literature on volunteer-based humanitarianism by attending to the importance of affect and temporality in the politics of welcoming acts, presenting the notion of “affective arcs.” While extant literature argues that volunteers become increasingly contestational, we identify a countertendency as volunteers move from outrage toward pragmatism. Through long-term ethnographic engagement, we argue that affective arcs reveal a particular understanding of “the political” and an underlying belief in a fair nation state that has not reckoned with colonial legacies in migration governance. By carefully tracing affective arcs of volunteer humanitarian acts, this article offers original insights into the constrained political possibilities of these local forms of welcome.

Open access

Paul FitzPatrick

Abstract

My visit to the Stateless Heritage exhibition at the Mosaic Rooms, London, led me to reexamine how the concept of “heritage” is used to create and preserve particular narratives of the state, in this case by proposing Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Palestine as a World Heritage Site. Central to the exhibition was the madafeh, seen as a space of openness and hospitality. I am not a refugee and do not speak for refugees. I interpret the Decolonizing Art and Architecture Research (DAAR) collective's decolonizing project in the context of attempts to make room for people seeking asylum within “asylum dispersal areas” such as Doncaster, where I live—attempts in which the madafeh could play an important role.

Open access

Ben Page, Olga R. Gulina, Doğuş Şimşek, Caress Schenk, and Vidya Venkat

MIGRANT HOUSING: Architecture, Dwelling, Migration. Mirjana Lozanovska. 2019. Abingdon: Routledge. 242 pages. ISBN 9781138574090 (Hardback).

THE AGE OF MIGRATION: International Population Movements in the Modern World. 6th ed. Hein de Haas, Stephen Castles, Mark J. Mille. 2020. London: Red Globe Press. 446 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1352007985.

REFUGEE IMAGINARIES: Research across the Humanities. Emma Cox, Sam Durrant, David Farrier, Lyndsey Stonebridge, and Agnes Woolley, eds. 2020. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 642 pages. ISBN 9781474443197 (hardback).

MIGRATION AS A (GEO-)POLITICAL CHALLENGE IN THE POST-SOVIET SPACE: Border Regimes, Policy Choices, Visa Agendas. Olga R. Gulina. 2019. Stuttgart: Ibidem Verlag. 120 pages. ISBN: 9783838213385.

COMPARATIVE REVIEW: Migration and Development in India: Provincial and Historical Perspectives

INDIA MOVING: A History of Migration. Chinmay Tumbe. 2018. New York: Penguin Viking. 285 pages. ISBN: 9780670089833.

PROVINCIAL GLOBALISATION IN INDIA: Transregional Mobilities and Development Politics. Carol Upadhya, Mario Rutten, and Leah Koskimaki, eds. 2020. New York: Routledge. 193 pages. ISBN: 978-1-138-06962-6.

Open access

Mette Louise Berg, Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, and Johanna Waters

To say that working on this issue of Migration and Society has been a challenge would be an understatement. For all of us, from the members of the editorial team to our guest editors, contributors, ever-important reviewers, and the publishing team, 2020 has brought significant barriers. We have feared for the safety of our loved ones; grieved unbearable losses, often from afar; faced different forms of containment; and sought to, somehow, find the time and energy to care for our loved ones, our selves, and one another while navigating unsustainable work commitments and responsibilities.

Open access

Freedom, Salvation, Redemption

Theologies of Political Asylum

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd

Abstract

The politics of religious asylum is ripe for reassessment. Even as a robust literature on secularism and religion has shown otherwise over the past two decades, much of the discussion in this field presumes that religion stands cleanly apart from law and politics. This article makes the case for a different approach to religion in the context of asylum-seeking and claiming. In the United States, it suggests, the politics of asylum is integral to the maintenance of American exceptionalism. Participants in the asylum-seeking process create a gap between Americans and others, affirming the promise of freedom, salvation, and redemption through conversion not to a particular religion or faith but to the American project itself. This hails a particular kind of subject of freedom and unencumbered choice. It is both a theological and a political process.

Open access

Immigrant Sanctuary or Danger

Health Care and Hospitals in the United States

Beatrix Hoffman

Abstract

Hospitals have for centuries been considered safe havens for immigrants and people on the move. However, immigrants and migrants who seek health care have also been targeted for exclusion and deportation. This article discusses the history of how hospitals and health care facilities in the United States have acted both as sanctuaries and as sites of immigration enforcement. This debate came to a head in California in the 1970s, when conservatives began attacking local public health facilities’ informal sanctuary practices. Following the California battles, which culminated in Proposition 187 in 1994, immigrant rights movements have increasingly connected calls for sanctuary with demands for a right to health care.