Australia’s harsh policy response to asylum seekers appears to be an extreme measure for a country that thinks of itself as a liberal democracy. Confining analyses of this regime to refugee law and policy overlooks the ways that Australia’s colonial history, Indigenous dispossession, and contemporary race relations interact with one another. Th is article argues that these historical dynamics are essential to understanding the Australian government’s response to asylum seekers in the present day, with asylum-seekers and Indigenous peoples in Australia both being utilized as tools of modern statecraft to shore up the legitimacy of the Australian state. Attention is drawn to parallels between the treatment of both Indigenous peoples and asylum seekers by the Australian government, with the increasingly harsh response to asylum seekers in Australian politics coinciding with the expansion of land rights for Indigenous Australians.
Linking Land and Sea
Intersections between Indigenous Peoples’ Dispossession and Asylum Seekers’ Containment by Australia
Estella Carpi, Sandy F. Chang, Kristy A. Belton, Katja Swider, Naluwembe Binaisa, Magdalena Kubal-Czerwińska, and Jessie Blackbourn
THE MYTH OF SELF-RELIANCE: Economic Lives Inside a Liberian Refugee Camp. Naohiko Omata. New York: Berghahn Books, 2017. 194 pages, ISBN 9781785335648 (hardback).
DIASPORA'S HOMELAND: Modern China in the Age of Global Migration. Shelly Chan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018. 280 pages, ISBN 9780822370420 (hardback), 9780822370543 (paperback).
NONCITIZENISM: Recognising Noncitizen Capabilities in a World of Citizens. Tendayi Bloom. New York: Routledge, 2018. 222 pages, ISBN 9781138049185 (hardback).
PROTECTING STATELESS PERSONS: The Implementation of the Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons across EU States. Katia Bianchini. Brill Nijhof: Leiden, 2018. 382 pages, ISBN 9789004362901 (hardback).
HOPE AND UNCERTAINTY IN CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN MIGRATION. Nauja Kleist, and Thorsen Dorte, eds. New York: Routledge, 2017. 200 pages, ISBN 9781138961210 (hardback).
THE IMPACT OF MIGRATION ON POLAND: EU Mobility and Social Change. Anne White, Izabela Grabowska, Paweł Kaczmarczyk, and Krystyna Slany. London: UCL University Press, 2018. 276 pages, ISBN 9781787350687 (open access PDF).
UNLEASHING THE FORCE OF LAW: Legal Mobilization, National Security, and Basic Freedoms. Devyani Prabhat. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. 225 pages, ISBN 9781137455741 (hardback), ISBN 9781349928118 (paperback).
Hospitality and the Categorical Imperative of LGBTQ Asylum Seeking in Lebanon and Turkey
This article argues that Northern responses to, and recognition of, LGBTQ refugees bind queer organizations in Lebanon and Turkey, which support such refugees, in a state of contradiction. This contradiction is defined both by the failure of Northern LGBTQ rights discourses to account for Southern ways of being queer, but also by the categorical imperative of hospitality, which asks that the “right” refugee appears in line with the moral, political, raced, and gendered assumptions of Northern host states. In recognizing this imperative, this article observes how queer organizations in Lebanon and Turkey navigate this contradiction by simultaneously “coaching” their beneficiaries on how to appear “credible” in line with Northern assumptions about sexual difference, while working to accommodate the alterity of those they support.
Mette Louise Berg, Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, and Johanna Waters
This second volume of Migration and Society marks our continued intellectual engagement with authors, artists, and guest editors to make the journal a dynamic platform for exchange and debate across disciplines and fields of thought and action around the issue of migration. Migration continues to be an ongoing issue of global import, and in the past few years we have seen powerful stakeholders around the world developing processes, dialogues, policies, and programs to respond to the challenges and questions that it raises. As editors of Migration and Society, we remain committed to the importance of fostering critical examinations of, and reflections on, migration and the way it is framed and understood by all actors. As these processes and policies have increasingly aimed to “control,” “manage,” “contain,” and “prevent” migration, the need for careful attention to migrants’ everyday practices, desires, aspirations, and fears is particularly urgent, as is the importance of situating these both historically and geographically.
The Politics of “Intolerability” in the Danish Migration and Integration Regimes
Julia Suárez-Krabbe and Annika Lindberg
Across Northern European states, we can observe a proliferation of “hostile environments” targeting racialized groups. This article zooms in on Denmark and discusses recent policy initiatives that are explicitly aimed at excluding, criminalizing, and inflicting harm on migrants and internal “others” by making their lives “intolerable.” We use the example of Danish deportation centers to illustrate how structural racism is institutionalized and implemented, and then discuss the centers in relation to other recent policy initiatives targeting racialized groups. We propose that these policies must be analyzed as complementary bordering practices: externally, as exemplified by deportation centers, and internally, as reflected in the development of parallel legal regimes for racialized groups. We argue that, taken together, they enact and sustain a system of apartheid.
“Epitaphic” features two poems that were written to speak to the poet's interest in commemorating or capturing past moments, events, or persons. “Topographies” is concerned with the interplay between transience and permanence—the passing of time, changing relationships, but also the altering of emotional and physical landscapes. The poem largely speaks to a process of loss and memory, both on a macrocosmic or geographical level, and on a smaller, intimate level. Similarly, “Thanatos” connects with the broad theme of loss, particularly humanity's inability to recognize, appease, or ameliorate the suffering of the animal Other.
Jelena Tošić and Annika Lems
This contribution introduces the collection of texts in this special section of Migration and Society exploring contemporary patterns of im/mobility between Africa and Europe. It proposes an ontological-epistemological framework for investigating present-day movements via three core dimensions: (1) a focus on im/mobility explores the intertwinement of mobility and stasis in the context of biographical and migratory pathways and thus goes beyond a binary approach to migration; (2) an existential and dialogical-ethnographic approach zooms in on individual experiences of im/mobility and shows that the personal-experiential is not apolitical, but represents a realm of everyday struggles and quests for a good life; and (3) a genealogical-historical dimension explores present-day migratory quests through their embeddedness within legacies of (post)colonial power relations and interconnections and thus counteracts the hegemonic image of immigration from Africa as having no history and legitimacy.
The Long Homecoming
Ghanaian Migrant Business and Power in Veneto, Italy
This article discusses the challenge of returning home after years abroad from the perspective of Ghanaian labor migrants in northern Italy. It seeks to explore how Ghanaian migrants after years of hard work still find themselves fundamentally estranged from Italy and constantly must navigate day-to-day experiences of bigotry and discrimination in the workplace. Yet the migrants realize that returning home to Ghana is not as straightforward as they might have imagined when they set out, and how to protect advances upon returning to a home country that has changed rapidly during their years in Italy is a recurring subject of concern. Based on ethnographic vignettes, the article will explore West African migrants’ everyday struggles in Italy's segregated and crisis-hit labor market.
“Looking for One's Life”
Trapped Mobilities and Adventure in Morocco
This article examines how “irregular” migrants from West and Central Africa make sense of their trapped mobility in Morocco: for many, crossing into Europe has become almost impossible, returning to home countries “empty-handed” a shameful option, and staying very difficult in the face of repeated infringement of their rights. I explore the limits of contemporary depictions of a “migration crisis” that portray migrants south of the Mediterranean Sea as simply en route to Europe and fail to engage with (post)colonial entanglements. The article recalibrates the examination of migrants’ lived experiences of stasis and mobility by exploring the emic notion of “adventure” among migrants “looking for their lives.” A focus on how migrants articulate their own (im)mobility further exposes and defies the pitfalls of abstract concepts such as “transit migration,” which is misleading in its implication of a fixed destination.
Migration as Survival
Withheld Stories and the Limits of Ethnographic Knowability
How to write about survival? How to tell survival? By exploring manifold reasons to withhold a story, I shed light on the limits of ethnographic knowledge production and the politics of storytelling that mobilize one story and silence another. Through engaging with the fragmented narrative of a Moroccan survivor of a shipwreck in Spanish waters in 2003, I reconceptualize the movement called “migration as survival” by theorizing it as an ethnographic concept. I explore the different temporalities of survival as living through a life-threatening event and as living on in an unjust world. These interrelated temporalities of survival are embedded in the afterlife of the historical time of al-Andalus and the resurgent fear of the Muslim “Other.” By suggesting an existentially informed political understanding of the survival story, I show how the singularity of the survivor is inscribed in a regime of mobility that constrains people and their stories.