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Open access

Adapting to Crisis

Migration Research During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Aydan Greatrick, Jumana Al-Waeli, Hannah Sender, Susanna Corona Maioli, Jin L. Li, and Ellen Goodwin

Abstract

This article draws on our experiences of carrying out PhD research on migration during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are all involved with the University College London Migration Research Unit (MRU), and our PhD research explores the lived experiences of migrants and people affected by migration. This is the first of two articles in this issue of Migration and Society addressing the implications of COVID-19 on migration research from the perspective of postgraduate researchers. In this article, we firstly reflect on how “crises,” including the COVID-19 pandemic, inevitably shape contexts of migration research. We then share how COVID-19 has shaped our relationship to “the field” and our formal research institutions. Finally, we share how we have adapted our methodologies in response to COVID-19 and, considering the complex ethical and practical challenges posed by this context, reflect on what it means to make methodological “adaptations” in times of overlapping crises.

Open access

Carrie Ann Benjamin, Heike Drotbohm, Carolin Fischer, Witold Klaus, Alexander Kondakov, Annika Lems, Yelena Li, Nina Sahraoui, and Ioana Vrăbiescu

ADVENTURE CAPITAL: Migration and the Making of an African Hub in Paris Julie Kleinman. 2019. Oakland, CA: University of California Press. 224 pages. ISBN 9780520304406 (hardback); ISBN 9780520304413 (paperback).

PAPER TRAILS: Migrants, Documents, and Legal Insecurity Sarah B. Horton and Josiah Heyman, eds. 2020. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 264 pages. ISBN 9781478008453 (paperback).

ARC OF THE JOURNEYMAN: Afghan Migrants in England Nichola Khan. 2020. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. 288 pages. ISBN 9781517909628 (hardback).

EU MIGRATION AGENCIES: The Operation and Cooperation of FRONTEX, EASO, and EUROPOL David Fernández-Rojo. 2021. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. 272 pages. ISBN 9781839109331.

Queer Migration and Asylum in Europe ed. Richard C. M. Mole. 2021. London: UCL Press. 262 pages. ISBN 9781787355811.

FINDING WAYS THROUGH EUROSPACE: West African Movers Re-Viewing Europe from the Inside Joris Schapendonk. 2020. New York: Berghahn. 230 pages. ISBN 9781789206807 (hardback).

ILLEGAL: How America's Lawless Immigration Regime Threatens Us All Elizabeth F. Cohen. 2020. New York: Basic Books. 272 pages. ISBN-13 9781541699847 (hardback).

THE OUTSIDE: Migration as Life in Morocco Alice Elliot. 2021. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. 204 pages. ISBN 9780253054739 (hardback).

WASTELANDS: Recycled Commodities and the Perpetual Displacement of Ashkali and Romani Scavengers Eirik Saethre. 2020. Oakland, CA: University of California Press. 252 pages. ISBN 9780520368491.

Restricted access

Continuing Formalization of Coalition Formation with a New “Sound”

Negotiating the Coalition Contract after the 2021 Bundestag Election

Sven T. Siefken

Getting a new government together in Germany requires building a coalition. The process for doing so has evolved, becoming more institutionalized but remaining part of informal politics. Looking closely at the coalition building in 2021 shows that its organizational structure was vertically slimmer and horizontally more differentiated than in previous years. The role of parliamentary actors was more pronounced than before, and parliamentary organization was mirrored throughout it. Yet the strong inclusion of the Länder (party) perspectives prevailed, making coalition building a multi-level task. While the process in 2021 had more procedural transparency than before, its content remained largely out of public sight. At defined steps, party approval was gathered through formal votes. Whether the established account of better personal trust among the involved partners is more than a nice narrative remains to be seen in the analysis of the coalition’s governing practice.

Open access

Maria Nerina Boursinou, Pierre Monforte, and Phevos Simeonidis

Abstract

In this interview with Nerina Boursinou and Pierre Monforte, Phevos Simeonidis—cofounder of the Disinfaux Collective—reflects on the role of civil society organizations in the field of refugee support in Greece, in particular through the focus on their relations with public authorities. The interview provides an account of the changing environment in the field of migration and the diversity of the organizations working to support refugees in Greece, while it highlights such organizations’ ambivalent relations with public authorities. Moreover, the interview discusses the impact of the measures taken by the Greek government(s) to control or repress the activities of civil society organizations in recent years, including their criminalization. Finally, it makes reference to the complex ethics that accompany migration research and support practices, especially in relation to the collective's operation and decision-making processes.

Open access

Yousif M. Qasmiyeh

Abstract

Returning to the refugee camp, “The Crack Invites” revisits what it means to invite and be invited to a camp. This invitation remains suspended, unanswered, and perhaps unanswerable to this day.

Open access

Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Mette Louise Berg

Since the publication of our last issue, which included special sections on The Stakes of Sanctuary and Religion and Refugees, COVID-19 has continued to disrupt peoples’ lives and rhythms in multiple ways around the world. Vaccination programs have enabled many people in Europe and North America to start traveling again for work, to visit family, or for pleasure, yet long-standing global inequalities and inequities have persisted, with deadly effect. At the time of writing (end of February 2022), while 79 percent of the populations of high- and middle-income countries have received at least one vaccine dose, only 13 percent of people in low-income countries have been able to access the vaccine (), reflecting what Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu (Director-General of the World Health Organization) calls global “vaccine apartheid.”

Open access

Editorial Introduction

The Role of “Voluntariness” in the Governance of Migration

Reinhard Schweitzer, Rachel Humphris, and Pierre Monforte

Abstract

This article introduces the theme and scope of this Special Themed Section on the role of ‘voluntariness’ in the governance of migration. It provides an overarching framework for defining and operationalising the notion of voluntariness in the field of migration studies; and for investigating how voluntariness works across different sites, situations and in distinct national contexts. We understand voluntariness as a general principle and instrument that (re)produces the active participation of different actors across society in the (state-driven) management of migration. This focus leads us to explore key dimensions in the shifting (neo-liberal) governmentality of migration in contemporary societies. The introduction makes the case for bringing together seemingly disparate examples and case studies in order to shed new light on how certain ascribed meanings and understandings of voluntariness can shape the actions of very different subjects involved in contemporary bordering processes.

Open access

Forced-Voluntary Return

An Intersectional Approach to Exploring “Voluntary” Return in Toronto, Canada

Tanya Aberman

Abstract

During the near decade of Conservative rule in Canada from 2006 to 2015, anti-refugee and anti-migrant discourse was continuously circulated by government officials. Social, economic, and physical restrictions were implemented based on the dichotomy of “deserving” versus “undeserving” migrants, and borders were created within communities. This article takes an intersectional approach to explore the reasons that some migrants chose to leave Canada “voluntarily” during that time, and the factors that forced them to do so. I offer the concept of forced-voluntary return to capture some of the tensions and messiness within migrant experiences that are neither completely voluntary nor forced. These tensions affirm the emerging calls in research to conceptualize migration on a spectrum from forced to voluntary, and contribute to understandings of migration management, the production of deportability, and the “voluntary” mobility of migrants by highlighting some of the ways in which intersecting identities impact migrants’ decisions about return.

Restricted access

From the Eternal Grand Coalition to the Traffic Light Alliance

The German Party System before and after the 2021 Federal Election

Frank Decker and Philipp Adorf

The first German election without Angela Merkel as a candidate in over one and a half decades would turn out to be one of the most unpredictable in the history of the Federal Republic. For most of the election year, a conservative Green alliance appeared the most likely outcome, potentially even with a Green chancellor at its head. However, the final months of campaigning showcased the volatility of the increasingly fragmented party system and the relevance that candidate selection and external events can have on political majorities. Having been stuck in third place for about three years, the spd’s well-organized campaign managed to complete a remarkable victory, allowing the Social Democrats to come in first for just the third time in close to half a century. Transcending traditional ideological divides, Olaf Scholz’s subsequent three-party “traffic light” alliance serves to perfectly reflect the changes that Germany’s party system has undergone since reunification.

Open access

From Vulnerability to Trust

Personal Encounters and Bordering Processes in the British Refugees Welcome Movement

Pierre Monforte and Gaja Maestri

Abstract

This article examines the complex and ambivalent nature of the encounters between British volunteers and refugees within the 2015 Refugees Welcome movement. The 72 interviews we conducted with volunteers active in different charities and informal networks reveal the significance of the logic of trust in these encounters. We show that although participants often base their engagement on claims that disrupt dominant narratives about border controls, they also tend to endorse and reproduce bordering processes based on the perceived trustworthiness of refugees and, sometimes, exclude some groups from their support. Taking insights from the literature on encounters and critical humanitarianism, our article highlights from a theoretical and empirical perspective how “ordinary participants” in the refugee support sector can subvert humanitarian borders, but also participate in the construction of new types of borders based on domopolitics. More generally, the article aims to highlight civil society's voluntary participation in the governance of migration.