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Noncitizens’ Rights

Moving beyond Migrants’ Rights

Sin Yee Koh

Abstract

In this reflective essay, I argue that it is timely to think of noncitizens’ rights rather than migrants’ rights per se. Using insights gained from my research on expatriates in Brunei and Malaysia, I show how expatriates become institutionalized as perpetual noncitizens and therefore systematically excluded from the assemblage of rights afforded to “recognized” residents. In other words, like their relatively underprivileged migrant counterparts, expatriates are also subjected to differentiated rights tied to their noncitizen status. Linking this insight to my reading of recent scholarship on “forced transnationalism” and “hierarchies of deservingness,” I discuss how these conceptual tools could be useful in advancing a research agenda on noncitizens’ rights. Finally, I reflect on the role universities can play in supporting and advancing this agenda.

Open access

Notes around Hospitality as Inhabitation

Engaging with the Politics of Care and Refugees’ Dwelling Practices in the Italian Urban Context

Camillo Boano and Giovanna Astolfo

Abstract

Hospitality has become a dominant notion in relation to asylum and immigration. Not only is it often used in public and state discourses, it is also prevalent in social analysis, in its ambivalent relationship with hostility and the control and management of population. Grounded in the Derridean suggestion of hospitality as “giving place” (2000: 25), we offer a reflection on hospitality centered around the notion of inhabitation. Framing hospitality as inhabitation helps to move away from problematic asymmetrical and colonial approaches to migration toward acknowledging the multiplicity of transformative experiences embedded in the city. It also enhances a more nuanced understanding of the complex entanglements of humanitarian dilemmas, refugees’ struggle for recognition and their desire for “opacity.” This article draws on five years of teaching-based engagement with the reality of refugees and asylum seekers hosted in the Sistema di Protezione Richiedenti Asilo e Rifugiati in Brescia, Italy.

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Christine Moderbacher

Abstract

More than a year after the Brussels district Molenbeek came to international attention as “ISIS's European capital,” an unplanned encounter during a visit at my former field site leads to a conversation about the struggles and concerns that people are facing in this much-talked-about place. The discussion on a small restaurant terrace wanders off into disappointments and adjustments during research and life and is marked by a shared feeling of uncertainty that mirrors the atmosphere of a city that has seldom been portrayed beyond ephemeral media descriptions.

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Rafael Guendelman Hales

Abstract

“Objects Removed for Study” is a creative remaking of a fraction of the Library of Ashurbanipal (part of the Assyrian collection of the British Museum) by a group of women from the Iraqi Community Association in London. Inspired by the main role of the library as a guide for the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal, and considering the current situation in Iraq, the women were invited to rewrite and re-create a series of ceramic books and artifacts. This project aims to critically rethink both the identity and the role of these old artifacts in the articulation of new sensitivities and possibilities in today's context of displacement.

Open access

Simone Toji

Abstract

This is a story about the disturbed perception of an elderly person of Polish origin who is living through the effects of dementia. Throughout his discontinuous flashes of consciousness, the text plays with senses of alterity and the invisibility of different groups who lived or are still living in Bom Retiro, a neighborhood in the city of São Paulo. The story refers symbolically to a sense of “discovery” of new migration patterns in the city when south-south migration flows became prominent. The existence of different groups of nationalities is also represented in the narrative by the characters’ use of terms borrowed from various languages. While Polish is recovered by the main character in order to explore a sense of belonging, words in Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese are appropriated by him and other figures to establish a certain degree of alterity in relation to the migrants who are native speakers of these three languages.

Open access

Places of Otherness

Comparing Eastleigh, Nairobi, and Xiaobei, Guangzhou, as Sites of South-South Migration

Neil Carrier and Gordon Mathews

Abstract

This article looks at two urban landscapes critical for mobility within the Global South: Eastleigh, Kenya, and Xiaobei, China. While different, they are both centers of global trade that attract migrants seeking livelihoods, and are also regarded with great ambivalence within the countries that host them. We explore this ambivalence, showing how it links to fear of the “others” who animate them, and to broader politics in which migrants become caught. Such places often simultaneously attract members of the host society for a taste of the other, or business opportunities, yet also repel and induce fear as places of danger. For the migrant population, there is also ambivalence—as they are places that offer both opportunity for social mobility, yet also places of hard lives and immobility. In short, both are critical nodes in patterns of South-South mobility where dynamics of such mobility and reaction to it can be understood.

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Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Francesco Carella

Abstract

In this interview with Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Francesco Carella—Labour Migration and Mobility Specialist at the International Labour Organization (ILO) currently covering Central America, Mexico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, and previously covering North Africa—reflects on the position of “the South” and “South-South migration” in policy and programmatic responses to different forms of migration. He discusses how and to what effect terms such as “South” and “South-South migration” are used by different stakeholders in his professional field, and outlines contemporary challenges and opportunities to better understand the needs and rights of migrants, and to promote the rights of migrants and their families around the world.

Open access

Rihab Azar

Abstract

Can collaborative, transparent, and open-ended inquiries empower social activism and grassroot change? In my response to “Listening with Displacement,” I argue that it can and that it should. In an age full of unhelpful and dangerous narratives of displacement, I suggest that anthropologists are very well-positioned to take their role a step further to facilitate social understanding and cohesion as they collaboratively explore and create points of contact with and for their subjects.

Open access

Liliana L. Jubilut

Abstract

This article reflects on the roles that universities from Brazil and Latin America can play in the protection of refugees and other migrants in the context of a debate of “recentering” the Global South in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies. To that end, it draws on teaching, research, and outreach initiatives as well as general reflections on the topic, and presents examples from Brazil and Latin America.

Open access

The Territorialization of Vietnam's Northern Upland Frontier

Migrant Motivations and Misgivings from World War II until Today

Sarah Turner, Thi-Thanh-Hien Pham, and Ngô Thúy Hạnh

Abstract

Agricultural expansion and resource exploitation are reconfiguring the Southeast Asian Massif in important ways, with related in-migration to these uplands increasing rapidly. Within this region, the northern Vietnam frontier has an unusual migration history, including state-sponsored resettlement and spontaneous migration. While analyzing the reflections of 90 migrants, we investigate the patterns and processes by which Vietnam's northern uplands have been peopled with lowland migrants from World War II until today, revealing three key waves or temporal groups. Focusing on these groups, we compare migrants’ everyday lived experiences during and soon after their journeys, with a range of unmet expectations, concerns, and tensions becoming apparent. This combination means that while the taming and territorialization of this upland frontier can be considered structurally complete, for migrant settlers their new home remains an ambiguous social space.