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Introduction

Recentering the South in Studies of Migration

Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh

Abstract

It has become increasingly mainstream to argue that redressing the Eurocentrism of migration studies requires a commitment to decentering global North knowledge. However, it is less clear whether this necessarily means “recentering the South.” Against this backdrop, this introduction starts by highlighting diverse ways that scholars, including the contributors to this special issue, have sought to redress Eurocentrism in migration studies: (1) examining the applicability of classical concepts and frameworks in the South; (2) filling blind spots by studying migration in the South and South-South migration; and (3) engaging critically with the geopolitics of knowledge production. The remainder of the introduction examines questions on decentering and recentering, different ways of conceptualizing the South, and—as a pressing concern with regard to knowledge production —the politics of citation. In so doing, the introduction critically delineates the contours of these debates, provides a frame for this volume, and sets out a number of key thematic and editorial priorities for Migration and Society moving forward.

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Introduction

Engendering Plural Tales

Yousif M. Qasmiyeh

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Laborers, Migrants, Refugees

Managing Belonging, Bodies, and Mobility in (Post)Colonial Kenya and Tanzania

Hanno Brankamp and Patricia Daley

Abstract

This article examines the ways in which both colonial and postcolonial migration regimes in Kenya and Tanzania have reproduced forms of differential governance toward the mobilities of particular African bodies. While there has been a growing interest in the institutional discrimination and “othering” of migrants in or in transit to Europe, comparable dynamics in the global South have received less scholarly attention. The article traces the enduring governmental differentiation, racialization, and management of labor migrants and refugees in Kenya and Tanzania. It argues that analyses of contemporary policies of migration management are incomplete without a structured appreciation of the historical trajectories of migration control, which are inseparably linked to notions of coloniality and related constructions of (un)profitable African bodies. It concludes by recognizing the limits of controlling Africans on the move and points toward the inevitable emergence of social conditions in which conviviality and potentiality prevail.

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Lessons from Refugees

Research Ethics in the Context of Resettlement in South America

Marcia Vera Espinoza

Abstract

Refugees are the main experts on their own experiences of displacement. They constantly challenge academic research practice and ethical guidelines, as their own lives are under study. This article shares some reflections from research with Colombian and Palestinian resettled refugees in Chile and Brazil, shedding light on refugees’ agency in determining what constitutes safe and ethical research practices.

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Listening with Displacement

Sound, Citizenship, and Disruptive Representations of Migration

Tom Western

Abstract

This article puts sound at the center of migration. Auditory cultures develop in displacement, while sounds are enrolled in regimes of citizenship, playing a key—but unheard—role in debates about freedom of movement. These ideas are presented through research in Athens, Greece, where people assert sonic belonging in the face of denied asylum, racialized persecution, and EU border politics that play out in urban space. I argue for listening with displacement. Such practices can amplify the creativities of people crossing borders, disrupt normative narratives that present migration as a problem, and challenge representational practices that reify ideas of “refugee crisis.” Migration is a sonic process. Sounds are always moving, and can help us rethink society itself through movement.

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Living Through and Living On?

Participatory Humanitarian Architecture in the Jarahieh Refugee Settlement, Lebanon

Riccardo Luca Conti, Joana Dabaj, and Elisa Pascucci

Abstract

In this article, we examine the school project implemented by the architecture charity CatalyticAction in the informal refugee settlement of Jarahieh, in the Bekaa, Lebanon. In doing so, we propose an approach to participatory humanitarian architecture that extends beyond the mere act of designing “together” an “object building.” We see participatory architecture as a process that develops incrementally through the socioeconomic life of precarious communities—through what we call the “living through” and “living on” of participation. While remaining attentive to the infrastructural and political limitations to architectural durability in refugee settlements, we foreground the social life of architectural forms, and consider the built environment as not simply “used,” but produced and (re)productive through time, beyond, and often in spite of, humanitarian interventions.

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Heather Wurtz and Olivia Wilkinson

Abstract

Power dynamics of global decision-making have meant that local faith actors have not been frequently heard in the context of refugee response. The development of new global refugee and humanitarian frameworks gives hope that there will be greater inclusion of Southern-led, faith-based responses. A closer look, however, demonstrates discrepancies between the frameworks used in global policy processes and the realities of local faith actors in providing refugee assistance. We present primary research from distinct case studies in Mexico and Honduras, which counters much of what is assumed about local faith actors in refugee services and aid. Interventions that are considered to be examples of good practice in the global South are not always congruent with those conceptualized as good practices by the international community. Failure to recognize and integrate approaches and practices from the global South, including those led by actors inspired by faith, will ultimately continue to replicate dominant global power structures.

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Managing a Multiplicity of Interests

The Case of Irregular Migration from Libya

Melissa Phillips

Abstract

Libya is a significant transit country for irregular migration to Europe and is therefore the site of much effort by external policy makers, notably the European Union. External actors have been unable to formalize workable agreements with Libyan authorities to address or stop onward migration to Europe. Instead, they have been forced to develop arrangements with Libya's neighboring countries to work around this impasse. This article examines the rhetoric behind efforts by individual European countries and the European Union to implement externally produced migration policies. From crisis narratives to invoking a humanitarian imperative to “save lives,” it is argued that these tropes justify various, at times competing, agendas. This results in almost no tangible improvement to the situation of irregular migrants or the capacity of authorities to deal with irregular migration, with one exception being that of the Libyan coast guard.

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Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Juliano Fiori

Abstract

In this interview with Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Juliano Fiori—Head of Studies (Humanitarian Affairs) at Save the Children—reflects on Eurocentrism and coloniality in studies of and responses to migration. In the context of ongoing debates about the politics of knowledge and the urgency of anticolonial action, Fiori discusses the ideological and epistemological bases of responses to migration, the Western character of humanitarianism, the “localization of aid” agenda, and the political implications of new populisms of the Right.

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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.