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“Looking for One’s Life”

Trapped Mobilities and Adventure in Morocco

Sébastien Bachelet

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 examinationof 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.

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Migration as Survival

Withheld Stories and the Limits of Ethnographic Knowability

Gerhild Perl

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.

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Moving-with-Others

Restoring Viable Relations in Emigrant Gambia

Paolo Gaibazzi

The article argues for an intersubjective understanding of mobility among aspirant migrants in the Gambia. Among other factors, Gambian young men’s desire to reach Europe and other destinations may stem from an experience of dispersal and abandonment in migrant households. Emigration becomes a way of restoring the viability of relationships, in a socioeconomic sense of regenerating ties and flows between migrants and nonmigrants, as well as in an existential-kinetic sense of experiencing others as moving closer to oneself. By highlighting intersubjective mobility, the article contributes to widening the scope of an existential take on movement and stasis. It further revises popular and scholarly views on the role of families and migrants in shaping aspirations to emigrate.

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“My Visa Application Was Denied, I Decided to Go Anyway”

Interpreting, Experiencing, and Contesting Visa Policies and the (Im)mobility Regime in Algeria

Farida Souiah

This article explores the ways people targeted by restrictive migration and mobility policies in Algeria experience, interpret, and contest them. It focuses on the perspective of harragas, literally “those who burn” the borders. In the Maghrebi dialects, this is notably how people leaving without documentation are referred to. It reflects the fact that they do not respect the mandatory steps for legal departure. Also, they figuratively “burn” their papers to avoid deportation once in Europe. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork, this article outlines the complex and ambiguous attitudes toward the legal mobility regime of those it aims to exclude: compliance, deception, delegitimization, and defiance. It contributes to debates about human experiences of borders and inequality in mobility regimes. It helps deepen knowledge on why restrictive migration and mobility policies fail and are often counterproductive, encouraging the undocumented migration they were meant to deter.

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Refuge and History

A Critical Reading of a Polemic

Benjamin Thomas White

Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System. Alexander Betts and Paul Collier. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

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“Windrush Generation” and “Hostile Environment”

Symbols and Lived Experiences in Caribbean Migration to the UK

Huon Wardle and Laura Obermuller

The Windrush scandal belongs to a much longer arc of Caribbean-British transmigration, forced and free. The genesis of the scandal can be found in the post–World War II period, when Caribbean migration was at first strongly encouraged and then increasingly harshly constrained. This reflection traces the effects of these changes as they were experienced in the lives of individuals and families. In the Caribbean this recent scandal is understood as extending the longer history of colonial relations between Britain and the Caribbean and as a further reason to demand reparations for slavery. Experiences of the Windrush generation recall the limbo dance of the middle passage; the dancer moves under a bar that is gradually lowered until a mere slit remains.

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Sabina Barone, Veronika Bernard, Teresa S Büchsel, Leslie Fesenmyer, Bruce Whitehouse, Petra Molnar, Bonny Astor, and Olga R. Gulina

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Ivi Daskalaki and Nadina Leivaditi

ABSTRACT

The closure of borders along the “Balkan route” and the EU-Turkey agreement in 2016 resulted in the involuntary immobility of thousands of refugees in Greece. Since then, the large-scale emergency relief aid on the Greek shores has been replaced by the development of provisions for the gradual integration of refugees within wider European society. In such a context, education comes to the fore in the management of Europe’s so-called “refugee crisis.” This article explores refugee youths’ educational engagements in the framework of their “temporary” accommodation in a Transit Shelter for Unaccompanied (Male) Minors on the island of Lesvos. The article discusses how the youths themselves act upon educational arrangements made by their caretakers within a context of limited agency inscribed in a “code” of filoxenia (hospitality to foreigners). This code positions refugee youths both as temporary “guests” and simultaneously as “subjects” of discipline in the residency and in wider society.

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Every Campus A Refuge

A Small College’s Engagement with Refugee Resettlement

Diya Abdo and Krista Craven

ABSTRACT

Every Campus A Refuge is a novel initiative whereby college campuses provide housing and support to refugees navigating the resettlement process in the United States. This article details the founding and development of the Every Campus A Refuge initiative, particularly as it has been implemented at Guilford College, a small liberal arts college in North Carolina. It also details how Guilford College faculty and students are engaging in a multifaceted research study to document the resettlement experiences of refugee families who participate in Every Campus A Refuge and to determine the efficacy of the program in providing a “softer landing” for refugees. Overall, this article aims to provide a detailed account of Every Campus A Refuge so as to show how such a program may be implemented at other college campuses.

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Experiencing In-betweenness

Literary Spatialities

Tahmineh Hooshyar Emami

ABSTRACT

“Exploring in-betweenness” is the name of a collection of experiments that originate from my background in Architecture, overlapped with an interest in actual and perceived spaces of refuge. The result is a two-part experiment in which firstly, creative writing and literary analysis were used as vehicles to criticize and suggest alternative hierarchical arrangements of space, and secondly, the experiment which constitutes the topic of this article, where the actual and constructed dialogues between words and buildings are further explored. The author as both an insider and an observer aims to explore the relationship between space, lived experiences and sociological narratives. In “Literary Spatialities,” critical spatial writing is used to position the reader as the author through reflective passages and visual reconstructions to explore border encounters between refugee and host communities.