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Fashioning Masculinities through Migration

Narratives of Romanian Construction Workers in London

Alexandra Urdea

The vast majority of literature on migrant masculinities presents situations where migration challenges normative forms of manhood—“undoing gender.” Yet for the Romanians who come to London, migration has the opposite effect, as men are drawn into the wide and lucrative building industry. The article follows constructions of masculinity through an analysis of: (1) the working environment of Romanian men, generally characterized as ridden with risk; (2) the gender dynamics in the household; and (3) the temporariness of the men’s migration in London. The article demonstrates that, in this case, mobility does not entail a “gender compromise,” but a reinforcement of hypermasculine traits, necessary to succeed in an environment seen as highly competitive and risky.

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Financialization from the margins

Notes on the incorporation of Argentina's subproletariat into consumer credit (2009–2015)

Hadrien Saiag

This article investigates how the Argentine subproletariat perceives the recent consumer credit boom, based on several field visits carried out in one of Argentina’s industrial hubs between 2007 and 2016. It analyzes the credit boom in relation to the wider social transformations induced by the leftist Peronist governments during 2003–2015 (especially the incorporation of informal workers into the social protection system). It argues the rise of consumer credit is perceived by those who use it with ambivalence. While it has allowed the subproletariat to access a form of consumption that was previously restricted to upper classes, it also exposes this population to a new form of exploitation based on the discrepancy between the (monthly based) time of finance and the (erratic) time of work.

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The ‘Frame’ at Adab

American Archaeological Misbehaviour in Late Ottoman Iraq (1899–1905)

Jameel Haque

This article uses archival sources from the US State Department to examine conflicts that arose between American archaeologists and the Ottoman state during the years 1899 to 1905 in Ottoman Iraq (Mesopotamia). While contextualising many of the practices of Western archaeologists, this article examines two conflicts that emerged between the American digs at Niffur and Adab and the Ottoman Imperial Museum. The article both augments and disputes aspects of Craig Crossen’s article ‘The Sting at Adab’, published in the Spring 2013 issue of Anthropology of the Middle East. This article’s main contribution is to argue that conflicts that emerged surrounding antiquities demonstrate the growing strength/maturity of the Ottoman state apparatus and the implementation and continuation of nineteenth-century governmental reforms known as the Tanzimat.

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From "De Facto King" to Peasants' Communes

A Struggle for Representation in the Discourse of the Polish Great Emigration, 1832–1846/48

Piotr Kuligowski

This article presents a conceptual history of representation in the political debates of the Polish émigré community in the period 1832–1846/48. As I argue, while the concept was present in the output of all political environments of the Polish Great Emigration, there were more discrepancies than similarities about how to understand it. As a result of debates about what the Polish diaspora in exile actually was and who had the right to represent it, the concept became a part and parcel of political frays. In this way, the right to use it—and consequently to represent the whole Polish community and Polish nation as well—occupied a central place in the evolution of the concept of representation.

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From Ecuador to Elsewhere

The (Re)Configuration of a Transit Country

Soledad Álvarez Velasco

Unlike other transit countries, Ecuador’s position as a transit country has just begun to be publicly addressed, having been more of a strategic public secret than a topic of public interest. Based on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2015 and 2016, this article discusses the dynamics of the (re)configuration of Ecuador as a transit country used by both immigrants and Ecuadorean deportees mainly from the United States to reach other destinations. It argues that this process should be interpreted in light of a series of historical and political elements in tension. The article suggests that the subtle presence of the United States’ externalized border, together with national political inconsistencies, have a repressive as well as a productive effect, which has functioned to produce a systemic form of selective control of transit mobility.

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Getting by or getting ahead

State social spending and financialization in Peru

Susan Vincent

Peru’s economy is booming because of natural resource extraction, without providing formal employment. Instead, increased state revenues fund social spending. This case study shows how cash transfers are integrated into intergenerational reciprocities that are essential to social reproduction in ways that promote financialization: their inadequacy may necessitate loans which the regular disbursements can repay. Recipients hoping to get by tend to have few kin obligations and use state aid to sustain themselves, while those hoping to get ahead use them to leverage investment in productive enterprises for themselves or their families. For people from Allpachico, for whom male migrant work in the regional mining sector was the economic mainstay three decades ago, this constitutes a new relationship to the state, mining, and the economy.

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Recentering the South in Studies of Migration

Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh

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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Reconceptualizing Transit State in an Era of Outsourcing, Offshoring, and Obfuscation

Antje Missbach and Melissa Phillips

There has been growing pressure on states to “solve” the phenomenon of irregular migration. Destination countries have transferred this pressure onto transit countries, which are assumed to have the political will, ability, and means to stop irregular migration. This special section looks at the ways in which transit countries respond to challenges, pressures, and compromises in matters of irregular migration policies through a number of empirical case studies. Making transit countries the main focus, this special section aims to scrutinize domestic policy discourses in the transit countries, which are influenced by regional agreements and economic incentives from abroad but are also shaped by local interests and a wide range of actors. Of special interest is to understand whether the logics of destination countries that favor deterrence and exclusion have been adopted by politicians and the public discourse within transit countries.

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Engendering Plural Tales

Yousif M. Qasmiyeh

Since its inception in 2018, the aim of the “Creative Encounters” section of Migration and Society has been to off er alternative ways of engaging with “voice” or, more pertinently, as I have argued elsewhere, “to embroider the voice with its own needle” (Qasmiyeh 2019). This dialectic is proposed to problematize the notion of the voice as it is often perceived and mobilized: a medium offered to those in need of (their) voices rather than as a prior state of being that is initiated by and therefore intrinsically belongs to the individual herself. In this vein, “to embroider the voice with its own needle” is to see the voice within its owner, as a given and not to be given, through tracing the thread as it touches the needle eye to go through it and in so doing ushering in the embroidering that will come. Indeed, embroidering the voice is writing the intimate, the lived, and the leftovers in life into newer times as imagined by the writer herself; it is writing without a helping hand from anyone but rather through continuously returning to the embroidered (and what is being embroidered) and its tools, notwithstanding how incomplete and fragmentary they are.

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Theorizing the Spatiality of Protest

Dimitris Soudias and Tareq Sydiq

Since the 1990s, there has been a raft of case studies inquiring into the relation between space and protest in the field that has come to be known as social movement studies or social movement theory, whether it be resource in protesters’ tactical repertoires, a terrain that sets policing strategies, or an actant that influences movement-building. So why produce a special section on “the spatiality of protest” now? The first reason lies in what William Sewell observed almost 20 years ago, which is that “most studies bring in spatial considerations only episodically, when they seem important either for adequate description of contentious political events or for explaining why particular events occurred or unfolded as they did” (2001: 51). Despite efforts from within the field to push social movement studies further around the spatial turn (e.g., Martin and Miller 2003; Wilton and Cranford 2002), it appears as though little theoretical work about the spatiality of protest has been generated in the past 15 years.1 Within the field of social movement studies, the core concepts of opportunity structures, resources, and frames are far from “spatialized.” Curiously, the seemingly marginal theoretical interest in space is set against the fact that recent methodological and conceptual advances in social movement studies call for what is essentially a scalar analysis of protest (Nulman and Schlembach 2018).