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En-Gendering Insecurities

The Case of the Migration Policy Regime in Thailand

Philippe Doneys

The paper examines the migration policy regime in Thailand using a human security lens. It suggests that insecurities experienced by migrants are partly caused or exacerbated by a migration policy regime, consisting of migration laws and regulations and non-migration related policies and programs, that pushes migrants into irregular forms of mobility and insecure employment options. These effects are worse for women migrants who have fewer resources to access legal channels while they are relegated to insecure employment in the reproductive or informal sectors. Using a gender and human security analysis, therefore, reveals how the migration policy regime, often informed by a restrictive national security approach, can clash with the human security needs of migrants by creating a large pool of unprotected irregular migrants with women occupying the most vulnerable forms of employment. In conclusion, it is suggested that this ‘en-gendering’ of human insecurities could be overcome if gender equality was designed into policies and guided their implementation.

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Pauline Gardiner Barber

This article addresses the politics of class, culture, and complicity associated with Philippine gendered-labor export. Several examples drawn from multisited ethnographic research explore two faces of class: migrant performances of subordination contrasted with militancy in the labor diaspora. With few exceptions, the literature on Philippine women in domestic service has emphasized disciplined subjectivities, the everyday dialectics of subordination. But class is also represented in these same relationships, understandings, and actions. Alternatively, the political expressions of Philippine overseas workers, and their supporters, is a feature of Philippine migration that is not often mentioned in writing concerned with migrant inequalities. This article proposes a reconciliation of these two faces of class expression by exploring how new media, primarily cell-phone technologies, enhance possibilities for organized and personal resistance by Filipino migrants, even as they facilitate migrant acquiescence, linked here to gendered subordination and class complicity, in the contentious reproduction of the migrant labor force.

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Introduction

Governing migration through paperwork

Lisa Marie Borrelli and Sophie Andreetta

In order to better understand migration governance and the concrete, daily practices of civil servants tasked to enforce state laws and policies, this special issue focuses on the core artefact of bureaucratic work: documents, in their diverse manifestations, including certificates, letters, reports, case files, decisions, internal guidelines and judgements. Based on ethnographic studies in various contexts, we show how civil servants produce statehood, restrict migrants’ movements, and engage with migrants’ strategies to make themselves legible. State actors simultaneously limit access to legal statutes and benefits, question their own practices, and use their discretion in order to help themselves as well as migrant individuals. We also highlight organisational and professional differences in the way civil servants deal with migrants, relate to the state and its policies and define their obligations towards both, migrants and the state. This special issue therefore contributes to the study of the state as documentary practice and highlights the role of paperwork as serious practice of migration control.

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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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Hilla Dayan, Anat Stern, Roman Vater, Yoav Peled, Neta Oren, Tally Kritzman-Amir, Oded Haklai, Dov Waxman, Raphael Cohen-Almagor, Alan Dowty, and Raffaella A. Del Sarto

Dignity: Migrant Lives at Israel's Margins (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), 344 pp. Hardback, $89.95. Since the 1990s, Israel has recruited migrant workers, inviting them to move temporarily to the country by offering them

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Reviews

Books

Tiziana Soverino, Evgenia Mesaritou, Thomas M. Wilson, Steve Byrne, Dino Vukušić, Fabiana Dimpflmeier, Eva-Maria Walther, and Eva Schwab

MigrantInnen in Deutschland [That Is So typically Persian! A Study of Diasporic Memory Cultures Exemplified by Second-Generation Iranian Migrants in Germany] (Münster: Waxman), 332 pp., €39.90, ISBN 9783830936732. Out of five million Iranians living abroad

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Strategies of Navigation

Migrants' Everyday Encounters with Italian Immigration Bureaucracy

Anna Tuckett

Successful encounters with bureaucratic systems require users to be familiar with 'insider' rules and behaviour. This article examines migrants' everyday efforts to become and stay 'legal' in Italy, and shows how they need to develop particular strategies in order to do so. While these strategies help migrants in the short term, I argue that ultimately they enable the Italian state to reconcile its conflicting interests and reproduce migrants' marginal and insecure status in Italian society. Examining everyday mundane interactions with the state and its bureaucracy reveals the various ways in which state practices produce insecurity.

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Interpretative Repertoire of Victimhood

Narrating Experiences of Discrimination and Ethnic Hatred among Polish Migrants in Belfast

Marta Kempny

Based on one year of ethnographic fieldwork, this article discusses the narratives of perceived discrimination and ethnic hatred of Polish migrants in Belfast. Using narrative theory, it examines the construction of identity of Poles as an unprivileged stratum of the Northern Irish society. Migrants' stories are followed by analysis of the contradictions and tensions between what they construct as their realities and 'objective truth'. Subsequently, the article accounts for these tensions by exploring the links between 'cultural repertoires' of Polish migrants and the ways in which their narratives are presented.

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"It's building up to something and it won't be nice when it erupts"

The making of Roma/Gypsy migrants in post-industrial Scotland

Jan Grill

Drawing on research among Slovak Roma labor migrants to the UK, this article examines differentiated modalities of belonging and a crystallization of the category of Roma/Gypsy in one neighborhood in a post-industrial Scottish city. This originally working-class, predominantly white area has been transformed, through several waves of migration, into a multicultural neighborhood. Established residents of the neighborhood express a sense of growing crisis and blame for local decline is frequently placed on migrants and, in particular, Gypsy migrants from Eastern Europe. The article focuses on the shifting forms of ethnocultural categorization that mark Roma difference in Glasgow.

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Jonathan Laurence

An immigration dilemma has confronted the Federal Republic of

Germany since the early 1970s. Postwar labor migrants from predominantly

Muslim countries in the Mediterranean basin were not

officially encouraged to settle long-term, yet many stayed once

immigration was halted in 1973. Though these migrants and their

children have enjoyed most social state benefits and the right to family

reunification, their political influence has remained limited for

the last quarter-century. Foreigners from non-EU countries may not

vote in Germany, migrants are underrepresented in political institutions,

and state recognition of Muslim religious and cultural diversity

has not been forthcoming. Since 1990, however, a much smaller but

significant number of Jewish migrants from eastern Europe and the

former Soviet Union have arrived in Germany. This population of

almost 150,000 has been welcomed at the intersection of reparations

policy and immigrant integration practice.