Th is contribution introduces the collection of texts in this special section of Migration and Society exploring contemporary patterns of im/mobility between Africa and Europe. It proposes an ontological-epistemological framework for investigating present-day movements via three core dimensions: (1) a focus on im/mobility explores the intertwinement of mobility and stasis in the context of biographical and migratory pathways and thus goes beyond a binary approach to migration; (2) an existential and dialogical-ethnographic approach zooms in on individual experiences of im/mobility and shows that the personal-experiential is not apolitical, but represents a realm of everyday struggles and quests for a good life; and (3) a genealogical-historical dimension explores present-day migratory quests through their embeddedness within legacies of (post)colonial power relations and interconnections and thus counteracts the hegemonic image of immigration from Africa as having no history and legitimacy.
Jelena Tošić and Annika Lems
of such tragedies on individuals, families, and communities. 3 Over the past decade, mobilities researchers have contributed to this scholarship by examining the (im)mobilities and migration patterns of those directly and indirectly affected by war
mobile world.” 15 As Awuh’s and Jedlowski’s case studies testify, movements of people, material goods, and ideas are always conditioned by geographic, cultural, and historical contexts. We need to go beyond generalization to understand im/mobility
Itinerant “Criminal Tribes” and Their Containment by the Salvation Army in Colonial South India
In retelling the history of “criminal tribe” settlements managed by the Salvation Army in Madras Presidency (colonial India) from 1911, I argue that neither the mobility–immobility relationship nor the compositional heterogeneity of (im)mobility practices can be adequately captured by relational dialecticism espoused by leading mobilities scholars. Rather than emerging as an opposition through dialectics, the relationship between (relative) mobility and containment may be characterized by overlapping hybridity and difference. This differential hybridity becomes apparent in two ways if mobility and containment are viewed as immanent gatherings of humans and nonhumans. First, the same entities may participate in gatherings of mobility and of containment, while producing different effects in each gathering. Here, nonhumans enter a gathering, and constitute (im)mobility practices, as actors that make history irreducibly differently from other actors that they may be entangled with. Second, modern technologies and amodern “institutions” may be indiscriminately drawn together in all gatherings.
Institutional Narratives and the Mobile in the Australian and New Zealand Colonial World, 1870s–1900s
This article examines the interpretive framework of “mobility” and how it might usefully be extended to the study of the Australasian colonial world of the nineteenth century, suggesting that social institutions reveal glimpses of (im)mobility. As the colonies became destinations for the many thousands of immigrants on the move, different forms of mobility were desired, including migration itself, or loathed, such as the itinerant lifestyles of vagrants. Specifically, the article examines mobility through brief accounts of the curtailed lives of the poor white immigrants of the period. The meanings of mobility were produced by immigrants' insanity, vagrancy, wandering, and their casual movement between, and reliance on, welfare and medical institutions. The regulation of these forms of mobility tells us more about the contemporary paradox of the co-constitution of mobility and stasis, as well as providing a more fluid understanding of mobility as a set of transfers between places and people.
Trapped Mobilities and Adventure in Morocco
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.
Airports seem to be an endless ground for conceiving past and present (aero)-mobilities. Understood not only as air mobilities but also as the dominant mobility of international travel, aeromobilities offer an encompassing understanding of airports as sites of meaningful (im)mobilities of people, objects, ideas, and ideologies. These sites touch on more power relationships, across far larger and thinner scales of time and space, than the ones usually considered in the study of transportation places. As the first review on airport historiography in this journal showed, scholars have socially, politically, and culturally investigated airports in manifold ways, turning them into key transdisciplinary objects for the development of mobilities studies. In recent years, studies on European airports have been numerous. Few of these have engaged in deep historical analysis, although temporalities play a key role in airports. As spaces they are constantly changing, with terminals themselves being significantly more mobile than planes in terms of design and architecture. The existing literature misses links between the past and present times of airports.
Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Mette Louise Berg
and (im)mobility around the world in different ways, including by facilitating, forcing, preventing, normalizing, criminalizing, and securitizing the movement of diverse people and objects. As academic, political, policy, and popular interest in
The Dialectics of Displacement and Emplacement
Henrik Vigh and Jesper Bjarnesen
defense is centered on such different modalities as moving across and digging in. However, behind the more obvious (im)mobilities of warfare lies a more subtle movement of people, connecting people and places socially and spatially. When seen from afar the
Understanding Mobilities in a Dangerous World
Gail Adams-Hutcheson, Holly Thorpe and Catharine Coleborne
voices rarely prioritized, and thus unique forms of agency and embodied knowledge are revealed. In an effort to move beyond “victim” narratives, Holly Thorpe, in “Youth and Alternative Sporting (Im) mobilities in Disrupted and Conflicted Spaces,” examines