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Forced Immobility

Undocumented Migrants, Boats, Brussels, and Islands

Godfrey Baldacchino

Over April and May 2020, some 425 undocumented male migrants, mainly of Sub-Saharan origin, making the perilous crossing by boat from Libya toward Europe across the central Mediterranean, were saved and taken aboard by Maltese search and rescue vessels. However, instead of being immediately ported and disembarked, they were transferred to four “pleasure boats” and left bobbing on the high seas, some for forty days, while the Maltese government sought out other European countries who might be willing to take in some of them. This article uses this episode to foreground the manner in which boats and ships are serving as floating islands, also in international waters, producing a modern form of forced immobility and arrest.

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Gatherings of Mobility and Immobility

Itinerant “Criminal Tribes” and Their Containment by the Salvation Army in Colonial South India

Saurabh Arora

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.

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The Mobile Itineraries of Knowledge-scapes

Mimi Sheller

This special section elucidates intersections between the historiography of mobilities and the interdisciplinary field of mobilities research. The articles highlight relationships between mobilities and stabilization, circulation and place-making, deterritorialization and reterritorialization. This response essay seeks to dispel three myths about mobility studies: (1) that it is purely about the contemporary world, rather than the historical dimensions of mobile processes; (2) that it focuses solely on material phenomenon of physical transport (i.e., of things and people) and ignores the movement of ideas, knowledge, and culture; and (3) that it is purely about “flows” and “circulation” and has little to teach us about friction, resistances, blockages, or uneven power relations. The most important intersections of the histories of mobilities and the field of mobility studies can be found in the ways in which each emphasizes power differentials, blockages, friction, and the relation between mobilities and immobilities.

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Raili Nugin

arbitrary. Doreen Massey has noted that space has often been depicted as “conquering time, it is being rather than becoming.” 21 Massey argues that in representation of space, temporal aspects tend to be removed as “spatial immobility quietens temporal

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Katherine Smith

are placed in sharp relief. This article explores these reconfigurations and the intimate experiences of existential immobility as a mother, a caregiver, and a future-maker for one's child. It addresses what is at stake when a future beyond welfare

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Holly Thorpe

consequences 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

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Jelena Tošić and Annika Lems

In this special section of Migration and Society we shed light on different patterns of im/mobility in, from, and between Europe and Africa. By focusing on migrants’ perspectives on their struggles to reach European shores and cross borders

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Peter Merriman

impelled by different actions and forces, while perceptions or effects of immobility and stasis (as well as movement) are clearly important for how we make sense of the world. Trepidation When I was invited to contribute to this tenth anniversary

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Kudzai Matereke

clearance of the cargo in the container. Like the container, which assumes an ambiguous position and new “metaphor of menace” upon its arrival in a Nigerian port, the global flows from Western cities can also turn mobilities into immobilities—a dimension

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Mobilizing a “Spiritual Geography”

The Art and Child Artists of the Carrolup Native School and Settlement, Western Australia

Ellen Percy Kraly and Ezzard Flowers

returned to Western Australia. The mobilities and immobilities of both the artists and artworks are keys to unlocking the legacy of Carrolup for present and future generations of Noongar people, as well as for the larger landscape of reconciliation in