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The temporality of illegality

Experiences of undocumented Latin American migrants in London

Ana Gutiérrez Garza

Through an ethnography of undocumented migrants from Latin America to London, I explore the temporality of illegality as a piecemeal process in which migrants find themselves embodying new ways of being in the world. I investigate the power of illegality beyond its legal connotations and through the analysis of the everyday experiences of migrants in London, I show how it affects the external structure of migrants’ worlds, as well as their subjectivities. I show how the illegal status is imagined, embodied, and sustained over an indefinite and uncertain length of time. Undocumented migrants in London are required to slowly adapt, to wait through anxious engagements with other people, and to deal with a legal system that controls their fractured presents and their uncertain futures.

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Cross-Border Networks

Labour Migration from Iran to the Arab Countries of the Persian Gulf

Shahnaz R. Nadjmabadi

This article examines migration between the Iranian coastal regions of the Persian Gulf and the nearby Arab countries. At the centre of the research are questions about cross-border relationships, the construction of transnational spaces in border migration and strategies for maintaining networks in both the home and host countries. The transnational space connecting the Iranian coastal region and the Arab countries resembles other cases of border migration. However, unlike previous studies on border migration, this analysis situates the development of transnational spaces of migrants' lives within the deep-rooted common and historical perspectives in the countries on both sides of the Persian Gulf.

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Classifying the “ideal migrant worker”

Mexican and Jamaican transnational farmworkers in Canada

Janet McLaughlin

This article analyzes the ideology and practice of multi-unit competition that pervades neoliberal subjectivities and produces the “ideal” flexible worker within contemporary global capitalism. It demonstrates how state and capitalist interests converge to influence the selection of the ideal transnational migrant worker, how prospective migrants adapt to these expectations, and the consequences of such enactments, particularly for migrants, but also for the societies in which they live and work. Multiple levels of actors—employers, state bureaucrats, and migrants themselves—collude in producing the flexible, subaltern citizen, which includes constructions and relations of class, race, gender, and nationality/citizenship. The case study focuses on Mexican and Jamaican participants in Canada's Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, a managed migration program that legally employs circular migrant farmworkers from Mexico and several English-speaking Caribbean countries in Canadian agriculture.

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Migrant Care Workers in Israel

Between Family, Market, and State

Hila Shamir

In the early 1990s, Israel opened its gates to migrant guest workers who were invited to work, on a temporary basis, in the agriculture, construction, and in-home care sectors. The in-home care sector developed quickly during those years due to the introduction of migrant workers coupled with the creation of a new welfare state benefit: a longterm care benefit that subsidized the employment of in-home care workers to assist dependent elderly and disabled Israelis. This article examines the legal and public policy ramifications of the transformation of Israeli families caused by the influx of migrant care workers into Israeli homes. Exploring the relationship between welfare, immigration, and employment laws, on the one hand, and marketized and non-marketized care relationships, on the other, it reveals the intimate links between public policy, 'private' families, and defamilialization processes.

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Nicola Bermingham

Philip McDermott (2012), Migrant Languages in the Public Space: A Case Study from Northern Ireland (Münster: LIT), 320 pp., Pb: €29.90, ISBN: 978-3643800992.

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Migrant Residents in Search of Residences

Locating Structural Violence at the Interstices of Bureaucracies

Megan Sheehan

Latin American migration to Chile has increased exponentially over the past 20 years. As migrants settle in Santiago, they face numerous articulations of bureaucracy—at entry, in visa processing, in labor regulations, and in housing law. This article charts a central paradox of migrant experiences with two discordant bureaucratic entities in Chile. Migrants are frequently able to acquire residency documents, yet they are often unable to enter into formal rental agreements or easily access adequate housing. Drawing on data collected during 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Santiago, Chile, I explore migrants’ lived experience of bureaucracy. As migrants navigate the processes involved in attaining visas and in securing housing, their experiences expose the interstices of bureaucracy, sites of disjuncture between contrasting bureaucratic entities and realms. These bureaucratic interstices are critical sites where structural violence is fostered, normalized, and made invisible.

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Introduction to the Issue

Encountering Hospitality and Hostility

Mette Louise Berg and Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh

This introductory article to the inaugural issue of Migration and Society reflects on the complex and often contradictory nature of migration encounters by focusing on diverse dynamics of hospitality and hostility towards migrants around the world and in different historical contexts. Discourses, practices, and policies of hospitality and hostility towards migrants and refugees raise urgent moral, ethical, political, and social questions. Hospitality and hostility are interlinked, yet seemingly contradictory concepts and processes, as also acknowledged by earlier writers, including Derrida, who coined the term hostipitality. Drawing on Fiddian-Qasmiyeh’s work and on feminist scholars of care, we argue for the need to trace alternative modes of thought and action that transcend and resist the fatalistic invocations of hostipitality. This requires an unpacking of the categories of host and guest, taking us from universalizing claims and the taxonomy of host-guest relations to the messiness of everyday life and its potential for care, generosity, and recognition in encounters.

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Crossing Boundaries, Exploring the Frontier

Recollections of an Intercultural Wanderer

Ullrich Kockel

Taking Park's postulate of a 'marginal man' as its starting point, this essay reviews some of the key ideas and approaches that have underpinned the development of the Anthropological Journal of European Cultures from its inception. It concentrates on a discussion of the concept of 'cultures' - liminal, hybrid or otherwise - in different contexts and from different perspectives - boundaries and frontiers, places and spaces, migrants and memory - before turning towards the question of what and where Europe is, and what anthropology might have to say on it, concluding with reflections on AJEC's past, present and future contribution. An appendix provides details of the first twenty-one volumes of the journal.

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Politicizing the Transnational

On Implications for Migrants, Refugees, and Scholarship

Riina Isotalo

This article discusses the politicization of the transnational paradigm in terms of development and security, refugee and migrant regimes, and transnational practices. The analysis makes two principal arguments. The first is that diasporas and mobility in general have been both securitized and developmentalized. These two processes are intertwined but also contradictory. While migration is seen as a development resource, 'uncontrolled' population flows—particularly of refugees—are looked upon as security threats by states and policy makers. This duo-faceted approach is at the root of the politicization of the transnational paradigm. The second argument of this text is that this politicization and the neo-liberal mega-trend are also entwined, despite the fact that the scholars who introduced transnationalism to migration research saw it as reflecting a process of globalization 'from below'.

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Rachel Rosen and Sarah Crafter

This article analyzes coverage of separated child migrants in three British tabloids between the introduction of the Dubs Amendment, which committed to relocating unaccompanied minors to the UK, and the demolition of the unofficial refugee camp in Calais. This camp has been a key symbol of Europe’s “migration crisis” and the subject of significant media attention in which unaccompanied children feature prominently. By considering the changes in tabloid coverage over this time period, this article highlights the increasing contestation of the authenticity of separated children as they began arriving in the UK under Dubs, concurrent with representations of “genuine” child migrants as innocent and vulnerable. We argue that attention to proximity can help account for changing discourses and that the media can simultaneously sustain contradictory views by preserving an essentialized view of “the child,” grounded in racialized, Eurocentric, and advanced capitalist norms. Together, these points raise questions about the political consequences of framing hospitality in the name of “the child.”