NO GO WORLD: How Fear Is Redrawing Our Maps and Infecting Our Politics Ruben Andersson. 2019. Berkeley: University of California Press. 360 pages. ISBN: 9780520294608.
A beautifully written essay, No Go World: How Fear Is Redrawing Our Maps and Infecting Our Politics tells “the story of a political world gone wild” (257). It takes the reader at a blistering pace on a journey from the complex mapping process of dangers, risks, threats, and fears (real or imaged), to the resulting political, humanitarian, and military interventions that shape the world and transform people's lives, within and without the “danger zone.” It shows how the “economy of risk” and the “politics of fear,” and their mutual entanglement, often reinforce the allegedly dangerous phenomena they are supposed to result from, by dividing the world and labeling parts of it as danger zones—danger zones that people in “the rich Western world” seek to keep at a distance, hence know less and less, and fear more and more. This whole system can be considered a “self-reinforcing feedback loop” (188), for the heterogeneous benefits of various groups and actors, ranging from humanitarians to jihadists, journalists to smugglers, governments to armies, NGO members to UN agency staff.
In order to understand where this “loop” comes from, how it works, and how it is possible to get out of it, Ruben Andersson, an anthropologist, chose not to conduct classic multisited fieldwork (partly because his employing university would not let him go to the No Go World he talks about), but instead to mimic “the narrative power of our global mapping of danger, … to ward off threats by locating them, drawing them, and so enabling a certain hold on them” (19). From Bamako to the UN headquarters in New York via Lampedusa, he conducted interviews in many places, with military officers, aid workers, NGO volunteers, and adventurer journalists. He also uses a wide range of reports, children's fairy tales, and personal anecdotes to build a counternarrative to the mapping process of danger, to demonstrate the systemic production of fear, in various fields, locally and globally, and how they interact. For Andersson, “danger is not geographic but systemic, and it is fundamentally entangled with our fears” (6).
The first part of the book, “The Story of the Map,” shows in various contexts how danger is perceived, constructed, and mapped, often from afar, in order to divide and control. Andersson explains how the Sahara, and especially Mali, has been turned into a no-go zone since the 9/11 attacks. How the map of danger produces—and at the same time is the result of—the global war on terrorism. How, to avoid risk, everything is done to keep the “danger” far from the military (via remote intervention, using drones, etc.) or the actors of the “aid world” and “peaceland,” for who “remote programming—including ‘flash visits,’ teleconferencing, phone calls, and e-mails to local staff and partners—had become the norm” (37), instead of going to the field and talking to people. Too risky, not allowed. But this management of distances, this “global distancing” (6), says Andersson, tends to create more danger, not less. But not for the same people. Andersson presents, for instance, the case of the AMISOM, the African Union “peace operation” in Somalia, as exemplary in this regard. “Financed and supported by Western powers and the United Nations” (99), the African forces of AMISOM are used “to man the front lines” (103). The book quotes “peacekeeping chief”: “Only Uganda in AMISOM has lost more than 3,000 men in Somalia. I don't see the UN [having] the stomach to lose 3,000 men in a peacekeeping operation” (107). Andersson implies that wealthy countries pay in money, and poor countries pay in blood. Surely, more could be said about this.
The second part of the book, “Contagion,” brings us toward the southern borders of the EU and US and delves into the ways border management draws on a logic of infection. Take, for instance, the revealing rhetoric of a former US general, who, having accepted a position at Yale University, wrote with a colleague health scientist that “the opportunism of Ebola and ISIS in many ways mirrors that of the opportunistic infections that prey upon people with AIDS, exploiting their long-weakened systems” (195). In one way, “contagion must threaten the Homeland” in order to legitimize the “need of virtually endless investments” (171) in border management. Meanwhile, on the other side of the border, in the “no-go zones,” other actors do their business too. For some, constituting themselves as threat, through the use of internationally projected labels, might be their best hope to benefit, ever so slightly, from this new resource, fear.
No Go World explores times and spaces of our “dangerized world” (252), reveals “resonances between the danger zones of today and those of the colonial era” (239), and demonstrates that “the more efforts the powerful put into walling off the dangers, the nearer those dangers seem to draw” (241). As Andersson puts bluntly: “The danger zone is not out there: it is already with us” (248). This is why his book helps to name and better understand the daily experiences of people within and without the No Go World. If one would sometimes have wished for some more in-depth description, more proximity with the people and places mentioned throughout the book, the project here is rather to “experiment with the narrative form” (258) in order to draw another kind of picture, another map. Ruben Andersson is convinced that academics should not simply roll their eyes at how “intellectual entrepreneurs capture public and political attention while our own Great Reports go by unnoticed,” but should “learn from them to tell [their] own stories, however rough around the edges they may be.(260) ”
This is what he has done with No Go World, convincingly.
IRD—University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
THE ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF SOUTH-SOUTH RELATIONS Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, and Patricia Daley, eds. 2019. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. 448 pages. ISBN: 9781315624495.
This timely handbook comprises an impressive array of chapters, demonstrating the depth and breadth of South-South relations and thereby filling a disconcerting hole in current debates. By assembling 30 chapters, editors Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Patricia Daley aim to situate, conceptualize, and pluralize “the South”/Souths and its relations within a global context (Introduction, p. 4). Utilizing decolonial, postcolonial, anticolonial, indigenous, or Southern theories, while also pointing to their respective contradictory and complex inner workings, they assert that a “commitment to challenging and resisting all forms of oppression and domination, of all peoples, is at the core of our collective endeavours” (5). This filters through the handbook's five parts, covering multiple disciplines and fields from many different angles and perspectives, using various lenses to illuminate past, present, and future accomplishments and challenges of South-South cooperation (SSC).
Part I situates different competing and complementing debates and perspectives on “the South” and South-South relations. It contextualizes and summarizes postcolonial, decolonial, and Southern theory along with indigenous discourse and places many of these within their problematic relationship with the academy and academia. Concerning this, many chapters are in direct confrontation and dialogue with one another, ranging from postcolonialism's unique ability to incorporate South-South relations within the Northern academy (Davies and Boehmer, chap. 3), to outlining postcolonialism's limitations with a more decolonial (e.g., Patel, chap. 2; Murrey, chap. 4) or postauthoritarian lens (Hanafi, chap. 5), to an outright suspicion of these debates, arguing that “in reality, decolonising methodology creates an imaginary supremacy of an alternative research methodology” (Habashi, chap. 8, p. 112).
Part II serves as an anchor to this collection. Its chapters are well sequenced and historicize principles and practices of SSC. It opens with the invention of “the South” (Ndlovu-Gatsheni and Tafira, chap. 9), and then moves to reconstruct the historical context of South-South relations and its principles, with distinct views and weights given to different events and ideas, such as the Haitian Revolution (Ndlovu-Gatsheni and Tafira, chap. 9), tricontinentalism (Saney, chap. 11), pan-Arabism (Mohamedou, chap. 12), and pan-Africanism (Biney, chap. 13). Despite having different conceptualizations of SSC's respective “successes” and “failures,” underlying most is the importance of the Bandung Conference (1955) and its resulting “spirit” in catalyzing SSC. Complementing the historic roots, these chapters also provide us with a reflection on current situations, with some somber outlooks and a pervasive apprehension of the changing power structures within the South, such as the rise of the BRICS and their potential of mimicking age-old power structures of “North-South” relations.
Part III very much focuses on these current issues within SSC by looking at the changing nature of development. It commences with a chapter critically assessing how “the North,” moving away from supposed altruistic gift giving, has started hijacking aspects of SSC's principles of development rooted in solidarity and opportunity (Mawdsley, chap. 14). The next three chapters address the very timely issues of climate catastrophe and agriculture. Weber and Kopf contextualize “the South's” reluctance to address climate catastrophe as it hinders their right to development (chap. 15), while Rhiney outlines the Caribbean's increasing force in addressing these issues as they are disproportionately affected, with their livelihoods and (agricultural) subsistence on the line (chap. 16). Here it would have been beneficial to add a more grassroots perspective on climate activism to counter the state-focused narrative.
Part IV covers SSC in displacement, security, and peace. With around 84–86 percent of refugees worldwide living in “developing countries,” it is alarming that Southern-led responses to displacement have been instrumentalized yet widely left unacknowledged (Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, chap. 18, p. 239). Following this, Omata (chap. 20), albeit somewhat lacking in criticality, outlines attempts by the UNDP and UNHCR to adopt SSC principles. This is nicely complemented by Cantor (chap. 21), who provides an example of the historical context and realities of SSC in response to refugee crises—the Cartagena process. The last two chapters directly cover aspects of security and peace. Chapter 23 (Campbell) outlines security cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean and continuing national and international challenges. Conversely, Daley (chap. 24) critiques the imposing (neo)liberal peace discourse and its failures and focuses on examples of peacebuilding and peacemaking on the African continent.
The last part sheds light on a myriad of South-South connections. Following SSC in feminist organizing (Nazneen, chap. 25), among the youth (Mwaura, chap. 26), within education (Muhr and de Azevedo, chap. 27; Waters and Leung, chap. 28), migration (Crush and Chikanda, chap. 29), medical tourism (Ormond and Kaspar, chap. 30), and art flows (Rojas-Sotelo, chap. 31), an acknowledgment of its significance along with an apprehension of the effects of neoliberalization threads through most of this part. Its concluding role contributes to rendering SSC more visible and concrete in current debates.
Despite being unable to cover all contributions here, the handbook has undoubtedly fulfilled its purpose and has set out future research agendas. It is far-reaching and will be useful to policy makers and students of anthropology, development, economics, geography, history, migration studies, international relations, and sociology, as well as anyone interested in the histories, realities, and futures of SSC.
Victoria L. Klinkert
SOAS, University of London
LITTLE MOGADISHU: Eastleigh, Nairobi's Global Somali Hub Neil Carrier. 2016. London: Hurst and Company. 313 pages. ISBN: 9781849044752.
Eastleigh is renowned as Kenya's bustling Somali business district and the preferred place of residence for Nairobi's urban refugees. In light of Kenya's military entanglement with Somalia, Eastleigh has also gained a more notorious—albeit largely unwarranted—reputation associated with piracy and terrorism. In Little Mogadishu, Neil Carrier draws on fieldwork and archival research to provide an ethnographic tour of Eastleigh, confronting popular misconceptions while following a range of characters who are tapping into the estate's economic opportunities.
In a phenomenon that Carrier calls “displaced development,” Eastleigh's impressive commercial growth has been catalyzed by the collapse of the state in Somalia and the subsequent need for a more stable place in which Somalis could live and invest. The networks of the global Somali diaspora have therefore coalesced on the Eastleigh estate in Nairobi, making it a busy nexus for transnational flows of people, capital, and goods.
However, the displacement that explains Eastleigh's recent economic transformation does not account for its earlier emergence as a Somali hub. In this regard—and despite the title's focus on the global character of Eastleigh—Carrier emphasizes that an understanding of transnational places must also attend to their long-standing histories and national contexts. Chapter 1 documents the presence of Isaaq Somalis in colonial-era Eastleigh as well as the arrival of other Kenyan Somalis after independence, long before the influx of refugees from Somalia in the early 1990s. This resonates with Keren Weitzberg's warning in her recent monograph We Do Not Have Borders (2017) against excluding Somalis from national history by treating their presence in Kenya as merely a refugee issue.
Chapter 2 discusses the creative arrangements of space and capital that were required to remake Eastleigh into the economic hub that it is today. This chapter also reviews the evidence against the widespread perception that the estate's growth was funded by piracy in Somalia, instead describing the coming together of Kenyan market demand, the Somali diaspora, and global trends in the trade of low-end goods.
The third chapter explores Eastleigh's ethnoscape, including its diverse Somali population as well as other Kenyan and international demographics represented. The popular image of Eastleigh as a monoethnic Somali enclave is confronted through a descriptive survey of the estate's “super-diversity,” which encompasses Kikuyu laborers and landlords, Oromo exiles from Ethiopia, and a subnational diaspora of Meru khat traders. This chapter includes nuanced descriptions of the relations among these various communities, attending to the tensions sustained by racism and xenophobia as well as the cosmopolitan communitas that has emerged across perceived divisions.
The next four ethnographic chapters describe specific issues facing entrepreneurs in Eastleigh: the establishment of businesses and accumulation of capital; the negotiation of trust and risk; the movement of goods; and relations with the state. The chapter on trust is a real treat for anthropologists interested in moral economies and alliance building; individual stories of solidarity and betrayal are woven into a discussion of the existing academic literature, including debates about whether trust is a determinant of economic cooperation or an outcome of uncertainty and precarity. The author avoids the pitfalls of both culturalism and instrumentalism by writing about trust as a normative discourse that, while idealized, provides a lubricant for business relations in Eastleigh.
As a discussion of the place of Somali people in the broader Kenyan milieu, the book provides a usefully nuanced approach to a topic that is often treated as fundamentally ethnic, instead grappling with the complex intersectionality of religion, nationality, class, kinship, and gender. There is ample attention to women's role in the transformation of the estate, as exemplified by pioneers like Yasmin, who converted budget accommodation into efficient spaces of retail in the early years of the “malling” of Eastleigh. There is also recognition of the increased restrictions experienced by women—especially diaspora visitors accustomed to secular global North contexts—amid the rise of more conservative religious practices in Eastleigh.
Those less acquainted with the fraught politics of belonging in Kenya may not fully appreciate the baggage that accompanies research in Eastleigh. The othering of Somali people—including those with Kenyan citizenship—was at a peak during the book's publication, which followed the 2015 al-Shabaab attacks on Garissa University and corresponded with the government's call for the closure of the Dadaab refugee camps. The security discourse has not softened in the intervening years, having been reinforced by an attack on the DusitD2 hotel in Nairobi in early 2019, which resulted in over 20 deaths. And despite a 2017 ruling by the Kenyan High Court that refugees in Dadaab cannot be forced to repatriate, the government in 2019 reiterated its intention to close the camps and move its Somali residents to Somalia.
The book therefore remains an important intervention against exclusionist discourses on Kenyan nationalism. Academically it is an important contribution to the scholarship on diasporas, exemplifying how an ethnography of global networks and flows can remain grounded in local context. It should be required reading for students of transnationalism in migration and refugee studies, and it is also a valuable contribution to urban anthropology in eastern Africa.
Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford
Call and Response Conversations on Race, Racism, and White Supremacy
WHY I'M NO LONGER TALKING TO WHITE PEOPLE ABOUT RACE Reni Eddo-Lodge. 2017. London: Bloomsbury. 288 pages. ISBN: 9781408870587.
WHITE FRAGILITY: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism Robin DiAngelo. 2018. Boston: Beacon Press Books. 168 pages. ISBN: 9780807047415.
In their respective books Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race and White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism, Reni Eddo-Lodge and Robin DiAngelo deliver a call-and-response, cross-continental dialogue on race and racism without directly conversing. While Eddo-Lodge, a black British journalist and antiracist activist, remains fixated on how slavery and colonial conquest underpin contemporary racism in the United Kingdom (UK), DiAngelo, a white American academic and social justice consultant, sets her sights on how the original sin of slavery in the United States unleashed pathological racial hierarchies.
They both employ discourse analysis and autobiography to interrogate how global white supremacy—what Jamaican philosopher Charles W. Mills (1997) refers to as the “racial contract”—manifests in their specific geographic contexts. In so doing, Eddo-Lodge and DiAngelo observe with precision the difficulties of speaking to whites about race and the implications of this for achieving racial justice. Although both books are very insular, with few references to processes of racialization outside the UK and US, the authors overcome this blind spot by using their insider access and expertise to expose Britain and America as two nations still struggling to come to terms with their racist past and present.
Eddo-Lodge's definitive-declaration-turned-monograph-title started out as a “break-up letter to whiteness” that went viral as a blog post in 2014 (2018: xiv). In it, she laments the emotional toll conversations about race have on people of color who must shield themselves from whites who remain clueless about their investment in racism (ibid.: x, xiii): “The journey toward understanding structural racism still requires people of color to prioritize white feelings. It's like something happens to the words as they leave our mouths and reach their ears. The words hit a barrier of denial and they don't get any further … It's truly a life-time of censorship that people of color have to live. The options are: speak your truth and face the reprisal, or bite your tongue and get ahead in life.”
She expertly describes as a silencing technique the heckling, eye-glazing, mouth-twitching, throat-opening physical indicators of white people shutting down when there is any mention of race (2018: x), since England prides itself on being postracially class conscious. With wry wit, Eddo-Lodge explains how confounded she remains by the “awkward cartwheels and mental acrobatics” of “white denial,” essentially the “bewilderment” and “defensiveness” that white Brits exhibit when confronted with the fact that their experiences are neither universal nor exemplary of the human condition (ibid.: ix, x, xi). She admits that her declaration of disengagement has ironically catapulted her into ongoing conversations with white people about the unearned privileges and powers that derive from whiteness, in the UK and further afield (ibid.: xv).
Eddo-Lodge's ability to link the racism embedded in Britain's slave trading, colonial exploitation, structural violence against people of color (i.e., housing and employment discrimination), and police brutality targeting blacks proves that she is not only the ideological heir apparent to Paul Gilroy and Stuart Hall, but also fully equipped to tackle the contemporary politics of race and structural racism head-on. Her book is an important excavation of black British histories, packed with punchy quotes that get at the heart of England's often unacknowledged race problem. According to Eddo-Lodge, racism is fundamentally a white affliction that requires deep internal work: “It reveals the anxieties, hypocrisies and double standards of whiteness. It is a problem in the psyche of whiteness that white people must take responsibility to solve” (2018: 219).
Given how seldom we [white people, generally] experience racial discomfort in a society we dominate, we haven't had to build our racial stamina. Socialized into a deeply internalized sense of superiority that we either are unaware of or can never admit to ourselves, we become highly fragile in conversations about race … The smallest amount of racial stress is intolerable—the mere suggestion that being white has meaning often triggers a range of defensive responses. These include emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and withdrawal from the stress-inducing situation. These responses work to reinstate white equilibrium as they repel the challenge, return our racial comfort, and maintain our dominance within the racial hierarchy … Though white fragility is triggered by discomfort and anxiety, it is born of superiority and entitlement. White fragility is not weakness per se. In fact, it is a powerful means of white racial control and the protection of white advantage.
Whereas Eddo-Lodge's book is more long-form popular commentary than scholarly treatise, DiAngelo demonstrates a deeper appreciation of the academic literature on race and racism. As I have argued elsewhere (Pailey 2019), her book is neither revolutionary nor unprecedented, since African American intellectuals and literary icons such as W. E. B. DuBois, James Baldwin, and Richard Wright demanded in the 1800s and 1900s that white people in the US learn how to be more self-reflexive about their racist tendencies. Furthermore, Martinican psychiatrist and anticolonial activist Frantz Fanon (1952) already expertly cataloged the psychopathology of colonialism on black and white people. Yet, DiAngelo's positioning as a white woman confronting white Americans about their complicity in sustaining contemporary racial hierarchies is what makes her intervention so vital.
To be less white is to be less racially oppressive. This requires one to be more racially aware, to be better educated about racism, and to continually challenge racial certitude and arrogance. To be less white is to be open to, interested in, and compassionate toward the racial realities of people of color … To be less white is to break with white silence and white solidarity, to stop privileging the comfort of white people over the pain of racism of people of color, to move past guilt and into action.
She further argues that the onus is on whites to rid the world of racism because they have the structural power to do so. However, there is an inadvertent tendency here to center whiteness, a tendency that Eddo-Lodge would eschew because she believes “people at the sharp end of injustice [i.e., people of colour]” must be at the forefront of antiracism advocacy (2018: 215).
Though both Eddo-Lodge and DiAngelo agree that white people must advocate for antiracist causes in spaces predominantly occupied by other whites, they disagree on who should lead movements for racial justice. DiAngelo is correct in her edict that it is not the responsibility of people of color to cure whites of racism; however, I remain unconvinced that white people have the genuine incentives or in-built capacities to achieve racial justice on their own. As African American abolitionist Frederick Douglass (1855) once proclaimed, power concedes nothing without a struggle. Accordingly, whites do not have a monopoly on agency or accountability when it comes to tackling issues of race and racism. Furthermore, the battle for racial equality can only be won if people like DiAngelo and Eddo-Lodge converse intersectionally across disciplines and social qualifiers of race, nationality, age, gender, sexuality, and ability. Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race and White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism provide a fitting meeting point for this dialogue.
Robtel Neajai Pailey
Department of International Development, University of Oxford
Pailey, Robtel Neajai. 2019. “De-centring the ‘White Gaze’ of Development.” Development and Change. Published ahead of print, 1 October. https://doi.org/10.1111/dech.12550.
AMOURS PRAGMATIQUES: Familles, migrations et sexualité au Cap-Vert aujourd'hui. Pierre-Joseph Laurent. 2018. Paris: Karthala. 456 pages. ISBN: 9782811119379 (hardback).
The literature on migration is abundant, although few studies focus on the long-term influences it has on the family, a fundamental unit of the social sphere, whether in Africa or elsewhere.
Pierre-Joseph Laurent offers a book that is unlike any of the conventional analyses of migration (e.g., on remittances, diaspora, trans-nationalism, border control, etc.). His account, it must be said from the outset, will find its place at the heart of studies on migration.
Amours pragmatiques: Familles, migrations et sexualité au Cap-Vert aujourd'hui is organized into nine chapters. The book is based on 13 years of fieldwork in the United States, Italy, and Cape Verde, which he went to on twenty-seven separate trips—it is methodologically important to highlight this. It aims to sketch an anthropology of kinship through the both evanescent and strongly present prism of migration in Cape Verde—an island territory and thus, seemingly closed.
The analysis offered by Pierre-Joseph Laurent in this book is a rigorous investigation, driven by a quest for field anthropology, as in the “good old days” of the discipline. It is a fine ethnography, based on minute observation and long-term immersion; a multisited survey of the Cape Verdian islands remains in dialogue with first-rate theory. His method was constantly updated over time and based on observations but also personal experiences.
The study is meticulous and well-argued, with a sensitive and profound narrative, whereby the author makes us discover the life of protagonists and exceptional family dynamics despite the apparent dullness of their daily life. The book enlightens why and how such a fluctuating and evanescent family model as the Cape Verdean one could be considered particularly well adapted to the conditions of the beginning of the twenty-first century.
The author shows how the Cape Verdean family, both in an abstract and concrete sense, is formed at a distance and is articulated in time as in space. The timelessness of this type of kinship is rooted on three historical dimensions: past, present, and future. The author uses kinship as a gateway to bring to light a strong concept, “the migratory capital,” a kind of potential to migrate, intimately rooted in the family. Migratory capital is built here around the mother-child relationship rather than matrimonial alliances or economic resources, and true connectivities across three continents over a relatively long time.
Most valuable in Cape Verde, this migratory capital mobilizes various components that can be decrypted only in the long term. Laurent coins the term “machismo-matrifocal system” (système machicentré) to describe the idiosyncratic combination of a “matrifocal family” (famille matrifocale) inherited from three things. First, the slave era. Second, the distance created between family members by the multiple and historical forms of migration. Third, the instrumentalization of sex relations in a “differential society” (société à différentiel). In this system, women embody the stable core of the family and the origin of intergenerational debt that their sons do not forget to repay by trying to ensure the social security of their mother.
The “matrifocal family” is based on childhood, through pregnancy and the education of children, rather than on the wedding. The potential of seduction, beauty, youth, sex, pregnancy, and children serves as essential resources for women to access the migratory income. This is the only way to ensure the safety of the family. Such income includes remittances received from emigrant men who have left behind them the children born of the loves of a night or several days or years.
Laurent succeeds in considering migration as a normal and complex phenomenon by conceiving of it in terms of human mobility and family transformations. He achieves that by renewing the way to study this subject. This intellectual decolonization work shows the family's centrality in migration. There are no migrants as objects or subjects, but human beings caught in social relations, moving at the heart of multiple issues and constantly reinventing themselves to face the contingencies (legal, institutional, personal, etc.) of the worlds they are crossing.
The modality of making distant family that emerges illuminates the plasticity of kinship as an institution conceived and adapted to withstand the constraints of various natures (institutional, legal, temporal, etc.) of various worlds (occasionally Western) that it crosses and with which it interacts to constitute itself and to (re-)produce itself. Far from a mere focus on migration, this socioanthropological sketch of Cape Verdean society through the institution of the matrifocal family and the management of sexuality in the multispatial context opens the way for a refoundation of the analytical perspectives on (African) migration. There is no doubt that Amours pragmatiques will redraw the future of research on migration in Africa by participating in the need to decolonize the category “migration” and the methodological approaches and ways of producing a discourse on African migrations.
LASDEL and Deutsches Historisches Institute Paris
HOME-LAND: Romanian Roma, Domestic Spaces and the State Rachel Humphris. 2019. Bristol: Bristol University Press. 256 pages. ISBN: 9781529201925 (hardback).
“How does our everyday mundane domestic life affect our relation to the national home-land?” (1) Drawing on the 14 months she spent living with three Romanian Roma families in Luton for her doctoral fieldwork in 2013–2014—which coincided with the imposition and subsequent lifting of UK transitional controls for A2 nationals—Rachel Humphris seeks to answer this question. Home-Land explores how migrant families’ life chances are shaped by frontline workers’ values and judgments during home visits, rendering the home a site for negotiating legal statuses and governing marginality within the context of the government's “hostile environment” policy.
Humphris contends that families identified as Romanian Roma are more likely than other groups to be subject to home visits by state workers: while this could mean welcome support with navigating the bureaucratic system to gain secure immigration status, it could equally lead to “hypersurveillance” of parenting or, alternatively, a decision not to provide support. Hospitality and hostility are thus “always in tension and negotiation”: the home becomes a space of contestations, ambiguities, and misunderstandings.
The book opens with a “Who's Who” section, providing brief details of the frontline workers and the Romanian Roma families who appear frequently in the book—interestingly, we are not told whether these are pseudonyms. The introductory section provides context: the government's “hostile environment” policy; the racialization and labeling of “Romanian Roma” in the UK; the concept of “home”; and the politics of care and belonging. The six chapters that follow are interspersed with “interludes,” short standalone observations drawn from Humphris's fieldwork diaries, which complement the observations, reflections, and theoretical arguments in the chapters.
In the first chapter, Humphris reflects on how the notion of “encounter” enables understandings of her positionality and participation as ethnographer, as well as ways of understanding interactions between migrant mothers and frontline workers within mothers’ homes. Humphris argues convincingly that the encounter as a methodology promotes analysis from the starting point of migrant mothers’ interactions with others as a relational process.
Engaging deeply with theories relating to the anthropology of the state, chapter 2 explores how frontline workers enact government policies through their everyday decisions and actions, drawing on socially constructed categories and labels. Building on Michael Lipsky's ( 2010) concept of “street-level bureaucrats,” Humphris demonstrates the significance of frontline workers’ use of “personal moral judgements” in relational encounters to make situated decisions in response to ethical dilemmas—what the author terms “everyday discretion.” Two policy factors are shown to make this process particularly salient here. First, the government's “hostile environment” policy has led to rapidly changing immigration regulations and consequent confusion around rights and entitlements. Second, legislation for safeguarding children has placed responsibilities on practitioners to identify and gather information on children and families who may be “vulnerable,” creating “the drive and the licence to enter homes.” In addition, the post–welfare state has shifted government policy from addressing structural inequalities to focusing on individual behaviors. Humphris argues that these policy drivers have led to “notions of deservingness” and moral categories imbuing frontline workers’ discretionary decision making: while their discrete decisions may seem small, these intimate state encounters can have major consequences for families’ life chances.
Chapter 3 examines the labeling—by various social actors—of families as “Romanian Roma,” a category that, Humphris points out, does not exist in Romania. The author shares revealing examples of the everyday experiences of racism that the Romanian Roma women taking part in her research are subjected to. Yet there is inevitably a conundrum in that Humphris—as she recognizes—is to a degree complicit in this problematic process of categorization in her role as researcher.
Chapters 4 to 6 explore the ways in which frontline workers and families negotiate unequal power relations through home encounters, navigating “forms of regulation and forms of resistance.” Attention is paid to the gendered nature of these encounters, demonstrating how frontline workers’ values and expectations of the roles of mothers and fathers within the domestic space shape the encounters on all sides, and influence the forms of support provided. Chapter 6 examines “rebordering” in the home space by both workers and volunteers as “faces of the state” in their mediation of access to resources, drawing on personal values and experiences.
Humphris makes a significant contribution to theories of the state and the politics of care and belonging, drawing on her deeply insightful fieldwork, which has given her a unique perspective on home encounters through the eyes of Romanian Roma family members and frontline workers and volunteers. Home-Land makes valuable reading for academics interested in experiences of migration, mobilities, and settling as well as the anthropology of policy. It would also be of benefit to those reading through a political and/or policy lens. The challenge will be how to engage with and take forward the key learning in relation to practices on the front line and the impact on marginalized families.
UCL, Institute of Education
HANDBOOK ON THE GEOGRAPHIES OF GLOBALIZATION Robert C. Kloosterman, Virginie Mamadouh, and Pieter Terhorst, eds. 2018. Amsterdam: Edward Elgar Publishing. 480 pages. ISBN: 9781785363832 (hardback).
The nature of modern societies and economies is becoming increasingly interconnected. Flows of goods, money, and people that occur on various spatial scales among different places on the globe are shaped by miscellaneous, continually changing geographic layouts. On the other hand, growing technological and social complexity in the world impacts the multifaceted processes of globalization.
The reviewed book, containing 31 chapters, does not present an overly optimistic and hyperglobalistic outlook on the effects of globalization. The TINA (“there is no alternative”) approach is not dominant in it, and chapter 31 is filled with a description of alterglobalistic movements. All chapters are characterized by well-balanced academic discourse, supported by numerous references. Kloosterman and colleagues comprehensively expound to the reader how human geographers analyze the global problems. The handbook presents the complexity of causes, mechanisms, and effects of global processes.
The content of the book raises no doubts and brilliantly reflects a very broad realm of interests within modern human geography. Hence, much more space was devoted to the geography of cross-border flows (e.g., migration, human and capital mobility, global production networks [GPNs]) than to the geography of places. The editors emphasize in chapter 1 that their goal was to answer the question of how global processes were expressed in space and, on the other hand, how spaces shaped such processes. The attempt at answering the first part of the question above was a great success. However, evaluation of analysis of the degree and scope of impacts of various spaces on the global processes leaves one with a certain feeling of want.
Without doubt, it is worth reading two inspiring chapters: “Do You Speak Globish?” (chapter 15), about the globalization and spatialization of English, and “Teaching Globalisations” (chapter 33), which emphasizes the plurality of the globalization phenomenon. Chapter 24, which sketches the issues of global security and describes the global production of arms, is also excellent.
In spite of a legible illustration of the complexity of global processes, the book lacks a description of several significant ones. Very little attention was devoted to human smuggling and drug trafficking. Neither was it said how “big data” has made the relations in the modern world more complex and global.
My evaluation of Handbook on the Geographies of Globalization relies on the answer to four questions concerning:
- overall academic quality of the presented discussion on globalization;
- scope of references to studies on globalization processes performed in noncore economies;
- differences between the reviewed book and competitive titles; and
- possibility of using the handbook for educational purposes.
First, big and emerging names in the field of human geography from Europe, North America, and Asia are a guarantee of quality. The book also tackles a definite majority of the so-called hot topics brought up recently in human geography, including megaevents, cultural industries, and global migration flows. The argument in the book is supported by several case studies (e.g., 2014 FIFA World Cup, 2016 Summer Olympics, Indian pharmaceutical firms in GPNs, global services production in the Philippines, US domination of the global film market). The majority of examples are presented briefly, yet they are always accompanied by a plethora of references relating to case studies.
Second, when I started to review the book, my attention was drawn to a grave disproportion in the origin of contributors. The majority come from advanced economies. Nevertheless, after reading the book it becomes clear that a number of examples describe global processes in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The book excellently shows how various countries in the so-called ‘Global South’ are included in globalization.
Third, in comparison to competitive titles, in particular Global Shift by Peter Dicken, Handbook on the Geographies of Globalization is clearly distinguished by a broad purview of the described dimensions of globalization. The authors tackle new subjects, for example, geographies of citizenship or health. As compared to other books devoted to globalization, Handbook on the Geographies of Globalization includes a very limited number of illustrations and tables (a mere 16 in total), which would have been a great tool for showing the described trends and processes. In my opinion, they are indispensable in such chapters as “Discussing Geographies of Mobility and Migration,” “Labour Geographies,” and “Food and Globalisation.” This is definitely the greatest drawback of the reviewed book. This weakness is equalized by very carefully conducted logical argumentation, into which numerical data are skillfully incorporated. This manner of presenting the subject matter is definitely more difficult in reception, especially in the era of a global reader who lives in an image-based society.
Fourth, on the back cover, the publisher and the editors assert that on account of several case studies, the book constitutes excellent material for advanced students. Indeed, the variety of examples and the synthetic nature of texts in the chapters make the book a good starting point, even for BA students. It may provide certain initial information (and even commentary); nevertheless, a thorough investigation of every subject definitely requires further reading. The editors claim that each chapter is to be treated as stand-alone and it is definitely better to study them separately. On the other hand, the entire book is an excellent material on the basis of which a course on the geographies of globalization may be successfully built.
Using various research perspectives and describing diverse and complex dimensions of globalization, Handbook on the Geographies of Globalization is an important synthesis of geographical studies on the global economy and society and offers insight into a rich panorama of geographies of globalization. It does not show a simplified image of the layout of social and economic forces, but rather sketches the actual complexity of the global mechanisms impacting various areas.
Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
FROM HERE AND THERE: Diaspora Policies, Integration, and Social Rights Beyond Borders Alexandra Délano Alonso. 2018. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 256 pages. ISBN: 9780190688585.
What does it mean when the governments of the countries immigrants are from provide them with basic services in the country where they settle? This is the question at the heart of Alexandra Délano Alonso's outstanding book on the diaspora policies of various Latin American countries, though chiefly Mexico, From Here and There: Diaspora Policies, Integration, and Social Rights Beyond Borders.
Délano Alonso looks at an array of policies offered by Latin American consular offices to migrants in the United States, including services such as assistance to learn English, health care services, financial access assistance, support in applying for naturalization, the provision of legal and civics education, defense of labor rights, and the creation of community spaces. Délano Alonso's book is significant for its empirical focus: in examining diaspora policies that address the needs and aspirations of migrant populations who have settled in the receiving countries, and for whom the lived connection to the country of origin has in some cases begun to thin, her book breaks from the long-standing emphasis in the study of diaspora policies on policy linkages between emigration and development in the country of origin. And while there has been some research on consular support and services for migrants in destination countries, Délano Alonso's book provides a uniquely robust account and analysis of this understudied category of diaspora policies.
The book's contribution is substantial because of the depth and scope of Délano Alonso's empirical strategy. Based on almost a decade of research, several hundred formal and informal interviews, policy observations and analyses, and work within New York's consular offices, the book captures the motivation, the competence, and the conflicts, internal and external, of the many government employees and volunteers involved in crafting and implementing the policies she examines. The scope of the book is likewise expansive. Délano Alonso's research traces diaspora policies from headquarters in Mexico City out through consular networks in the many communities and the multiple countries where they touch down, and across the policy bridges that Mexico and other Latin American countries formed to collaborate in the expansion of consular services. With her analysis of consular policy across these sites, she shows the incremental power of street-level bureaucrats to create a transnational and multiscalar government system, a bureaucratic network of consular service and defense.
Equally significant is the claim the book makes. Délano Alonso shows that these policies are not only remarkable for their comprehensiveness, with the constellation of service provided by the Mexican government in particular offering something of a social safety net to migrants excluded to varying degrees from social services in the US, they are also remarkable for the way in which they redefine government jurisdiction, intentionally extending the reach and responsibility of origin country governments past national borders. Délano Alonso argues that although they may reach only a very small percentage of Mexican and other Latin American migrants in the US, they represent nothing short of a reformulation of the concept of integration. The policies that Délano Alonso analyzes deliberately respond to the needs of migrants with precarious legal status—“defined as either undocumented individuals or permanent residents without citizenship whose migration status limits their access to public benefits or puts them at risk of deportation” (4)—and they recast integration as a question of social and institutional access, rather than a process defined by the acquisition of political rights and the achievement of social inclusion. In their most promising expressions, consular policies work to mediate and facilitate migrant access to many of the services and institutions through which social membership is defined and expressed.
Délano Alonso's exposition of this claim is elegantly conveyed through the organization of her book. It moves outward from an examination in the first chapter of the tentative and noisy process through which the Mexican government expanded its understanding of its mission from one of helping Mexican migrants maintain their ties to Mexico to promoting, as consular documents put it, their “integration into the host society” (41), through a detailed description in the second chapter of how Mexican consular staff put this new mission into practice in locales throughout the US and Canada, with an analysis that focuses primarily on two programs: the Ventanillas de Salud, a window for health services, and the Plazas Communitarias, an education program. The third chapter examines the collaborative processes of learning and resource sharing through which the consular services of Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, and Uruguay replicated and joined forces with the Mexican consular offices to provide social services to migrants. The final empirical chapter, to my mind the standout chapter in the book, addresses the Mexican government's delayed perception of and outreach to Dreamers and DACA recipients in the US, and then moves back across the border to reveal the Mexican government's neglect, and even abandonment, of migrants deported from the US, especially of those who were Dreamers or DACA recipients before they were forcibly removed back to Mexico.
This final chapter reveals the fault lines and contradictions built into the definition of integration advanced by Mexican and other Latin American diaspora policies. At the heart of this chapter is a poignant encounter in Mexico City between DACA recipients from the US, whose trip had been organized by the Mexican government and who had benefited even before the trip from significant consular support, and Dreamers who had been deported and who in Mexico faced often insurmountable obstacles as they tried to access many of the same services and social systems that the consular staff had facilitated for DACA recipients in the US. The meeting, as Délano Alonso recounts, was transformative, and caused the US DACA recipients to express a desire to mobilize independently of the Mexican government and move beyond the political caution vis-à-vis the US government that constrained its consular support. Délano Alonso notes that the participants came to view their marginalization on both sides of the border as related, and as produced by the same migration system. The US Dreamers declared their solidarity with the deportees: “Wherever we are, we are the same. We are from here and there” (169).
Délano Alonso draws on this phrase for the book's title, but the consular policies that she examines exist precisely because, in terms of important political rights, migrants are not “from here and there.” Their lack of political rights prevents them from being full participants in both origin and destination countries: their undocumented or precarious legal status in the US limits their access to resources and social spaces, denying full membership in the polity, but it also prevents them from traveling back to the countries of origin, where they have political rights, at will, if at all. And when migrants are deported, their ability to access the services to which their political standing gives them rights to is severely curtailed by origin government stonewalling and neglect. Thus, the story that Délano Alonso tells is one of the provision of services in spaces of systemic political dislocation and marginalization. The policies are not meant to challenge the political exclusion of their citizens, but rather to provide services that can alleviate the deprivation of exclusion. Délano Alonso amply documents the limitations of these policies, and she unsparingly highlights that contradiction produced when the same government that promotes institutional access for its migrant citizens in the US truncates it for its migrant citizens in Mexico. But the political—as well as theoretical—implications of a concept of integration that is predicated on exclusion require further development.
Délano Alonso's book provides a strong basis from which to engage in this reflection, and her research demonstrates that this reflection is one that is urgent for the field of diaspora studies as a whole. What is the relationship between political rights and integration? How useful or meaningful is the concept of integration in a political moment characterized by hardening social stratification based on access to political rights? What is the valence of integration when it is invoked by governments and political actors who are reluctant to challenge marginalization caused by legal distinctions and formal policy, if and when they are not directly involved with producing it? These are questions that Délano Alonso's compelling book raises for us all.
Natasha N. Iskander
New York University
LGBTI ASYLUM SEEKERS AND REFUGEES FROM A LEGAL AND POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE: Persecution, Asylum and Integration Arzu Güler, Maryna Shevtsova, and Denise Venturi, eds. 2018. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. 354 pages. ISBN: 9783319919041 (hardback); ISBN: 9783319919058 (ebook).
LGBTI Asylum Seekers and Refugees from a Legal and Political Perspective, edited by Arzu Güler, Maryna Shevtsova, and Denise Venturi, is a comprehensive edited volume of 18 chapters, providing a timely and inciteful contribution to the literature on the topic of sexuality-based asylum. Its scope is impressive, presenting research on and with queer or LGBTI refugees in South America, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North America. Together, the chapters provide an in-depth (though sometimes disjointed) exploration of the diverse forms of persecution experienced by queer communities, and the challenges they face in pursuit of rights and dignity. Most significantly, the book's depth and scope pose serious questions for asylum adjudicators, and points to further research that can help improve the evidentiary and normative basis of LGBTI recognition within asylum law.
As the editors explain during the book's introduction, the collection is structured temporally in order to account for the key “stages” of LGBTI asylum seeking. The first five chapters explore drivers of persecution “before the flight” (10). The second cluster of seven chapters examine queer refugee encounters with state asylum infrastructures, and how various states’ legal systems respond to sexual and gender-based persecution. The final section of four chapters investigates “reception, accommodation, and integration of (recognised) LGBTI refugees.” The structure offers a concrete framework that speaks to the need for a more comprehensive understanding among adjudicators of the history, nature, and complexity of queer persecution. In particular, by stitching together a diverse set of contributions exploring responses to and experiences of queer refugees at different “stages” of their “journey,” the volume is able to demonstrate the relationship between persecution in both countries of origin and countries of asylum. This approach helps to articulate a more complex picture of violence, protection, and persecution that moves beyond the reductive “juxtaposition” (350) of the global North as a gay “safe haven” and the global South as essentially “backward” and homophobic.
However, while the comprehensive nature of this framework is certainly ambitious, the product sometimes feels conceptually disjointed. Individual contributions across the volume do not always speak to one another, remaining siloed within their discipline, or context, preventing a more multidisciplinary engagement with the subject. While this is no doubt a challenge generated in part by the breadth of the volume itself, it seems plausible that more work could have been done to bring out the connections and differences presented by the individual chapters. As such, the wider conceptual implications of the volume remain tacit. Nevertheless, the individual chapters offer a wide-ranging set of perspectives, from both scholars and practitioners, that variously apply sociological, psychological, anthropological, legal, sociological, and queer theoretical lenses to specific contexts.
For example, in Part I—which focuses on the root causes of homophobia and queer per- secution—contributions deal with the challenges of sexuality and moral difference (Fox), the psychological impact of persecution on queer refugee youth (Alessi et al.), the limitations of legal reforms in support of transgender folk in Pakistan (Munir), and the migratory survival strategies of queer refugees from Syria (Odlum) and northern Central America/Mexico (Winton). Overall, these contributions present a complicated and multifaceted picture that speaks to the evidentiary challenge of defining and recognizing queer persecution. The chapters by Winton and Odlum are the most striking, presenting research that considers the relationship between queer refugees’ experiences of persecution and the reality of displacement and migration both over time and in different spaces. Their analysis demonstrates how the “pervasive precarity” (95) of displacement informs the everyday survival strategies and decisions of queer refugees, as well as their encounters with different forms of persecution both in their country of origin and during their lives in displacement.
The chapters in Part II aim to understand questions of “credibility” and how diverse legal regimes in the United States (Berasi), Canada (Fobear), Ireland (Brazil and Arnold), Mexico (Romero and Huerta), and the European Union (Begazo), as well as the UNHCR (Güler) and European human rights courts (Mrazova), recognize LGBTI refugees and their experiences of persecution as “valid.” These wide-ranging chapters tell a story of complex legal regimes, where case law, legal opinions, authoritative guidance, and state-level implementation produces vastly different outcomes for queer refugees. Key inconsistencies emerge in relation to how state adjudicators interpret evidence of persecution, and how they determine an applicants’ credibility as a member of the LGBTI “particular social group.” For example, while it is noted that jurisprudence on LGBTI asylum has grown more progressive in recent years, the reality remains that queer refugees are still required to “prove” their gayness, often by playing into Northern-centric assumptions about LGBTI identities.
This picture is compounded by Katherine Fobear's important chapter exploring the challenges for queer refugee couples claiming joint asylum in Canada. Fobear demonstrates how the law both recognizes queer couplehood as credible evidence of their “membership of a particular social group,” while simultaneously treating such couplehood with suspicion, requiring applicants to “prove” both their sexual orientation and the validity of their relationship.
In the final section, authors consider the challenges faced by (successfully recognized) queer refugees once they have been granted refugee status or arrived in a second country of asylum. The chapters here explore the experiences of trans women in Mexico (Romera and Huerta), UNHCR responses to LGBTI refugees in Morocco (Hersch), experiences of applying for international resettlement in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey (Fisher), LGBQ refugees in Kenya (Moor), and trans refugees in Italy (Basetti). Here the importance of networks, advocacy groups, and humanitarian agencies is variously emphasized. However, even well-implemented forms of support can remain inadequate in light of institutionalized or societal homophobia (Hersch), xenophobia (Basetti), or limited institutional capacity (Fisher), meaning the ability of many queer refugees to find dignity can remain elusive even after their claims are recognized by state actors.
Overall, this volume provides crucial insights into the complexity of queer “persecution,” a detailed, up-to-date account of how the asylum jurisprudence of various states deals with normative legal questions of queer “credibility,” and an important exploration of the ongoing challenges queer refugees face when they make claims for rights and dignity. While there is certainly scope for the connections and differences between the chapters to be more fully developed and conceptualized, this comprehensive volume is nevertheless a hugely valuable contribution to the field, and essential reading for scholars, practitioners, and adjudicators working on LGBTI asylum.
University College London
NEW BORDERS: Hotspots and the European Migration Regime Antonis Vradis, Evie Papada, Joe Painter, and Anna Papoutsi. 2018. London: Pluto Press. 144 pages. ISBN: 9780745338460 (hardback); ISBN: 9780745338453 (paperback).
New Borders is an analytically rich yet comprehensive narrative of the events during the 2015 (so-called) refugee crisis as they unfolded on the island of Lesvos. It takes a geographical lens to interpret developments following the introduction of the EU's hot spot approach to the European migration regime. The book draws on a two-year research project on Lesvos conducted by the authors’ collective, Transcapes. During this time, they observed how the reception of the refugees became detention and why this happened by looking at questions of European policy, the securitization of national and EU borders, and the real impact these have on people's everyday lives and processes of inclusion and exclusion.
This is a timely contribution. Besides unpacking the urgent matter of how the changing paradigm of governing borders in Europe and beyond affects in complex, interconnected ways the lives of “us and others,” of natives and refugees, it manages to remain self-reflective in challenging the limits created by the obstinate hierarchies of academia. Both the Transcapes research project and New Borders are a collective effort, which is trying (“not without difficulties,” (x) in the words of the authors), to produce knowledge in a less hierarchical and more equal, just, and creative manner.
The book includes a brief introduction followed by five chapters. The first chapter introduces the reader to the events that were labeled as the “Mediterranean crisis” of 2015. This chapter takes on a seemingly bureaucratic issue, the crisis management of the European Commission, from a new perspective. It uses the viewpoint of the people who actually become the subjects of the crisis management, as well as the locals that witnessed firsthand the transformation of their island into a humanitarian “open-air prison,” as the authors vividly describe it. The ethnographic gaze adopted by the authors illuminates how the European Commission's narrative of protection through the hot spot approach actually translates into entrapment and how the promised welfare provisions meet at best the means of bare survival.
The second chapter situates the events of 2015 and their effects in a longer historical perspective. According to the authors, despite the novelties brought by the hot spot approach, it is necessary to look at the longer history of the international system governing the mobility of people across borders, and more specifically due to persecution. Therefore, they offer a summarized description of the development, institutionalization, and ideological background associated with the political figure of the refugee, as well as of the ways that the right to protection is intertwined with the efforts to regulate mobility.
The third chapter focuses on the differentiated mobilities produced by the hot spot approach. According to the authors, the hot spot is designed to prevent any unauthorized mobility not by the usual means of detention but through a “capture-and-circulation” mechanism. This mechanism, as they explain, allows refugees to move only at specific places based on arbitrary criteria, most important of which is their arrival date. Accordingly, if they arrived before the EU-Turkey statement, they are allowed to travel to the mainland; otherwise, they are stuck in one of the hot spot islands. These restricted spaces are further shrunk, as the authors argue, by other mechanisms of control such as the extremely low allowances that refugees receive or their placement in areas with largely hostile local populations far from any supportive social or family network.
Chapter 4 argues that the hot spot approach incorporates the material, institutional, and organizational aspects of managing migration in a humanitarian way in the space of a camp. The authors focus on the empirical case of the First Reception and Identification Centre of Moria in Lesvos, which was the first hot spot in Greece, in order to demonstrate the effects of the changes introduced to asylum procedures on people's mobility. This chapter succeeds in providing an illustrative example of how the spatial governance of populations through the hot spot approach and under a humanitarian logic affects people's lived experiences by reducing their rights to bare survival.
The fifth chapter concludes by drawing the readers’ attention to the relationship of the hot spot approach to the expanding EU liminal territory and the birth of the “EU superstate.” In this last chapter the term “new border” comes to life through a detailed analysis of how the hot spot is more than the camp.. As the authors argue, the hot spot approach is a new paradigm of sorting, registering, identifying, and regulating people's mobility and their access to basic human rights. In this way hot spots can give us further insights about the future relationship between people, territory, and rights in the EU.
This book is a significant addition to the blooming literature of critical borders. Although there could have been a thicker ethnographic analysis of the hot spot per se, the authors still manage to pull together evidence of the main issues they want to tackle, with two important contributions. First, by managing to conceptualize the recent events of the crisis by connecting the response of the EU through the hot spot approach to broader mechanisms of territorial control and population management, this contribution allows for a deeper understanding that goes beyond the time of crisis and points to a paradigm shift, a “new border.” Second, the authors succeed in maintaining the balance between analytical rigor and accessible narrative. As a result, New Borders becomes a useful academic text without losing the ability to talk to a wider audience interested in the most pressing political debates in the EU today.
School of Global Studies and Centre for European Studies (CERGU), University of Gothenburg
ETHNOMORALITY OF CARE: Migrants and Their Aging Parents Agnieszka Radziwinowiczówna, Anna Rosińska, and Weronika Kloc-Nowak. 2018. London: Routledge. 205 pages. ISBN: 9780815354031 (hardback); ISBN: 9781351134231 (ebook).
Ethnomorality of Care: Migrants and Their Aging Parents is a very original piece of scholarship that presents a mass of material about care for older people within transnational families. It will interest both migration researchers and scholars working on ageing societies, welfare regimes, and other aspects of social policy. “Ethnomorality of care” is understood as both a methodological approach and (in the plural) as a socially constructed phenomenon: communities of practice that vary between locations. “Care” is defined widely to include a range of activities along a “care-contact” continuum, where even lesser degrees of contact are included, and “caring about” is taken into account, as well as “caring for.” As the authors point out, their approach could be adapted to studying other types of care, such as childcare.
The book investigates the “lived experience of aging” in two Polish towns, comparing the experiences (over time) of parents with adult children abroad; parents whose children live elsewhere in Poland or locally; and childless older people. It also explores the “care intentions” of migrants: how they envisage what will happen if their parents in Poland need more intensive support. Poland is interesting as a case study of a society with, on the one hand, an ageing population and mass out-migration, which creates a need for care, and, on the other, a self-image as a place where family is of the highest value. Ordinary people and care professionals agree that care within the family—preferably provided by female members—is the most moral option. Adult children in Poland have a legal obligation to support their parents financially, and institutional care is seen as a last resort. Moreover, people who are not in the category of “poorest poor” can find it hard to afford state institutional care.
However, as the authors show, in practice many considerations cut across accepted norms, and various compromises are adopted, comprising different types of institutional care, as well as contracting out care to strangers. While taking into account local norms and the range of institutional support available in each town, the authors also acknowledge the considerable role of agency, as individuals make choices based on a range of personal factors.
The main part of the book consists of a thorough and systematic report on the project's findings. Separate chapters discuss in turn beliefs; intentions; arrangements; and care sequences and flows (showing how beliefs, arrangements, etc., evolve over time). By presenting a multitude of unique individual case studies, the authors provide a complex analysis of the role of different variables in contributing to care arrangements. Many of the case studies of individual care arrangements are neatly illustrated with diagrams.
The authors show that family care is a touchstone against which other arrangements are compared. Women living abroad are often heavily involved in caring at a distance for relatives in Poland, although in practice some men also perform caring roles, for example, if a brother remains in Poland while his sister is abroad. Professional care workers interviewed in Poland (all but two of whom were women) supported transnational caring and could empathize with the migrants’ position. Some of them were part-time migrants themselves, taking periods of unpaid leave to work as paid carers abroad.
Migration scholars will naturally be curious about how (if at all) migrants adopt ethnomoralities of care prevalent in the countries to which they migrate, as a kind of social remittance or acculturation effect. The authors do not find much evidence that this occurs. They argue that even while departing from the familial model of care in practice, migrants still fundamentally believe that family care is best. However, they did find differences between the towns, based on their different migration histories. Overall, the family model prevailed in both. However, there were differences linked to Kluczbork's history of migration to Germany since the 1970s and the recognition that children abroad might not be able to care directly for their parents remaining in Kluczbork. Local authorities and families understood that the German system of “supported familialism” had merits. The local authorities (despite being underresourced) provide more paid services than in Końskie, and local people hire neighbors to help care for relatives. This is seen as being socially acceptable. Końskie is not only poorer but also has a shorter record of international migration; this began to happen on a mass scale only after Poland entered the EU. Migration has chiefly been to the United Kingdom. Care arrangements are more family-centered than in Kluczbork. However, because of Końskie's traumatic experience of postindustrialization, there is more alcohol abuse than in Kluczbork, and this can make relatives more unwilling to exercise care for older relatives, as well as removing some potential carers from fulfilling that role.
Overall, this book should change the way migration researchers approach the topic of caring at a distance. It offers a number of really useful conceptual tools, as well as presenting a splendid example of empirically rich multisited ethnography.