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Seeking Refuge in Europe: Spaces of Transit and the Violence of Migration Management

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Leonie Ansems De Vries, Elspeth Guild

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2156-2166
Number of pages11
JournalJOURNAL OF ETHNIC AND MIGRATION STUDIES
Volume45
Issue number12
Early online date30 May 2018
DOIs
Accepted/In press20 Feb 2018
E-pub ahead of print30 May 2018
Published10 Sep 2019

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Abstract

In the past few years, spaces of transit have become prominent sites for people seeking refuge in Europe. From railway stations and parks in European cities, to informal settlements around Calais, to the hotspots in Italy and Greece, the movements of people and the techniques that govern them are at the heart of what has been misnamed the ‘European refugee crisis’. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork, this article takes spaces of transit as a vantage point for interrogating the relationship between mobility, migration management and violence, focusing on the fracturing of journeys due to forced and obstructed mobility both outside and within the EU. We develop the notion of ‘politics of exhaustion’ to highlight the impact and protracted character of these forms of migration management–its accumulated effects over time and across spaces–yet without reducing people seeking refuge to passive victims. Struggles for mobility are closely related to the existence and continued adaptation of migration management practices. The notion of fracturing can thus be employed not only to make sense of the violent effects of migration management but also the ways in which conventional conceptions of state and citizenship are challenged by the emergence of alternative living spaces, communities and politics.

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