Project

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How Does Border "Occur"? The Deterritorialised European Border Regime and Migrants' Transnational Social Spaces

English title How Does Border "Occur"? The Deterritorialised European Border Regime and Migrants' Transnational Social Spaces
Applicant Eckert Julia
Number 140445
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Sozialanthropologie Philosophisch-historische Fakultät Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Ethnology
Start/End 01.10.2012 - 30.09.2015
Approved amount 563'391.00
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Keywords (9)

asylum; knowledge networks; EU border; border; border control practices; irregular migration; transnationalism; border regime; labour migration

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

Europe’s borders and border control practices have undergone profound change in recent years. Since 1985, the Schengen/ Dublin Agreements have become the main pillar of the European asylum and migration policy. Organisations as Frontex, the ICMPD, EASO, and many others illustrate on the institutional level this Europeanization. Although not part of the EU, Switzerland is engaged in many of these organizations. This emerging European border regime has led to new forms of border control practices, aiming at the effective control or “management” of undocumented migration. These border control practices are no longer restricted to the proper geo-politcal border, but relocated and deterritorialised. Nonetheless, undocumented migration towards Europe persists: Migrants as mobile subjects continue to cross EU’s external borders.

Subproject A analyses externalised border control practices and undocumented migrants’ mobility practices with special emphasis on the issue of the circulation of knowledge amongst migrants as well as amongst border institutions. Multi sited fieldwork focuses on important hubs in the transnational migratory space between North Africa (especially Tunisia), Southern Europe and Switzerland.

Subproject B analyses, how undocumented migrants deal with internalised border control practices: Camps for rejected asylum seekers in Switzerland can be read as border zones within the state. Typically situated in scarcely populated rural areas at the geographical periphery and far away from cities, they are places out of (social) space. This subproject asks how power relations are inscribed in everyday interactions between officials (e.g. police, migration officers, social workers) and rejected asylum seekers housed in these camps.

The research of subproject C focuses on the persisting permeability of the border in the European border regime: Examining seasonal labour migration of undocumented migrants from Eastern and South-eastern Europe in the agricultural sector of Switzerland, the project reveals that undocumented migration is governed in complex ways rather than simply combated.

The multi-perspective approach allows to grasp the complexity of the European border regime. It provides in theory and empirical data new insights into the interdependencies between undocumented migrants’ transnational social spaces and border control practices. 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Vom helvetischen Flüchtling bis zur neukolonialen Knechtschaft in der Landwirtschaft
Bopp Tina, Affolter Simon (2013), Vom helvetischen Flüchtling bis zur neukolonialen Knechtschaft in der Landwirtschaft, in Gurny Ruth, Tecklenburg Ueli (ed.), Edition 8, Zürich, 94-111.
Man verliert selbstbewusst zu sein
Marti Simone (2012), Man verliert selbstbewusst zu sein, in Solidaritätsnetz Ostschweiz (ed.), 72.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Netzwerk kritische Migrations- und Grenzregimeforschung Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Dr. Werner Schiffauer Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Dr. Christin Achermann Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Dr. Sarah Schilliger Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Ethos and ethics in migration bureaucracies Talk given at a conference Bureaucracy and symbolic violence: assisted voluntary return migration 02.09.2015 Ueberstorf, Switzerland Loher David;
Einführung in die Anthropologie des Staates Individual talk The Limits of Control 02.06.2015 Berlin, Germany Loher David;
Institutskolloquium Institut für Sozialanthropologie, Universität Bern Individual talk Bürokratie der Illegalisierung. Die Verwaltung abgewiesener Asylsuchender in der Schweiz 14.04.2015 Bern, Switzerland Marti Simone;
The Migration-Security Nexus: the Case of Switzerland in International Perspective Talk given at a conference Roundtable Discussion 14.11.2014 Neuchatel, Switzerland Eckert Julia;
IASH Forum I Poster Governance of voluntariness? 30.10.2014 Bern, Switzerland Loher David;
Linke Hochschultage 3: Wider den Alltag Talk given at a conference Kopfsalat - von der Aussaat bis zum Mensabuffet. Arbeitsverhältnisse in Landwirtschaft, Gastronomie und Care-Ökonomie 03.10.2014 Zürich, Switzerland Affolter Simon;
EASA Conference, Tallinn (Panel "Tracing Eligibilities") Talk given at a conference The governance of voluntariness: Assisted voluntary return migration as law enforcment through the mobilization od self-responsibility 01.08.2014 Tallinn, Estonia Loher David;
Contested Control at the Margin of the State Talk given at a conference Deregulation strategies and their regulating effects: The case of the termination of Social Assistance for rejected asylum seekers in Switzerland 22.11.2013 Bern, Switzerland Marti Simone;
Contested Control at the Margins of the State Talk given at a conference The Informal Form: Recruiting Networks for Cheap and Flexible Work Force in the Agricultural Labour Market 22.11.2013 Bern, Switzerland Affolter Simon;
Contested control at the margins of the state Talk given at a conference The voluntariness of voluntary return 22.11.2013 Bern, Switzerland Loher David;
Lucerne Master Class with Nancy Fraser Talk given at a conference The voluntariness of voluntary return 14.10.2013 Luzern, Switzerland Loher David;
Deutscher Geographentag 2013 Talk given at a conference Die neue Sichtbarkeit der irregulären Migrant_innen durch relokalisierte und deterritoralisierte Grenzpraktiken des europäischen Migrationsregimes 02.10.2013 Passau, Germany Marti Simone; Loher David;
Neue Geographien der Migration, Deutscher Geographentag 2013 Talk given at a conference Die hierarchisierte Arbeitsmigration im Landwirtschaftssektor 02.10.2013 Passau, Germany Affolter Simon;
ÖGS Jahrestagung Linz Talk given at a conference Von der Bewegung her denken: Migration als soziale Bewegung im eigentlichen Wortsinne 26.09.2013 Linz , Austria Loher David;
Field Trip: Die Exklusive Schweiz Individual talk Notunterkünfte für abgewiesene Asylsuchende 25.07.2013 Bern, Switzerland Marti Simone;
Summerschool Indemini Individual talk Neoliberal strategies and its unintended outcomes. The termination of social assistance for persons with the decision to dismiss an application (NEE) 07.07.2013 Indemini, Switzerland Marti Simone;
Indemini Sumer School Talk given at a conference The containment of voluntariness: programs for assisted voluntary return migration to Tunisia 06.07.2013 Indemini, Switzerland Loher David;
Seminar Soziale Ungleichheiten Individual talk Kontrollierte Illegalität. Die Nothilfe für abgewiesene Asylsuchende in der Schweiz 03.04.2013 Bern, Switzerland Marti Simone;
Doctoral Conference to Migration an Migration Laws in Switzerland Talk given at a conference Kontrollierte Illegalität. Die Nothilfe für abgewiesene Asylsuchende in der Schweiz 30.11.2012 Solothurn, Switzerland Marti Simone;
Ohne Grenzen denken Talk given at a conference Prekarisierung und Illegalisierung in der Landwirtschaft 30.11.2012 Oberdorf, Solothurn, Switzerland Affolter Simon;
Linke Hochschultage 1 Individual talk Prekäre Arbeitsverhältnisse im Asylwesen 21.11.2012 Zürich, Switzerland Marti Simone; Affolter Simon;
Anthropologie des Transnationalismus und des Staates Individual talk Grenzregime 14.11.2012 Bern, Switzerland Affolter Simon; Loher David; Marti Simone;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Ethos and Ethics in Migration Bureaucracies 02.09.2015 Schloss Ueberstorf, Bern, Switzerland
Workshop "Tracing eligibilities: moralities, performances, practices" at the European Association of Social Anthropologists Conference (EASA) 03.08.2014 Tallinn, Estonia
Securitisation: Globalised States Asserting Power? 26.06.2014 Bern, Switzerland
Contested Control at the Margins of the State. Irregular Migration and Government Responses in the Schengen Area 22.11.2013 Bern, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Prekäre Arbeit und (temporäre) Migration in Landwirtschaft und Gastronomie German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Wir könnten viel mehr Flüchtlinge aufnehmen Blick German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: print media, online media In der Landwirtschaft werden Angestellte schlecht bezahlt Basellandschaftliche Zeitung German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Rassismus & Ökonomie im Migrations- und Grenzregime. Vortragsreihe von kritnet_schweiz in Bern German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Ein Recht auf Fairness FAZ International 2013
Media relations: print media, online media Moderne Knechte und Mägde Terra Cognita, Eidgenössische Kommission für Migrationsfragen German-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland 2013
Media relations: print media, online media Welchen Weg wählt Tuneisen? Neue Wege German-speaking Switzerland 2013

Abstract

The research project “How Does Border ‘Occur’? The Deterritorialised European Border Regime and Migrants’ Transnational Social Spaces” analyses border practices and border knowledge of both state and interstate agents (e.g. national border guards, the IOM, the ICMPD) and migrants. The project focuses on everyday interactions and interdependencies of these actors in three specific subfields: the externalisation of border control practices, the internalisation of border control practices and the permeability of the territorial state border. The project provides an ethnographic record of the modified control practices, interdependencies and power relations in this European border regime. With the notion “border regime” we denote a field of interaction of migrants, state and interstate agents. The permanent readjustment of the respective border practices of all actors respond to changing social and juridical conditions and, at the same time, bring forth further such changes. By asking “How does border ‘occur’?” the research project analyses first how actors’ “doing border” are related to each other. Secondly it analyses how interactions between the actors are subject to change. This conceptual framework leads to the following theses: (i) Displaced border control practices lead to a fragmentation of migrants’ interactions. Border control practices of the different state and interstate actors intercept migrants’ relations. (ii) The reorganisation of borders signifies a differentiation of the interactions between migrants, state and interstate agents. Differentiated border control practices follow very specific practices with respect to different categories of migrants (e.g. non-EU migrants, women, and unaccompanied underage migrants). (iii) Thirdly, differentiation processes lead to a further specialisation of state and interstate agents’ practices and functions. The research design deals with the above described multidimensional aspects of the emerging European border regime through three sub-projects, each with a particular focus on one aspect:Sub-project A examines the externalisation of border control practices. It focuses particularly on analysing the circulation of border knowledge and rumours in both migrants’ transnational social space between Tunisia and Switzerland and in the international space of state and interstate agents. Further it analyses, how migrants’ clandestine border knowledge is integrated into border knowledge of state and interstate agents. Sub-project B analyses border control practices in detention camps for rejected asylum seekers in Switzerland. These camps are expressions of an internalisation of border control practices. The project examines migrants’ and social workers’ everyday practices in the centres and the interactions between the state actors involved on local, cantonal and national level. It focuses on the gendered practices that reshape the interactions of the different actors. Sub-project C studies the permeability of state borders. The research analyses seasonal labour migration in the agricultural sector of Switzerland by considering three dimensions: Firstly, the legal status of employment and residence during the stay; secondly, the transnational recruitment process between farmers and labour migrants; thirdly, the border control practices of state authorities in this specific field. The project devotes special attention to the dealing with legal requirements of the concerned actors in all three dimensions.
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