Accepted paper:

Silent uncertainties: trust, law and integration among migrants, academics and citizens of the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla


Brian Campbell (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)
Francesco Bruno Bondanini (Universität zu Köln)

Paper short abstract:

This paper follows the daily uncertainties of migrants seeking to rebuild their lives in the equally contested Spanish Enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. These case studies lead us to question our anthropological understandings of 'trust', 'law' and 'Integration'

Paper long abstract:

Ceuta and Melilla are two enclave towns on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco, belonging to Spain. The enclaves depend on flows of goods, labour and migrants out of the Moroccan hinterland, with individuals from different ethnic and religious groups forming informal, flexible and personal economic bonds based on mutual 'confianza' (trust). The Spanish government has recently erected border fences around the enclaves, and enacted several laws intending to halt incoming sub-Saharan and control informal interactions with Moroccan labourers. Based on 12 months of participant observation amongst migrants of the CETI (centro de estancia temporal de inmigrantes) and Moroccan labourers, this paper seeks to explore issues of uncertainty related to migration in border regions on three levels. First, given their geo-political context and the strong presence of well-organised 'comunidades' (ethno-cultural groups), local identity has long been a source of disquiet in the enclaves. Such migrations further unsettle such issues, and are considered as threats to the delicate 'convivencia' (co-existence) seen as the basis of social order in the Enclaves. Second, this paper follows the daily uncertainties within which migrants and non/semi-citizens rebuild their economic, social and religious lives. This is often achieved through the formation of tenuous ties of 'confianza' within hostile legal and cultural categories that equally lead to economic exploitation or legal, cultural and social integration. Thirdly, this paper observes how the case of the enclaves also raises other positive academic uncertainties, encouraging us revise our anthropological understandings of concepts such as 'migration', 'trust' and, above all, 'integration'.

panel W069
Uncertainty and disquiet in the Mediterranean region