From dream to reality: Countervailing strategies for Sahrawis in the mythical country of Human Rights
(Université Bordeaux & UMR 5319)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores the dynamics of countervailing strategies observable in France, the country seen as mythical for Human Rights, in situations experienced by asylum seekers, stateless seekers and by political refugees from Western Sahara who have been settling in waves in Bordeaux since 2013
Paper long abstract:
This case study considers the countervailing strategies and citizen mobilization in Bordeaux since 2015 towards the Sahrawis living here. Legally, they are asylum seekers or applicants for statelessness, or with granted political refugee status. Otherwise, they are in an illegal situation, or are here due to a regularized situation in Spain. They form a population between 200 and 350 people, and call themselves: "Sahrawis of Bordeaux". Around 200 of them live in an illegal camp more or less tolerated, situated 800m from the city center, and the rest in squats (between 10 and 20). Few Sahrawis live in shelters or in housing usually accorded within the rules of application for asylum seekers and political refugees. They don't always receive help they are entitled to through the legal devices including accommodation and the decent minimum to live in the mythical country of Human Rights. Faced with this situation, several forms of citizen mobilization have developed. Who are the mobilized actors? How are they structured? What is the role of FB pages? What are the different counter-movements? As the Sahrawis themselves are actors of countervailing initiatives, how do they articulate themselves or not with the other strategies?
This approach is based on an intensive ethnographical immersion linked to an applied anthropology conducted since 2015 with the Sahrawis in their daily public and private life: on the camp, in the squats, in the courts and in the administrations, in situations of care, work, resumption of studies, learning French, in travel, exhibitions, conferences, etc.
Human rights and political subjectivities in motion: migration, hyper-nationalism, and countervailing strategies