Accepted paper:

Waitinghood and acceleration: the temporalities of un/documented lives in Marseille


Christine M Jacobsen (University of Bergen)

Paper short abstract:

Both deceleration and acceleration are features of contemporary French migration control. The paper discusses the consequences of such temporal bordering for the lives of un/documented migrants in Marseille.

Paper long abstract:

Recent research in migration studies points to 'time' as crucial to the production and experience of migration and migrant 'illegality'. In this presentation, I take ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Marseille as a point of departure for discussing some approaches to the temporalities of irregular migration. It has been suggested that migration control is slowing migration flows down, creating spaces of waiting at borders that are increasingly located not only at the territorial edges of nation states, but distributed across national territories. The paper pays attention to socially produced conditions of prolonged waiting, as well as the practices through which such conditions are encountered, incorporated and resisted by migrants in Marseille. While waiting is a ubiquitous feature of migrant 'illegality', the ethnography demonstrates that a general representation of the temporality of irregular migration as one of limbo, stasis and passivity, often found in academic reports as well as in popular portrayals, does not capture the multiple times of irregular migration. Rather, different temporalities are instituted by state efforts to govern migration, and these intersect with migrant's own gendered expectations and relations to the past, present and future. The paper discusses how recent French policies have suggested 'acceleration' as a means to improve governance of migration; speeding up both the processing of asylum applications and the deportation of irregularized migrants, and the consequences this has for un/documented lives in Marseille.

panel P111
Trapped in space, stuck in time? Exploring irregular migration, time and im/mobility