EASA, 2006: EASA06: Europe and the world

Bristol, UK, 18/09/2006 – 21/09/2006


Global migration and the borders of Europe

Location Biol B75
Date and Start Time 19 Sep, 2006 at 11:30


Regina Römhild (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin) email
Sabine Hess (University of Heidelberg) email
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Short Abstract

The workshop examines the border in its emerging Europeanised form as a prominent site for European politics of self-identification confronting the global movements of flight and migration.

Long Abstract

The processes of Europeanisation, ie the political and cultural constructions of Europe both from above and from below, have become a stimulating field for innovative research and conceptual debate in anthropology. However, the main focus so far has been on how such constructions work from within the European Union: its political organisations and economies, its nation states and regions, its local citizens and their practices. This workshop will put forward a further shift in perspective towards encompassing the emergence of a European border as an increasingly important construction site of the new Europe. Today, the apparent periphery of the EU, its outer fringes in the East and throughout the Mediterranean, can be considered a central space of negotiating European politics and identifications vis-à-vis the world - as the world is confronting the gates of Fortress Europe by way of the global movements of flight and migration. This encounter provokes and enforces the Europeanisation of national governance of borders, mobility and citizenship. In its Europeanised, enlarged, multi-local and flexible form, the border has become the prominent site of an acute contest of diverse claims of inclusion and exclusion, of struggling for and against re-constructing a European Self against a non-European Other along neo-colonial lines. The workshop invites research-based presentations that contribute to exploring and clarifying the role of the border, and the movements across it, in re-shaping Europe. What images, visions, discourses, practices and actors are employed in the implementation of a new European border regime? What knowledge and what visions about Europe and the world does migration produce and invest in its struggles with the border? How do these processes of Europeanisation and transnationalisation affect the local notions, practices and politics of citizenship and identity? And how do they challenge the anthropological imagination of Europe?


Mediterranean Europe and its border-cities

Author: Natalia Ribas-Mateos (CNRS)  email
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Long Abstract

The borders to Southern Europe were to be exemplified by two selected cities, Tangier en Morocco and Durrës in Albania, where financial movements, capital investment and transnational companies were highlighted, as well as through the actors´ social agency (the expressed creativity against the closed doors). This means looking at how household members generate alternative production and consumption patterns to ensure survival in the time of closed borders; it is through them that we learn how barriers are circumvented. It is a way of showing how the repression of border control encourages, paradoxically, the reconstruction and the strengthening of reciprocity networks, but where networks are normally articulated through hierarchical solidarities.

The interest in the narratives on borders responded to a particular focus on grey zones or fuzzy borders, in which the national is being transgressed. This is what happens in border zones, cities and spaces where North meets South, an open floor where borderlife is put in the contradiction between border processes and state ideology, which create the conditions of crossing. This is often a pattern characterized by migration, twin plants, pollution and urban growth, which explains why the US-Mexico border region has become one of the most rapidly urbanizing regions in the world. Whereas in European border zones, these issues put forward many questions regarding national spaces especially on the type of police-state or welfare state, or on the role of the Europeanization process, which means strengthening the role of Nation-States towards migration meanwhile

I focus here on borderlands as research sites, encompassing the very specific friction, the liminal sites of globalization processes. These sites offer the possibility of exploring the globalization process in great detail, within a bounded setting and with its contradictory features. Simply put, global economic activities such as the mobility peculiar to the export processing zones, can be also very embedded in place. It is where global processes become structured by the local constraints of border cities (especially those which restrict mobilites to some nationals by the states and their policing powers) as well as by their own characteristics that define the heterogeneous forces. However, it is important to recognize that borderlands are not the rule for all socio-economic processes in the countries under study. Globalization tendencies such as the development of export industries are not to be seen for the whole of the country (in the whole of Albania or in the whole of Morocco) but it becomes clearer when one selects those cities, which are the nodes of the privatization processes in those countries.

"Europeanized" border discourse and the Italian political rhetoric of exclusion

Author: Bruno Riccio (University of Bologna)  email
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Long Abstract

The "Europeanization" of borders reveals itself to be a significant factor in the evolution (involution) of Italian migration policies and politics. Indeed, migration into Italy contributed to a growing concern at a European level about frontiers. From a political perspective Italian governments of all political persuasions have had to demonstrate that they are not the "soft underbelly" of Europe. Despite the demand for migrants within an increasingly fragmented and flexible labour market, the Italian government has therefore continued to strengthen border controls under the pressure of the idea of a "Fortress Europe" sanctioned by the Schengen agreement. Already the immigration law of 1998 indicated that the integration of migrants already settled in Italy was contingent upon the state's capacity to prevent further (illegal) immigration. Every year a maximum quota of entries was established which included seasonal and permanent workers and family reunions. The law, however, perpetuated the stigmatisation of illegal immigration by fixing severe punishments for people who encouraged clandestine immigration, and by creating the so-called Centri di Permanenza Temporanea (CPT) for illegal entrants; a political and organizational solution that divided and still divides the left. A real criminalisation of clandestine migrants was sanctioned more strongly with the last right wing law of 2002, which made entry even more difficult and paradoxically "created" more "criminals" within the Italian territory. In its concern with protecting the frontier and the European border, Italian politics increasingly constructed immigrants and asylum seekers as the subjects of racialised political and social discourse. Throughout the last decade irregular migration has been the favourite subject of aggressive political campaigns conducted not only by the extreme right. This feature contributed to the politicisation of the migratory phenomenon and the growth of the anxiety towards flux control and the popular tendency to represent migrants as a socio-cultural problem without appreciating the complexity and variety of migrations. The situation of the residents belonging to ethnic minorities of immigrant origin has been badly affected by this xenophobic climate engendered by this growing tension about the control of European borders. Political and hegemonic constructions of the migrant as "Other" especially when Muslim grew even more in the last five years. Indeed religion and culture were increasingly politicised. Exclusionary practices were often legitimized with cultural rhetoric which celebrates differences to justify inequalities by phrasing opposition to foreigners in terms of common sense themes leading to constructs of the migrant as incommensurably different. This representation may affect personnel in charge of the implementation of civil rights and of policies towards migrants at the everyday and local level. By relying on past fieldwork and recent research, in the paper I will explore the multiple and ambivalent ways the discourse on European borders' control is used in political rhetoric and how it affects everyday representation and institutional practices towards migrants at the local level.

The 'Europeanisation' project in the Ukraine

Author: Viktoriya Hryaban (Ukrainian Institute, Vienna)  email
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Long Abstract

The enlargement of the European Union to the East and the transformation of the Commonwealth of Independent States are complementary and mutually coherent processes that shape the European continent and its role in world politics and culture. Now that the first scheduled CEE/CIS states have joined the EU, the Ukraine with its 1000 km frontier with Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania has become the next world beyond the new Europe.

However, such official demarcation lines cannot hold the wave of Europeanization that is gradually spreading beyond the borders of the new Member States. My paper will research these processes which constantly influence and change the standards of socio-political life in the Ukraine. By means of empirical method, legislation base sources and mass media analysis, I will trace Europeanization as a phenomenon that is initiated both by the authorities and by the Ukrainian citizens themselves. These two groups form two vectors of influence on the nation's cultural space: one that acts from "above" - the influence of state governing structures; and one that acts from "below" - people's private experience.

At the end of the 1990s, intentional implementation of Europeanization as the part of state policy in the form of new laws (e.g. № 1433 from 2003) was started. European cultural landscape programs were introduced, initiating actions and holidays (e.g. Days of Europe, etc.) in the Ukraine.

On the other hand, Ukrainian citizens are convinced by their own experience of numerous positive aspects of the Western way of life. Those who have lived in the EU try to change their family life according to 'European standards' in as many ways as possible after they have returned home. These attempts lead to the stratification of certain cultural traditions. "Own European experience", acquired while resident abroad cause a change in outlook, habits and general rhythm of life.

According to the results of my preliminary research, Europeanization in the Ukraine is a complex process, regarded as part of the nation's modernization alongside a qualitatively new level of Ukrainization. Both encourage liberation from pro-Soviet self-consciousness, ideological stereotypes and national inferiority feeling and are positive factors on the stage of the Ukrainians' new 'European identity' forming process.

Contesting identity: local practices and political discourse in contemporary Sicily

Author: Chiara Dallavalle  email
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Long Abstract

The present paper focuses on the issue of identity and citizenship on a European border zone, as challenged by and negotiated through recent migratory fluxes from Northern Africa. Ethnographic research carried out in Western Sicily examined local practices and politics among local Sicilians and Tunisian immigrants in the city of Mazara del Vallo.

Mazara is a town located on the Western coast of Sicily facing Tunisian shores. The city has been experiencing a massive immigration from Tunisia since the late 1960 as a consequence of the consistent growth of local fish industry. Mazara may be defined a border city from different points of view. It is located between land and sea, Italy and Tunisia, Europe and Africa, becoming to embody a liminal space where memberships and identities blur and fade into each other. Mazara is not simply on the physical edge of the "most Southern" area of Italy, but also on the symbolic edge between the West and the Third World.

The constitution of Europe as a political and economic institution has contributed to the identification of Mazara as one of the Southern extreme borders of EU. According to a picture which portrays Europe as an entity based on centre/periphery relations among member states, Southern Italy reconfirms itself as a marginal area, posed on the last edge of the continent. However an historical perspective depicts differently this scenario. Opposed to contemporary representations as a peripheral zone, Sicily was in the past the heart of the Mediterranean basin, becoming the core of an intense net of exchanges among Northern and Southern shores. This role of important crossroad - economically, military but also culturally - had large repercussions on the destiny of the island. Sicily was a preferential target for conquest by many kingdoms and empires, which not only ruled it politically but also moulded it culturally. An interesting aspect is represented by the fact that for more than two centuries (827-1091) Sicily, as much of the Mediterranean basin, was part of the Arab Empire. Arab domination left an indelible imprint on Sicilian cultural practices and traditions, which still today maintain traces of that far past.

Curiously today Sicily has experienced again invasion from the Muslim world, but under completely different conditions. Today people from Northern Africa try desperately to enter Europe through reaching Sicilian shores, giving place to what an Italian anthropologist referred to as an unhappy return.

Sicilian scenario reminds in many ways a similar situation on the Spanish Moroccan border , where Arabic past of Spain clashes with contemporary migration from Morocco.

In the study case at the base of this paper Tunisian immigration in Western Sicily is examined in relation to identity-making processes among Tunisians and locals. If historically the line between Sicilian identity and Tunisian identity has always been blurred, in contemporary Mazara local notions of identity stress differences rather than similarities. Italian membership to the EU emphasises affiliation with Northerner cultural traits. Local history is selectively appropriated, discarding for instance Arab roots in favour of Norman heritage. Local practices and discourses stimulate the creation of a European identity in opposition to a more Africa-oriented identity, disregarding the fact that contemporary Sicilian cultural physiognomy has also been moulded by ongoing Northern African influences.

At the level of national political discourse, a strong claim for Italian identity, as directly traced by an alleged European identity, is claimed by various parties. Christian roots are claimed to be the origin of Europe, in opposition to the Muslim world, which is portrayed as the Other par excellence. What in the past was a channel, the Mediterranean Sea, which put in contact people and countries overlooking on its shores, it is today a divide between two worlds. Thus the border is crucial in moulding practices and discourses on identity, and it is at the same time moulded and reconstructed by recent migration.

The study case in Western Sicily shows a idiosyncrasy between official political discourse, which emphasises the border as a divide, and historical heritage, which on the contrary shows its fluidity and ambiguity in separating but also connecting. This idiosyncrasy plays a crucial role in the negotiation of local notions of identity.

Derogatory border practices in common law

Author: Pauline Carnet (LISST CERS)  email
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Long Abstract

Our research is about the derogatory border practices in the common-law concerning both human and goods movement.

In a context in which the EU domestic physical border devaluation goes with a foreign border self-protection will faced with international migrations, the border areas importance is increasing.

The concept of border, very often understood as a sovereignty and territorial competence limit within a State, could be nowadays defined as « une combinaison de propriétés (mise à distance, filtrage, affirmation politique, distinction) dont les effets sur l'espace sont particulièrement marquants (différentiels, discontinuités, risques, entre-deux) tant dans les représentations sociales que dans les pratiques des acteurs qui leur donnent forme et sens. » (Groupe Frontière, 2004). Indeed, we do not think about the concept of state border, but about the different ways of crossing it in an illicit way. How some officially closed areas can become "footbridges"? Which are the possible modalities of these crossings? Which non-state rules are these crossings based on? These questions invite us to think about the process leading to the existence of spaces situated more or less beyond the legal limits. We call theses spaces "zones troubles" (Tarrius, 2002). The creation of this kind of areas can be justified if we consider two "distances": on one hand, the distance existing between the legal rule and the social practices and, on the other hand, the distance existing between a social experience that goes beyond the national frame and a legal administration which is still being developed within this frame.

Through the identification of the different common-law border derogations, the comprehension of the ideas justifying their modalities and the comparison of several border areas, we hope to be able to answer to double aim: a) testing the concept of "zone trouble" pertinence in order to understand the particularity of some UE regions (which would be somehow beyond their own working legal frame) and b) building this notion as a general analytic category.

A first survey led us to Andalusia, which is a region based on this "espace-mouvement" represented by the Mediterranean (Braudel, 1949). In a period of ten years, this region has become one of the most important accesses to the Schengen Area. Andalusia has also experienced a situation of permanent movement as in it we can find immigration, emigration, frontier movements (goods or tourism). However, it is one of poorest Spanish regions, specialized in some activities generating social and ecological damages. Moreover, its parallel economy -licit and illicit products- is particularly developed. So this region appears as a real "social laboratory", a problematic space of articulations between mobility and settled state, identity and non-identity, near and far, legal and illegal. We have brought up three main elements which could help us to constitute the notion of "zone trouble": 1/ an asymmetrical interdependence relationship between Andalusia and the rest of Spain-EU; 2/ a geo-political position of frontier and "area crossing" opened to international and transnational migrations and to different ways of licit and illicit products; 3/ a recent tourist development.

So we develop our research domains by analysing the relationships between economy and movement, opening and closing, licit and illicit, local and global, and the existence of specific movement experiences to the "zones troubles" and by analysing too how the globalisation and the flows that come with contribute to their construction.

Borders and border-crossing challenging the spatial forms of identity

Author: Margit Feischmidt (Hungarian Academy of Sciences)  email
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Long Abstract

The Romanian-Hungarian border has long been a contested dividing line between two nation states. Today, however, this border functions more as a door than as a wall. While Romanian laborers make their way to Hungary to work, they cross paths with Hungarian tourists traveling to Romania in search of their Hungarian national heritage. My aim here is to analyze these sojourners' narratives of border-crossings, territories and people beyond the borders to show how spatial forms of identity are challenged both by transnational movements and new forms of nationalism.

Escape and intertext: looking for interpretation on the basis of experience from refugees' culture

Author: Terézia Nagy (Southern Great Plains Region Social Research Association)  email
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Long Abstract

In my lecture I undertake the interpretation of my fieldwork conducted in a refugee camp in Hungary and in African and Muslim migrant communities in the capital of Hungary. The identities constructions and (re)constructions are in the focus of my lecture.

In my interpretation I have given place to the post-modern theoretical approach of the identities' (re)constructions and to the interpretation of the afro-migrants' construction which have an imagined European image. Furthermore I will show the possibilities of the intertextual interpretation of migrant cultures. It will remark on the postcolonial cultures and on the cultural colonization by a mediated European image. This European image and images are helping for migrants to (re)construct their own identities but the inferior parts are lacking in their image. I also examined how they struggled with estrangement in European cultures, and how they tried to legitimate their place, while they reflected on the traditions of one or the other culture. We must also see, that the migrants develop strategies to 'survive' the economical and cultural difficulties, therefore they 'run away' and find themselves in a religious fellowship or ethnic minority or the blackleg worker market including the sexual market. These possibilities can not reflect to their traditional cultures and to the image of European culture. Thus they need to (re)construct their identity while one type of the Afro-European and Muslim-European intertexts and borders come into being.

In my lecture, I would like to use these aspects to present the results of my fieldwork.