24.11.2020 – “Finding Ways through Eurospace: Unfreezing Migrant Positionalities in Contemporary Europe – Joris Schapendonk

This presentation focuses on my latest work entitled Finding Ways Through Eurospace. This book is about migrants, but it is not about migration. It discusses transnational movements, asylum, belonging, and borders, but it is not about migration. As I argue, migration and its related ontological foundations of stasis is not the best analytical starting point to understand the lifeworlds of the African ‘movers’ in Europe that are central to this study. Rather than seeing ‘migrancy’ as the primary marker of my informant’s lives, this book aims to understand how flexible mobilities relate to migratory projects, and how identities change along pathway of movements. By following the mobility processes of Africans, the chapters show how mobility remains central to their being in Europe, despite the existence of harsh mobility regimes that aim to hamper, stop or control their mobilities (Glick-Schiller and Salazar 2013). This book, thus, delves into the ways ‘African movers’ navigate ‘Eurospace’ (Vigh 2009). How they are confronted with borders, but also how they manage to transgress and circumvent them. Such a de-migranticized view (Dahinden 2016) on the im/mobility of people who are generally viewed as migrants sounds like a contradiction in terminus, but I argue that it is highly needed to move away from frameworks that that pin down peoples residences’, positions, and imaginaries.   

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