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Accepted Paper:

The production, enactment and concealment of borders in the Italian asylum system: an ethnographic perspective.  
Tommaso Sbriccoli (University of Siena)

Paper short abstract:

By drawing on a long-term ethnography in the field of asylum in Italy, this paper explores the minute and everyday practices through which borders are constituted at many different levels and reflects on the political, social and economic consequences, intended on unintended, of their proliferation.

Paper long abstract:

By drawing on long-term ethnographic observation of the Italian asylum seeker and refugee shelter system, this paper explores the minute and everyday practices through which borders are constituted at many different levels.

On one side, it will shade light on how national and European legislation is enacted (or by-passed) at the local level, allowing migrants to cross frontiers illegally or blocking them in the places of arrival. Similarly, individual strategies aimed at overcoming limitations on movement within Europe will also be discussed.

On the other side, the production of more subtle borders, but not for this less solid, will be investigated. First of all the cleavage between "illegality" and "legality". The production of thousands of illegal subjects - who after the rejection of their asylum applications keep living in Italian territory and are neither repatriate to their countries, nor allowed other possibilities to get a permit - is one of the most important outcomes of this system. Along with it, other invisible but extremely powerful devices of exclusion and marginalisation, mostly enacted at the discursive level, will be presented as forming the matter out of which the proliferation of borders becomes not only acceptable, but even thought of as natural.

The political, social and economic consequences of such political and discursive apparatus, taking its strength from the climate of emergency induced by the 'migration crisis', will be reflected upon in order to grasp wider logics underlying it and the change in the way people conceive and think of borders and human difference.

Panel P023
Anthropology, border regimes and European crises: questioning legacies and futures
  Session 1