Accepted Papers:

'We are all brothers here': The making of a life by Chechen refugees in Eastern Poland  

Author:

Michal Sipos (Institute of Ethnology of the Czech Academy of Sciences)

Paper Short Abstract:

Focused on Chechens in Poland, this paper discusses how refugees 'make a life' while subject to the European migration regime. I explore how refugees deal with loss and transcend precarious conditions while being held in peripheral localities with high levels of poverty and ethnic-based prejudice.

Paper long abstract:

The European border regime has a negative impact on refugees' lives, but it does not necessarily force refugees into living in perpetual limbo. Refugees undertake various life projects to build their future despite the precariousness. They counter conditions of uncertainty and insecurity with their proactive existence. Actual migration control practices vary from region to region, and these practices affect different migrants who find themselves in various predicaments. The question arises: how does the political and socioeconomic setting shape migrants' making of a life? Under what circumstances do migrants develop a strong sense of shared identity as a part of their everyday resistance? Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork among Chechen migrants in Eastern Poland, this paper explores how refugee survivors of the violence that erupted in the North Caucasus after the dissolution of the USSR strive for living in the present while being subject to migration control policies and technologies at the new eastern border of the European Union. I discuss how Chechens deal with traumatic loss and transcend precarious conditions while being held in peripheral localities with high levels of poverty and ethnic-based prejudice.

Panel P156
Encountering refugees beyond urban Europe: everyday interactions, pragmatics and outcomes