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P171
Disappearances at the margins of the state: migration, intimacy and politics
Convenors:
Ville Laakkonen (Tampere University)
Gerhild Perl (University of Bern)
Saila Kivilahti (Tampere University)
Discussant:
Laura Huttunen (University of Tampere)
Format:
Panels
Time zone:
UTC+1
Sessions:
Friday 24 July, 8:30-10:15, 11:00-12:45

Short abstract:

This panel addresses different moments and modes of disappearances in the context of undocumented migration. We suggest that disappearances are a powerful lens to analyze policies and politics as well as intimate and cultural practices.

Long abstract:

Since the end of the Cold War and the ensuing enlargement of the Schengen Area, people have been disappearing at Europe's southern fringes. Current EU border policies, including visa regimes, surveillance and the regulation of movement, have made the crossing to Europe a dangerous undertaking for some. With the gradual expansion of border control, the Mediterranean Sea has become the 'world's deadliest border' (Albahari 2015). However, the Mediterranean is not the only site of death and disappearance. Around the world, walls are being built, fences erected, military technologies used to prevent people from the global south entering the global north. At every stage of the journey, migrants are dealing with violent restrictions to their everyday lives. States intrude migrants' lifeworlds intimately, causing marginalisation and disappearances, via e.g. illegalization, detention and removal. Against this backdrop, our panel explores how trans/national states and disappearances are intimately intertwined by discussing manifold disappearances such as death, detainment, deportation, displacement, abuse and killing in migrants' countries of origin, transit and destination. We invite papers that explore different cases of and approaches to disappearances within contemporary migration regimes. We are interested in the questions of how states and state actors respond to and conceptualize disappearances; if and how families of the disappeared search, take action and organize themselves; and what kind of politics disappearances engender. We seek to develop new conceptualisations of contemporary disappearances as a powerful lens to address key anthropological issues such as governance, violence, citizenship, kinship, death and burial, personhood and identity.