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This panel interrogates how migrants without settled legal status in the Global South and North use the law to demand political, economic, social and cultural rights. It brings together research on migrants' navigation of bureaucratic landscapes as well as ethnographic work on state bureaucracies.
This panel interrogates how migrants without settled legal status in the Global South and North use the courts and the law to demand political, economic, social and cultural rights. Papers will analyse the formation of individual and group migrant identities in response to the practices of state institutions, and state policies towards migrants' rights in conjunction with debates about the 'nation', citizenship, and integration. Migrants' experiences of law and state institutions are frequently defined by their residency statuses as they contend with immigration controls, curtailed access to health and welfare services, and deportation or policing. Moreover, migrants' statuses are subject to fluctuating state policies provoking group rights claims: Pakistan has decreased Afghan refugees rights since the Soviet invasion, migrant construction workers in some GCC states have been accorded more employment protections, the UK has detained or deported hundreds of people from the 'Windrush Generation'. On the micro-level, individual migrants may fight to remain on squatted land, to establish state acknowledgement of their family relationships, or access to state services. Contributors will bring together research in and beyond Europe on interactions of differently positioned migrants with law, state institutions, and their navigation of bureaucratic landscapes as well as ethnographic work on state bureaucracies dealing with migrants. Papers could discuss how migrants understand, experience, and relate to law and state institutions in different areas of their lives; how state bureaucracies and public institutions produce categories of deserving and undeserving migrants; and, migrants' agency in dealing with categorization by state actors.