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Accepted Paper:

The relocation of refugees in the EU as a form of governmental mobility  
Léa Lemaire

Paper short abstract:

Relocation aims to move refugees in the EU. It is a contemporary example of the circulation of bodies between state instantiations that has been little studied. The paper aims to fill this gap. It shows how the state governs refugees through relocation, understood as a form of governmental mobility.

Paper long abstract:

This paper focuses on the relocation of refugees in the European Union (EU). Relocation is a policy instrument which aims to select and transfer refugees within the EU. In 2015, it was adopted as a plan to solve the so-called migration crisis. It is a contemporary example of the circulation of bodies between state instantiations that has been at the heart of political debates on European migration policies. However, it has been little studied by academic research. This paper intends to fill this gap by focusing on the case of Malta, which was the first EU member state to experiment relocation as a sending country, between 2009 and 2011. Multi-sited fieldwork conducted between Malta and Brussels shows that a wide range of actors was involved in the relocation of refugees from Malta, such as state actors, employees of international organisations and European civil servants. Although refugees were portrayed by institutional actors as indefinitely immobilised populations on an island-border, which justified relocation, they were only temporarily contained and they were actually mobile. Indeed, most refugees managed to leave the island permanently by their own means, even if they were not entitled to do so. However, the expectation of relocation is not considered as a side-effect of EU migration policies but as an actual part of them. This research aims to show how refugees are governed through relocation, understood as a form of governmental mobility. This concept highlights that relocation prevents refugees from controlling their own migratory trajectory and thus contributes to the experience of self-deprivation.

Panel P161
Circulation and governance: state instantiations, movement and connectivity [AnthroState Network]
  Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -