Marta Stojic Mitrovic (The Institute of Ethography of theSerbian Academy of Sciences and Arts)
Paper short abstract:
The mechanisms of control of migratory flows are present throughout Serbian territory. One of these – the illegalization and its consequences – will be discussed through the case of a youth hostel in Belgrade, where the state borders are being reproduced and illegalization “contagiously” spread.
Paper long abstract:
Serbia lies on one of the most important land routes for migrants seeking to reach the EU. More than 37,000 people struggled through this route in 2014, according to data from Frontex reports. The mechanisms of control of migratory flows are not only present at the Schengen border with Hungary, or the EU border with Croatia, but throughout Serbian territory. One of such mechanisms involves the classification of migrants into those who arrive and reside "legally" and those who do not - and are therefore rendered "illegal". In the present paper we will discuss this process of illegalization, by examining its consequences and its influences on the people involved in migration processes in Serbia. We focus on the case of a youth hostel in Belgrade, where the state borders are being reproduced and illegalization "contagiously" spread. The demand for the accommodation in the hostel is high due to its location near the police station, where it is possible - in theory and not always in practice - for people to legalize their status temporarily. The need for accommodation exists independently of one's legal status, but the business of the youth hostel - and its legality/illegality - is dependent on the decisions made at the police station. Thus the hostel is not just a neutral space where tired bodies can find some rest, but it is also the polygon for mechanisms of state control and their conflict with the interests of local entrepreneurship.
Pursuing utopias/challenging realities: producing and resisting borders in and out of Europe