Accepted Paper:

Frontier between different practices in the Portuguese-Spanish borderland (1957-1974)  


João Baía (University of Lisbon / Institute of Contemporary History, Nova, Lisbon)

Paper short abstract:

The aim of this communication is to discuss the boundary between the different border practices, in particular - smuggling, illegal immigration and border control. We found some ambiguities in the art of governing and in the art of not being governed of people living in border zones.

Paper long abstract:

The ambiguous practices of state agents were related to the ambiguity of the Government's position on the border, in the control of illegal immigration as it happens with activities like smuggling, facilitating certain types of goods flows and people but hindering other types. Some testimonies indicate situations which require a reconfiguration of practices such as the smuggler who had to emigrate to escape authorities or the former irregular emigrant who come on vacation, already legalized that smuggled someone on their return trip to France. Many of migrants had been smugglers before their departure.

Studies on the borders must take into account various scales of analysis - the locality, the village, the boundary line, the border zone, the city, the neighborhood, subnational and supranational spaces. All these scales of space greatly affect people's daily lives. Analyzing one of these scales without taking into account others give us a partial view of a certain social reality. Social networks and flows are crucial to understand the borders zones. However, it is difficult to draw a clear boundary between border practices on irregular emigration, because these roles and activities mixed up often.

Panel Mig006
Border control policies and borderland social practices