Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.

Accepted Paper:

From smuggler to realtor: simsars as (im)moral agents in Syrian migrants' lives  
Hilal Alkan (Leibniz Zentrum Moderner Orient)

Paper short abstract:

This paper presents the findings of a research on the settlement experiences of Syrians in Turkey and Germany. Within a moral economy perspective functions of the people who are identified as simsars (brokers) are analyzed with particular reference to the role they play in migrants' mobilities.

Paper long abstract:

This paper is about the usages of the word simsar as a category that does not recognize a difference between formality and informality or legality and illegality, and the functions of simsars in the lives of Syrian migrants on the way from Syria to Germany. During my ethnographic research with Syrian migrants on their settlement experiences in Turkey and Germany, simsar (the Arabic word for broker or middleman) appears often with reference to almost every facet of life. Simsars are smugglers, who walked the border with them from Syria to Turkey. They are the commissioners who found them informal jobs in Istanbul sweat-shops. Simsars are also human traffickers who arranged them the inflatable boats to cross the Aegean. Finally, they are the realtors who fixed rental contracts for a few thousand Euros in Berlin's increasingly tight housing market. Hence simsars are facilitators of movement—between borders, within the cities (from camps to flats) and on the social ladder. Their services are vital for migrants and refugees, while they are deeply detested.

Migrants situate these services within the language of a moral economy with an indifference to the informality and sometimes illegality of these positions. Within this moral economy there are workings of kinship, ethnic ties, migrant networks and religion; and value is determined within a matrix of the resources already available to the migrants and the promise of mobility—i.e. how high and how far.

Panel Mig03
Transnationalism, (im)mobilities and informal practices in Europe, and beyond [SIEF Working Group on Migration and Mobility]
  Session 1 Tuesday 16 April, 2019, -