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Accepted Paper:

Gambian migrants in Italy: building new forms of solidarity in the interstices of the humanitarian/securitarian nexus.  

Author:

Viola Castellano (Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses how Gambian migrants in Italy use their experience in the Italian asylum system and the potential for inclusion over belonging generated by its contradictions to re-appropriate the border regime's subjectification, build support networks and pursue their migratory projects.

Paper long abstract:

This paper discusses how Gambian migrants in Italy resist and try to appropriate the policies, technologies, and devices of subjectification of the border regime to pursue their migratory projects. The paper focus in particular on how they use their experience in the Italian asylum system and the grey areas, bureaucratic blind spots, and potential for inclusion over belonging generated by its contradictions. Because of the lack of a pre-existing Gambian diasporic network and the historical conjuncture which co-produced their arrival, the so-called refugee crisis, the asylum system entirely mediated Gambian presence in Italy. The administrative and juridical system largely rejected their request for asylum, leaving them undocumented or in legal limbos. Despite this and the fact that they endure multiple forms of marginalization and racialization in the wake of the growing erosion of asylum rights and the rise of anti-migrant attitudes, many of them found a way to survive, to work, and adapt to life in Italy thanks to the network they developed during their prolonged stay in the asylum system. These networks include compatriots, migrants of other nationalities, and the people who were formerly their “caretakers”: social workers. The paper discusses how Gambian migrants resist and circumnavigate social exclusion and invisibilization by staying in the territory where they were originally placed by the asylum system and by capitalizing on the support network they were able to build. The paper aims to acknowledge and reflect on these forms of solidarity born in the interstices of the humanitarian/securitarian nexus.

Panel Mob02a
Making mobility rules. [SIEF Working Group on Migration and Mobility]