EASA2018: Staying, Moving, Settling
- Sarah Green (University of Helsinki) email
- Martin Fotta (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main) email
- Ayse Caglar (University of Vienna) email
- Miguel Vale de Almeida (ISCTE, Lisbon) email
Questions about the impact of an unprecedented increase in the flow of goods, capital and people for social relations, borders, formation of subjectivities, as well their governance and regulation, have come to the fore in recent years within anthropology, as in several other disciplines. On the one hand, the concept of “mobility” acquired prominence as an analytical concept to address and capture the workings of these flows, while on the other hand the concept simultaneously provided fertile ground for critical engagement, both in terms of its use in anthropology, and in terms of its place within regimes of governance, in the imaginaries of nation-states, and in regulatory schemes across multiple scales. Depending on their positionality, anthropologists explored the questions of what kinds of mobilities acquire value, when, for whom, and within what kind of power relations from within different terrains of conceptual, academic and political legacies. How does the discipline of anthropology broaden and shift the research agenda in this field? In what way does it displace prevailing conceptualizations and in what way does its practice enact a specific vision of the world? This plenary drawn upon the prominent but also the critical and variegated scholarship not only on the “staying, moving, settling” of people, but also of capital, information, and organizations in different parts of the world as an entry point to scrutinize anthropological knowledge production, its entanglements with histories and power structures. The plenary aims to focus on the anthropological narratives entangled with the enactment and the governance of mobility of people, goods, information and capital, and the borderings and essentialisations that accompany them, to reflect critically on the location of anthropological knowledge.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
A global perspective on displacements, dispossessions and violence
In this paper, I argue for a global perspective on migration and displacements in the current global conjuncture of capital accumulation, whether considering transnational migration, political and environmental refugee seekers; human trafficking; the removal of populations or territories due to real estate interests; or assassinations and militarization in urban peripheries. As multicultural ideologies, a "human rights" rhetoric and humanitarianism prevail, there has been the creation of technocratic government policies of securitization, criminalization and dehumanization of poverty. While Sassen´s notion of “expulsions” and Harvey´s “accumulation by dispossession” concept are valuable tools for the understanding of the movements of capital, the displacement paradigm aims at uncovering the interstices of domination and power, and the production of inequalities inherent to the restructuring of global political economy. The idea is to investigate how mobilities and imobilities of many types are related to the production of domination, dispossession and violence in everyday life, as well as the subjectivities and social mobilizations of different protagonists against these types of violence and domination.
Human mobility in times of crisis
The relationship between conflict, inequality and human mobility is complex and complicated by the fact that neither is a monolithic phenomenon. Armed conflicts, whether within or between states, produce migration, as well as containment and involuntary immobility (Lubkeman 2008). Post-war political economies produce sustained pressures to migrate that often divide families between different countries and produce the physical absences of relatives that again may invoke memories of wartime losses. Apart from being a mere economic option, international mobility may become the ‘social project of a post-war generation’, a project that in times of enhanced border control may demand ‘as much ingenuity as joining a revolutionary movement must have required’ in earlier generations (McAllister and Nelson 2013: 33). How far those mobilized by war or dispossession become internally displaced, involuntarily immobile, lost en route, or make it to foreign destinations from where they eventually may return (or be returned), generally depends as much on global migration regimes as on the so-called ‘root causes’ of these phenomena. The construction of particular mobility narratives as ‘crisis’ and the crises provoked in families and communities by particular mobility regimes provides fertile ground for critical reflection of the location of anthropological knowledge.
The mobile colour of labour: plantations and other unequal settlements
I will discuss the theoretical, methodological, empirical and public challenges of a project that addresses the social production of racialized categories for workers that move across geopolitical units, past and present.
I will discuss the multiple challenges of an anthropology research project involving different space and time zones and cross-disciplinary perspectives around a common question: how race and racialized categories are produced in contexts of migrant, mobile, forced and other modes of "imported" labour. Inspired by plantation literature and by the racialization of cross-oceanic enslaved and indentured labourers, the project addresses case studies of contract labour in 19th century sugar plantations in colonial British Guiana and Hawaii, industrial New England work hierarchies and racializations, the mobility of labour and technology in the cocoa and coffee economies of colonial São Tomé, the political re-routing of Portuguese migrant islanders into colonial settlements, contemporary mobile labour in southern Italian agro-industries, domestic work in Mauritius and France, and the uses of plantation references in contemporary economies and cultural productions.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.