Migration is a central phenomenon of the global age, which Western societies often treat as a temporary and emergency case that needs to be managed and controlled. This thesis explores the tension between the EU internal borders and the crossing-border mobilities of migrant subjects that attempt to build autonomous lives in Europe. Drawn on 20 months (October 2013 – August 2015) of fieldwork in Milan and Berlin using multi-sited ethnography, this work investigates the everyday experiences of a group of “temporary refugees” who have obtained a temporary humanitarian protection in Italy after escaping the Libya war in 2011. Because of unemployment and homelessness, a part of them undertook secondary movements towards northern European countries to find better life conditions, although they were not allowed under the European laws. Some of these temporary refugees joined the Oranienplatz protests in Berlin and claimed their rights to freely work and move through Europe. Here, I focus on the everyday life of my research protagonists in Milan and Berlin and the recurring cross-border movements back and forth between these places. The contradictory attempt of institutions and bureaucracies to control and host them in their ambivalent image as victim and internal enemy entails a lengthened temporariness and a hypermobility in the migrant subjects biographies. In my research Europe emerges as a space of negotiation practices where the internal border are constantly re-defined by the tensions and frictions of different actors. The permanent negotiation of the borders occurs in the battleground of the everyday lives and affects the biographies of the migrant subjects on the move. I find that the temporal rather than the spatial dimension is crucial in the understanding of migrant subjects experiences in the EU border regime. My research protagonists internalize the lengthened transit condition – which is juridical, spatio-temporal and existential – becoming thus subjectivities en transit. This suggests that migration should be understood as a process of becoming, where the interrelation of control mechanisms and autonomous social practices of migrant subjects challenges and re-defines the borders of Europe. I argue that subjectivities en transit emerge that criss-cross the European territory, attempting to autonomously build their lives moving between the social and juridical constrains. They open up interstices of autonomy, although the precariousness of their everyday shapes their lives as fragmented.

SUBJECTIVITIES EN TRANSIT. (IM)MOBILITIES OF ASYLUM SEEKERS ACROSS AND BEYOND THE EUROPEAN BORDERS / E. Fontanari ; supervisors: M. Ambrosini, R. Römhild ; coordinatore: L. Leonini. - : . DIPARTIMENTO DI SCIENZE SOCIALI E POLITICHE, 2016 Mar 22. ((28. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2015. [10.13130/fontanari-elena_phd2016-03-22].

SUBJECTIVITIES EN TRANSIT. (IM)MOBILITIES OF ASYLUM SEEKERS ACROSS AND BEYOND THE EUROPEAN BORDERS

E. Fontanari
2016

Abstract

Migration is a central phenomenon of the global age, which Western societies often treat as a temporary and emergency case that needs to be managed and controlled. This thesis explores the tension between the EU internal borders and the crossing-border mobilities of migrant subjects that attempt to build autonomous lives in Europe. Drawn on 20 months (October 2013 – August 2015) of fieldwork in Milan and Berlin using multi-sited ethnography, this work investigates the everyday experiences of a group of “temporary refugees” who have obtained a temporary humanitarian protection in Italy after escaping the Libya war in 2011. Because of unemployment and homelessness, a part of them undertook secondary movements towards northern European countries to find better life conditions, although they were not allowed under the European laws. Some of these temporary refugees joined the Oranienplatz protests in Berlin and claimed their rights to freely work and move through Europe. Here, I focus on the everyday life of my research protagonists in Milan and Berlin and the recurring cross-border movements back and forth between these places. The contradictory attempt of institutions and bureaucracies to control and host them in their ambivalent image as victim and internal enemy entails a lengthened temporariness and a hypermobility in the migrant subjects biographies. In my research Europe emerges as a space of negotiation practices where the internal border are constantly re-defined by the tensions and frictions of different actors. The permanent negotiation of the borders occurs in the battleground of the everyday lives and affects the biographies of the migrant subjects on the move. I find that the temporal rather than the spatial dimension is crucial in the understanding of migrant subjects experiences in the EU border regime. My research protagonists internalize the lengthened transit condition – which is juridical, spatio-temporal and existential – becoming thus subjectivities en transit. This suggests that migration should be understood as a process of becoming, where the interrelation of control mechanisms and autonomous social practices of migrant subjects challenges and re-defines the borders of Europe. I argue that subjectivities en transit emerge that criss-cross the European territory, attempting to autonomously build their lives moving between the social and juridical constrains. They open up interstices of autonomy, although the precariousness of their everyday shapes their lives as fragmented.
AMBROSINI, MAURIZIO
LEONINI, LUISA MARIA
AMBROSINI, MAURIZIO
Migration; Borders; Mobility; Refugees; Subjectivity; Europe;
Settore SPS/07 - Sociologia Generale
SUBJECTIVITIES EN TRANSIT. (IM)MOBILITIES OF ASYLUM SEEKERS ACROSS AND BEYOND THE EUROPEAN BORDERS / E. Fontanari ; supervisors: M. Ambrosini, R. Römhild ; coordinatore: L. Leonini. - : . DIPARTIMENTO DI SCIENZE SOCIALI E POLITICHE, 2016 Mar 22. ((28. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2015. [10.13130/fontanari-elena_phd2016-03-22].
Doctoral Thesis
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/365613
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