Transitory Spaces and Insurgent Citizenship Practices: Refugee and Migrant Activists as Humanitarian and Political Actors

Panel details

Panel organiser(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online
Number of paper presentations 5


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Convenors: Katarzyna Grabska (ISS) and Tanja R. Müller (University of Manchester)

The contemporary world is characterised by an unprecedented degree of mobility, be it in the form of expulsions, labour migration or, as in most cases, a combination of agency and forced displacement dynamics. This makes refugees and migrants important population groups in various ways: as citizens of geographical spaces where they have few or no formal citizenship rights, nor access to humanitarian assistance; as political actors in homeland or host-land politics; and as groups and individuals who lay claims to universal rights - as such contesting the absence of universal rights in actual political space through active resistance.
One way these engagements of refugees and migrants can be interrogated is through the concept of insurgent citizenship practices – concrete actions by those without formal citizenship rights to claim and live active citizenship in their current places of residence but also transnationally by connecting to several locations and claiming their rights across and within these locations. This panel interrogates these dynamics in relation to transitory spaces and places – geographical locations were refugees and migrants find themselves as part of a migratory trajectory in a longer search towards an imagined destination (either return ‘home’ or in a search for a new ‘home’).
The panel will bring together papers that investigate such insurgent citizenship practices in places of transit that may or may not lead to permanent settlement. We ask in what ways active contestation and resistance by migrants and refugees make them important humanitarian actors in a broader sense? How and whether do they assume - through their networks - important roles that fill a void left by a humanitarian system whose instruments have failed to address complex global mobilities? What are the gendered and generational dynamics of such engagements? The panel aims to look at those dynamics from a wider historical and comparative perspective. We invite contributions that focus on past and present patterns of mobility and citizenship practices in a broad sense in transitory spaces.

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