Resisting the camp
Migrants’ squats as antithetical spaces in Athens’s City Plaza
in Sanctuary cities and urban struggles
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This chapter critically addresses the temporary reception of refugees and asylum seekers in Europe, by focusing on the everyday forms and practices of resistance that migrants put in place, primarily to counter the 'illegalising' policies of EU states. Conceptually, the chapter connects critical citizenship studies with autonomy of migration debates, to discuss the immobility – or the 'temporality of waiting' – of the prolonged moment during which migrants are stuck in the net of EU migration policies. The chapter focuses on a specific form of refugee response initiative – a self-reception system in the form of the City Plaza in Athens (Greece), a disused hotel that has been squatted by migrant activists and refugees to produce a space of accommodation and social support. The chapter argues that through City Plaza, we witness practices of 'autonomous geographies' that constitute forms of self-provided 'alternative' welfare, capable of extending and renegotiating the status of citizenship and enacting diverse forms of solidarity. In addition, they provide a discursive space of political legitimation, while acknowledging alternative and non-state forms of 'citizenship in motion'. The chapter is based on six months’ fieldwork in Athens, living and working at City Plaza as a refugee accommodation and solidarity space.

Sanctuary cities and urban struggles

Rescaling migration, citizenship, and rights

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