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Law, race and empire
Author: Nadine El-Enany

(B)ordering Britain argues that Britain is the spoils of empire, its immigration law is colonial violence and irregular immigration is anti-colonial resistance. In announcing itself as post-colonial through immigration and nationality laws passed in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Britain cut itself off symbolically and physically from its colonies and the Commonwealth, taking with it what it had plundered. This imperial vanishing act cast Britain’s colonial history into the shadows. The British Empire, about which Britons know little, can be remembered fondly as a moment of past glory, as a gift once given to the world. Meanwhile immigration laws are justified on the basis that they keep the undeserving hordes out. In fact, immigration laws are acts of colonial seizure and violence. They obstruct the vast majority of racialised people from accessing wealth amassed in the course of colonial conquest. Regardless of what the law, media and political discourse dictate, people with personal, ancestral or geographical links to colonialism, or those existing under the weight of its legacy of race and racism, have every right to come to Britain and take back what is theirs.

Constructing a queer haven
Author: Thibaut Raboin

Discourses on LGBT asylum in the UK analyses fifteen years of debate, activism and media narrative and examines the way asylum is conceptualized at the crossroads of nationhood, post colonialism and sexual citizenship, reshaping in the process forms of sexual belongings to the nation.

Asylum has become a foremost site for the formulation and critique of LGBT human rights. This book intervenes in the ongoing discussion of homonationalism, sheds new light on the limitations of queer liberalism as a political strategy, and questions the prevailing modes of solidarity with queer migrants in the UK.

This book employs the methods of Discourse Analysis to study a large corpus encompassing media narratives, policy documents, debates with activists and NGOs, and also counter discourses emerging from art practice. The study of these discourses illuminates the construction of the social problem of LGBT asylum. Doing so, it shows how our understanding of asylum is firmly rooted in the individual stories of migration that are circulated in the media. The book also critiques the exclusionary management of cases by the state, especially in the way the state manufactures the authenticity of queer refugees. Finally, it investigates the affective economy of asylum, assessing critically the role of sympathy and challenging the happy goals of queer liberalism.

This book will be essential for researchers and students specializing in refugee studies and queer studies.

Stories from modern nomads

On the global stage the British diaspora, proportionate to its population, remains one of the largest. This book is the first social history to explore experiences of British emigrants from the peak years of the 1960s to the emigration resurgence of the turn of the twentieth century. It explores migrant experiences in Australia, Canada and New Zealand alongside other countries. The book charts the gradual reinvention of the 'British diaspora' from a postwar migration of austerity to a modern migration of prosperity. It is divided into two parts. First part presents a decade-by-decade chronology of changes in migration patterns and experience, progressing gradually from the postwar migration of austerity to a more discretionary mobility of affluence. It discusses 'pioneers of modern mobility'; the 1970s rise in non-white migration and the decline of British privilege in the old Commonwealth countries of white settlement; 'Thatcher's refugees' and cosmopolitanism and 'lifestyle' migration. Second part shifts from a chronological to a thematic focus, by drilling down into some of the more prominent themes encountered. It explores the interplay of patterns of change and continuity in the migrant careers of skilled workers, trade unionists, professionals and mobile academics. The push and pull of private life, migration to transform a way of life, and migrant and return experiences discussed highlight the underlying theme of continuity amidst change. The long process of change from the 1960s to patterns of discretionary, treechange and nomadic migration became more common practice from the end of the twentieth century.

Selection, containment and quarantine since 1800

The subject of this volume is situated at the point of intersection of the studies of medicalisation and border studies. The authors discuss borders as sites where human mobility has been and is being controlled by biomedical means, both historically and in the present. Three types of border control technologies for preventing the spread of disease are considered: quarantine, containment and the biomedical selection of migrants and refugees. These different types of border control technologies are not exclusive of one another, nor do they necessarily lead to total restrictions on movement. Instead of a simplifying logic of exclusion–inclusion, this volume turns the focus towards the multilayered entanglement of medical regimes in attempts at managing the porosity of the borders. State and institutional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic provide evidence for the topicality of such attempts. Using interdisciplinary approaches, the chapters scrutinise ways in which concerns and policies of disease prevention shift or multiply borders, as well as connecting or disconnecting places. The authors address several questions: to what degree has containment for medical reasons operated as a bordering process in different historical periods including the classical quarantine in the Mediterranean and south-eastern Europe, in the Nazi-era, and in postcolonial UK? Moreover, do understandings of disease and the policies for selecting migrants and refugees draw on both border regimes and humanitarianism, and what factors put limits on the technologies of selection?

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Movements of people, objects, and ideas in the southern Balkans
Author: Rozita Dimova

This book is a theoretical and ethnographic study of the shifting border between the Republic of North Macedonia and Greece. The central argument is that political borders between states not only restrict or regulate the movement of people and things but are also always porous and permeable, exceeding state governmentality. To support this argument the book draws on scholarship from geology that describes and classifies different kinds of rock porosity. Just as seemingly solid rock is often laden with pores that allow the passage of liquids and gases, so too are ostensibly impenetrable borders laden with forms and infrastructures of passage. This metaphor is theoretically powerful, as it facilitates the idea of border porosities through a varied set of case studies centered on the Greek–Macedonian border. The case studies include: the history of railways in the region, border-town beauty tourism, child refugees during the Greek Civil War, transnational mining corporations and environmental activism, and, finally, a massive, highly politicized urban renewal project. Using interdisciplinary frameworks combining anthropology, history, philosophy, and geology, the book analyzes permeations triggered by the border and its porous nature that underline the empirical, political, and philosophical processes with all their emancipatory or restrictive effects.

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Revolution and loss among Syrian labourers in Beirut

Rebel Populism describes the Syrian uprising and civil war through the eyes of Syrian migrant workers and refugees in Beirut. The book relies on many years of participant-observation in Lebanon, hundreds of semi-structured interviews, as well as life history collection, image and video cataloguing, and focus group analysis.

Based on this data, it describes, first, how the same socio-economic pressures that pushed the people to revolt against the Syrian government can be located in the transformation of labour migration to Lebanon from a once temporary means of accumulating future-directed savings to a faltering survivalist strategy unable to keep pace with a growing gap between wages and prices. Syrian workers expressed their bottom-up insurgent anti-regime politics through the circulating protest art, anti-regime video clips, and alternative news sources. However, as the uprising collapsed into today’s bloody proxy war, the book then moves to chart how the men began to instead seek to build lives for themselves in Lebanon despite intense social, economic, and legal uncertainty. "

Open Access (free)
Exiles in the British Isles 1940–44
Author: Nicholas Atkin

It is widely assumed that the French in the British Isles during the Second World War were fully fledged supporters of General de Gaulle, and that, across the channel at least, the French were a ‘nation of resisters’. This study reveals that most exiles were on British soil by chance rather than by design, and that many were not sure whether to stay. Overlooked by historians, who have concentrated on the ‘Free French’ of de Gaulle, these were the ‘Forgotten French’: refugees swept off the beaches of Dunkirk; servicemen held in camps after the Franco-German armistice; Vichy consular officials left to cater for their compatriots; and a sizeable colonist community based mainly in London. Drawing on little-known archival sources, this study examines the hopes and fears of those communities who were bitterly divided among themselves, some being attracted to Pétain as much as to de Gaulle.

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Revisioning the borders of community

Art and migration: revisioning the borders of community is a collective response to current and historic constructs of migration as disruptive of national heritage. This interplay of academic essays and art professionals’ interviews investigates how the visual arts – especially by or about migrants – create points of encounter between individuals, places, and objects. Migration has increasingly taken centre stage in contemporary art, as artists claim migration as a paradigm of artistic creation. The myriad trajectories of transnational artworks and artists’ careers outlined in the volume are reflected in the density and dynamism of fairs and biennales, itinerant museum exhibitions and shifting art centres. It analyses the vested political interests of migration terminology such as the synonymous use of ‘refugees’ and ‘asylum seekers’ or the politically constructed use of ‘diaspora’. Political and cultural narratives frame globalisation as a recent shift that reverses centuries of cultural homogeneity. Art historians and migration scholars are engaged in revisioning these narratives, with terms and methodologies shared by both fields. Both disciplines are elaborating an histoire croisée of the circulation of art that denounces the structural power of constructed borders and cultural gatekeeping, and this volume reappraises the historic formation of national identities and aesthetics heritage as constructed under transnational visual influences. This resonates with migrant artists’ own demands for self-determination in a display space that too often favours canonicity over hybridity. Centring migration – often silenced by normative archives or by nationalist attribution practices – is part of the workload of revisioning art history and decolonising museums.

Israelis memorialising the Palestinian Nakba
Author: Ronit Lentin

The 1948 war that led to the creation of the State of Israel also resulted in the destruction of Palestinian society, when some 80 per cent of the Palestinians who lived in the major part of Palestine upon which Israel was established became refugees. Israelis call the 1948 war their ‘War of Independence’ and the Palestinians their ‘Nakba’, or catastrophe. After many years of Nakba denial, land appropriation, political discrimination against the Palestinians within Israel and the denial of rights to Palestinian refugees, in recent years the Nakba is beginning to penetrate Israeli public discourse. This book explores the construction of collective memory in Israeli society, where the memory of the trauma of the Holocaust and of Israel's war dead competes with the memory claims of the dispossessed Palestinians. Taking an auto-ethnographic approach, it makes a contribution to social memory studies through a critical evaluation of the co-memoration of the Palestinian Nakba by Israeli Jews. Against a background of the Israeli resistance movement, the book's central argument is that co-memorating the Nakba by Israeli Jews is motivated by an unresolved melancholia about the disappearance of Palestine and the dispossession of the Palestinians, a melancholia which shifts mourning from the lost object to the grieving subject. The book theorises Nakba co-memory as a politics of resistance, counterpoising co-memorative practices by internally displaced Israeli Palestinians with Israeli Jewish discourses of the Palestinian right of return, and questions whether return narratives by Israeli Jews are ultimately about Israeli Jewish self-healing.

Power, mobility, and the state

How does migration feature in states’ diplomatic agendas across the Middle East? Until recently, popular wisdom often held that migration is an important socio-economic, rather than political, phenomenon. Migration diplomacy in the Middle East counters this expectation by providing the first systematic examination of the foreign policy importance of migrants, refugees, and diasporas in the Global South. Gerasimos Tsourapas examines how emigration-related processes become embedded in governmental practices of establishing and maintaining power; how states engage with migrant and diasporic communities residing in the West; how oil-rich Arab monarchies have extended their support for a number of sending states’ ruling regimes via cooperation on labour migration; and, finally, how labour and forced migrants may serve as instruments of political leverage. Drawing on multi-sited fieldwork and data collection and employing a range of case studies across the Middle East and North Africa, Tsourapas enhances existing understandings of regional migration governance in the Global South. The book identifies how the management of cross-border mobility in the Middle East is not primarily dictated by legal, moral, or human rights considerations but driven by states’ actors key concern – political power. Offering key insights into the history and current migration policy dilemmas, the book will provide both novices and specialists with fresh insights on migration into, out of, and across the modern Middle East.