Sociology

Striving for a regularised status in post-2015 Finland
Minna Seikkula

This chapter explores knowledge practices and possibilities for disobedient knowledge in the context of administrative border struggles, i.e. actions that negotiate and/or challenge administrative borders. These might include, but are not limited to, efforts to make one’s asylum claim heard, or justifying another legal status and arranging one’s presence without a regularised status. Administrative border struggles often require detailed knowledge of legal norms and their requirements, and the questions that the chapter explores are what does epistemic acceptance of state/borders mean, and what would disobedient knowledge that does not give in to the rational-legal authority of administrative borders mean. Empirically, it draws on empirical research with people who, after a negative asylum decision, seek to regularise their status in Finland. The chapter argues that disobedient knowledge requires acknowledging multiple truth regimes and recognising manifold knowledge.

in Race, bordering and disobedient knowledge
‘It just doesn’t mean anything to me’
Nicholas Apoifis

Greece's fertile anarchist and anti-authoritarian history shares constant contention and metamorphosis in its own evolution, albeit while spurning the clamour for state power. Greece's anarchism has shifted between currents since surfacing as a social movement in the 1860s. This chapter focuses on the period between the 1860s and World War II, which was dominated by social anarchist currents including anarcho-collectivism, anarcho-communism and anarcho-syndicalism. It relies on the works of ethnohistorians to empower the voices of the author's interviewees. The author begins the chapter with some background on Greece's transition into statehood. This is followed by a history of early Greek anarchism that is largely informed by Tina, Yianni and Vasili, the author's three respondents with extensive knowledge of this period, and is primarily supported with clarifying evidence from Paul Pomonis' The Early Days of Greek Anarchism.

in Anarchy in Athens
Towards a history of disobedience and resistance in backlight
Gabriele Proglio

The chapter aims to combine together three different aspects concerning and related to migrations to Italy/Europe: land-grabbing in the main countries of migration to Italy/Europe (Romania, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt); border regimes in two different Mediterranean areas, namely Ventimiglia (Italy) and Bihać-Velika Kladuša (Bosnia); and labour of migrant people in Italian agriculture. The three phenomena are analysed and interpreted through the theoretical and methodological framework of the Black Mediterranean. The chapter offers reflections in order to problematise the role of archives, intellectuals and institutions in imposing a hegemonic narrative on migration. At the same, its aim is to focus on various forms of resistance and disobedience in the three contexts taken into account. To reach this goal it introduces the 'backlight approach', namely a way to problematise stories outside history; traces that cannot claim the right to be historical sources; and forms of invisibility and the hypervisualisation of Black racialised bodies.

in Race, bordering and disobedient knowledge
Abstract only
Nicholas Apoifis

Greece is in the midst of a profound economic, social and political crisis. Hardly Greece's issue alone, it is a crisis shaped by a prevailing neo-liberal economic doctrine in Europe and elsewhere. From a parliamentary perspective, the January 2015 election of the left-wing SYRIZA marked a paradigm shift in Greek politics. Racist attitudes and actions had credence now that they were represented so openly in the Hellenic Parliament. The politics of anarchism and anti-authoritarianism is as concerned with producing such autonomous spaces as it is about individual and group behaviour. This has given rise to theoretical discussions that give similar importance to different ideas around autonomous spaces. In addition to confrontations with the state over the control of space, anarchism is also about the rational planning of spaces 'based around the possibilities of cooperative and communal ways of life'.

in Anarchy in Athens
Abstract only
Nicholas Apoifis

This book is centrally concerned with anti-authoritarian movement and its contemporary form, dynamics and internal constitution. When the Athenian anarchist and anti-authoritarian movement confronts neoliberalism, fascism, hierarchical rule and the state's police in public protests and demonstrations, difference and conflict within the movement gives way to group cohesion and solidarity. In this context, the book is concerned with examining the forces that give the Athenian anarchist and anti-authoritarian movement its specific shape. The primary aim of this book is to illuminate the complexities of the Athenian anarchist and anti-authoritarian milieu. In the course of the chapters, the author argues that varying shades of anarchic tendencies, and ensuing ideological and practical disagreements, are overcome for the most part in (often violent) street-protests.

in Anarchy in Athens
Abstract only
Race, (b)ordering and disobedient knowledge
Suvi Keskinen
,
Aminkeng Atabong Alemanji
, and
Minna Seikkula

In research, we witness a growing interest in perspectives that combine the analysis of race and racism with critical migration studies. While antiracism and migrant (solidarity) activism share many similar goals, these struggles are not always studied together and they are often approached through different theoretical traditions. We build on and elaborate the research tradition that addresses the race–migration nexus, i.e. the co-construction of migration and processes of racialisation in historically and geographically context-specific ways, by combining it with a third axis – political economy. Combining decolonial and race-critical perspectives with critical border studies, the chapter outlines its two main approaches to the study of activism and everyday struggles – the analysis of (b)ordering processes, which articulates the relations between border regimes and global racial hierarchies, and the analysis of disobedient knowledge, which underlines the transformative epistemological and community building practices of such struggles. The chapter discusses resistance by groups that have no other options – for whom questioning border regimes and racialised hierarchies is part of everyday survival – and activism that involves the choice to fight for social justice and global change, when adopting a position of solidarity towards groups targeted by racism and border regimes. With the elaboration of the theoretical framing and outlining its empirical uses, further developed in the rest of the book, the chapter seeks to contribute to an understanding of the varying, but interconnected, conditions of antiracist and border struggles in different parts of Europe.

in Race, bordering and disobedient knowledge
Narrating Nordic histories in postethnic activism and art
Suvi Keskinen

This chapter examines how activists and artists racialised as non-white or ‘others’ narrate marginalised histories of colonialism and racism and, by doing so, create understandings of Nordic societies that challenge prevalent ideologies of colour-blindness and national self-images as champions of human rights. The chapter analyses actions through which activists and artists call for epistemological justice and create disobedient knowledge. It argues that histories of overseas colonisation and slavery are central to the disobedient knowledge created in activism in the Nordic region, as in other parts of Europe, but that such narratives are also placed in dialogue with histories of colonisation of Indigenous lands within the Nordic region and commemoration of more recent events of racist violence. The chapter shows how the activists combine academic research, collective memory and art to create disobedient knowledge that challenges the silencing of past and present racism. Addressing responsibility over the effects of slavery and colonialism on current European societies, their organisation of welfare and the groups given the potential to enjoy its benefits can open up new discussions of social justice and inclusion. The analysis is based on extensive fieldwork; interviews with activists; and media material collected in Denmark, Sweden and Finland between 2015 and 2019.

in Race, bordering and disobedient knowledge
Nicholas Apoifis

This chapter discusses the benefits of using militant ethnographic methods to capture the stories, experiences and emotions of the participants in these collective actions. Jeffrey Juris's (2007) concept of militant ethnography is a combination of politically engaged participant observation and ethnography, premised on intense reflexive collaboration between ethnographers and activists, in which researchers assume the role of active political practitioners. Importantly, it aims to produce politically applicable knowledge from within movements. The author disseminated fieldwork insights in numerous anti-fascist, anarchist and anti-authoritarian forums in Australia. The chapter details some of the strengths, functional issues and nuances associated with the author's preferred qualitative research approach. Finally, the chapter looks at some of the consequences of militant ethnography and researching militants, including issues of ethics, illegalities, anonymities and violence. In a research furnace fraught with tensions and complexities, a militant ethnography facilitated the author's fieldwork.

in Anarchy in Athens
Activism and everyday struggles in Europe

Race, bordering and disobedient knowledge studies how different kinds of (b)orders are negotiated and challenged in antiracism and activism by people categorised as migrants and their supporters. Building on decolonial and race-critical perspectives and critical border studies, the chapters in the book analyse the specificities of bordering and hierarchical ordering in different parts of Europe, notably its outskirts to the south, north and west. Furthermore, the chapters reveal how disobedient knowledge counteracts the structuring processes of bordering and ordering. The anthology develops the concept of disobedient knowledge to address knowledges created in encounters of differently positioned activists and practices applied in research engagement. Through this conceptual frame, the chapters examine resistance and disobedience in relation to borders, racialised social orders, conventional practices and hegemonic discourses. In particular, this makes visible the resistance of groups that have no other options – for whom questioning border regimes and racialised hierarchies is part of everyday survival. The book also investigates activism that involves the choice to fight for social justice and global change, when adopting a position of solidarity towards groups targeted by racism and border regimes. With a focus on activist challenges to the prevailing perceptions of European ‘racelessnes’, epistemologies of resistance, disobedient practices and ways of building shared struggles, the book provides invaluable knowledge about European societies, their border zones and relations to other parts of the world. The book is essential reading for scholars and students in sociology, ethnic and racial studies, anthropology, political science, gender studies, and cultural studies.

Unearthing the troubled relationship between refugee support, antiracism and international solidarity
Fiorenza Picozza

This chapter is about media and social representations of asylum as a geopolitical and ideological tool which redraws, expands or shrinks the boundaries of whiteness. In particular, the chapter dwells on the uses of ‘solidarity spectacles’ as racial spectacles which reproduce whiteness as a community of humanitarian values. Departing from the media portrayals of the current Ukrainian crisis, and putting it in dialogue with other refugee crises, particularly that of Syria in 2015, the chapter attempts to unearth the history of refugee (de)valorisation in the last decade in the context of Europe. By linking the global workings of racial capitalism to state and societal processes of European integration, the text sheds light on the production of different degrees and approximations to, or expulsion from, whiteness. It does so by paying attention to the tensions between corporeality and other markers: in particular, the idea of (un)freedom attached to race through the liberal/colonial tradition and through the contemporary asylum/migration divide.

in Race, bordering and disobedient knowledge