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Migration Beyond the Legal Discourse. The Political Subjectivity of Migration and Assemblages of Mobility

The article deals with the restoration of the European border and migration regime on the Balkan Route after the refugee corridor was closed. The author argues that the criminalization of transit migration is to be understood in the context of the articulation of global hierarchies – as the repression of excessive and unauthorized mobility of subjugated populations and as the hierarchical inclusion of states along migration routes into imperial integrations. While highlighting the problem of state violence on people on the move, the article spotlights the inadequacy of critique that is based on the legal discourse and the human rights discourse. Such critique resuscitates sovereignty-based conceptualizations that eclipse migrant subjectivity. Illegal push-backs of asylum seekers are not an expression of the return of the nation state’s monopoly on human mobility, but points to its important role in the management of migrations that is characteristic for the border and migration regime. Critical border and migration studies use the notion of regime to highlight the heterogeneity of agents who create it and to illustrate the ways in which migration and mobility struggles are constitutive for the regime itself. The article advocates such an approach and uses theories of how the modern wage labor market was constituted upon limited mobility and escape options and how escape and mobility are constitutive for sovereignty. Such an understanding of the subjectivity of migration is proposed as the first strategy to understand migration beyond the discourse of sovereignty and human rights. The second strategy is to understand assemblages of mobility as sites of articulation of postcolonial critique on migrant routes and migration is therefore understood as the power to open and decolonize Europe.


Article inside journal

Issue No. 278 - Border Regimes
Časopis za kritiko znanosti
2019 , volume volume 47 , issue issue 278
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