How migratory routes shed light on geography of confinement

Abstract of the paper presented by Bénédicte Michalon at the Association of American Geographers Annual meeting as part of the Paper Session: Mobilities, Borders, and Confinement I: Confinement as Mobility (scheduled on Friday, 4/15/2011 at 10:00 AM. Washington State Convention Center Level 6, Seattle, Washington) :

How migratory routes shed light on geography of confinement

This proposal is a spatial reading of detention centres for foreigners awaiting deportation, confronted with the migratory routes of migrants. I assume that international migrations and the control policies dedicated to them produce fixity and confinement. I do not oppose mobility and control of mobility in a binary way, but shed light on the diversity of interactions that arise between them. The migratory routes appear to be more and more linked to confinement places for foreigners. These are not only milestones but places where the following steps of the trip can be planed. The second level of analysis is about temporality: the length of migration gets considerably longer because of the stays in detention places. The stops-off are not short cuts in the trip but can last months or years. There is a rhythmic inversion: the migrants spend less time moving than waiting to go on. The third level handles with the insertion of detention centres in a set of places of confinement. A lot of migrants go through other places of confinement, such as: hiding places of smugglers, prisons, military settlements. Migratory routes reveal geography of confinement.

Romania is an interesting place to observe how the globalisation of migration flows and the control of migration in the frame of the European enlargement meet and produce new dynamics and places of confinement. The empirical datas used were gathered in 2009 and 2010 in the two detention centres of Romania, as well as during interviews with migrants in detention or released.


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