Journal article

Lost in Transition to Adulthood? Illegalized Male Migrants Navigating Temporal Dispossession


  • 01.07.2021
Published in:
  • Social Sciences. - MDPI AG. - 2021, vol. 10, no. 7, p. 250
English The so-called ‘refugee crisis’ has been portrayed as an invasion that threatens Europe and calls its sovereignty into question, prompting exceptional emergency responses. These (re)bordering processes highlight Europe’s uneven, discriminatory, and racialized filtering system. European nation-states sort desired and undesired migrants through sets of precarious administrative statuses that translate into limited access to resources, most notably the formal labor market. European border regimes impose specific spatialities and temporalities on migrants through long-term physical and social deceleration: territorial assignation, enduring unemployment, forced idleness, and protracted periods of waiting. These temporal ruptures interrupt individual biographies and hinder the hopes of a young population seeking a better future. However, some find ways to navigate the socio- spatial deceleration they face. In this paper, I explore how European border regimes affect the trajectory of Sub-Saharan male migrants and how they appropriate such temporal dispossession. I use biographical analysis and participant observations of a squatting organization in a Swiss city to scrutinize the everyday practices and aspirations of a population made illegal and, as a result, denied access to social markers of maturity. I investigate how time intersects with physical, social, and existential im/mobility. I argue that, in navigating spaces of asymmetrical power relationships, impoverished migrants find autonomy in illegality. Neither victimizing nor romanticizing illegalized migrants’ trajectories, this paper offers an ethnographic analysis of the capacities of an impoverished population to challenge European border regimes.
Faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines
Département des sciences sociales
  • English
Social sciences
Open access status
Persistent URL

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