Bordering solidarities: Migrant activism and the politics of movement and camps at Calais.

The proliferation of more restrictive border controls governing global mobility provides important sites of crystallization through which differentiated and stratified rights to movement are produced, negotiated, and reimagined. One such form, the detention of migrants, is often understood through a logic of exception as the exclusion of unwanted migrants from the borders of the political community. Critical scholarship on detention informed by an autonomous migration perspective suggests a more nuanced reading of detention as the differential inclusion of migrants through positions of precariousness, transformations of legal statuses and subjectivities, and control over the direction and temporality of migratory flows. Building on this trajectory, this paper argues that the very meaning of the camp also needs to be brought into the analysis of a politics of migration and of control. For spaces of detention are sites of contestation that can be used by migrants (and those in solidarity with them) as resources to navigate border controls, reimagine political community and subjectivities and through which migrants engage in practices of citizenship. Reflecting on the destruction of the migrant camps in and around Calais, the paper examines three different images of the camp space known as ‘the jungle’ and draws attention to camp spaces as social and political spaces, in which the struggles to define them are an integral part of what is at stake in the struggle between a politics of control and a politics of migration.

<< Back