CORRUPTING BORDERS: Navigating ‘illegality’ and ‘deportability’ in Malaysia and Greece
IMES Seminar by Anja Karlsson Franck (University of Gothenburg, School of Global Studies)
This research departs from two simple assumptions. The first, that people – no matter their social or legal predicament – will develop strategies aimed at increasing their room to maneuver. The second, that these strategies – when examined collectively – will have political consequences.
Drawing upon fieldwork conducted in Malaysia and Greece, this research project directs attention towards the various in/formal ways that migrants and refugees navigate securitized border regimes. In the Malaysian case, the study looks at how corruption, and particularly the practice of bribery, is used to avoid arrests in the context of urban immigration policing. In the Greek case, focus is placed on how refugees arriving to the Island of Lesvos use/claim administrative deportation orders as travel documents in order to counter involuntary immobility and secure onward journey towards northern Europe.
Departing from these two cases, the research shows how corrupt and informal arrangements are not only important means by which migrants are able to secure entry, transit and stay in foreign territories, but also how these arrangements cofound and destabilize borders: influencing states’ ability to produce migrants as illegal and deportable subjects as well as the very logic, performance and efficiency of border enforcement regimes.
In approaching migrants’ decisions, actions and non-compliance as performative of contemporary border regimes the study, as prompted by amongst others Collyer (2016), thus brings together an empirical examination of migrants’ everyday strategies and agency with theoretically and critically propelled scholarly work of borders and/as bordering practices.
About Anja K. Fauck
Anja Franck works at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg. Her main research interests relate to gender, labor and migration - with a particular interest in how people maneuver and navigate both social and geographical borders. Her current research focuses on migration to and through Greece and Malaysia - directing particular attention towards Lesvos (in Greece) and Penang (in Malaysia).
Through a project funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (http://anslag.rj.se/en/fund/48453) she takes an interest in the relationship between international migration, securitization and corruption - placing explicit emphasis upon experiences of informality and petty/everyday corruption in relation to border control practices and detention in Malaysia and Greece.
Together with Gunilla Blomqvist at the School of Global Studies she is also working on a project on masculinities in the Gothenburg trade union movement - with a particular emphasis upon the port of Gothenburg. The project is financed by Anna Ahrenbergs fond.
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