"Ni Es Lo Mismo, Ni Es Igual". Ecuadorian Irregular Migrants in Amsterdam and Madrid.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:36
Location: Hörsaal 07 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Gabriel ECHEVERRIA CUBELLO, Università degli Studi di Trento, Italy
A great number of different theories have been proposed to explain the causes of irregular migration. Broadly speaking, two opposite arguments have been proposed. On the one hand, the idea of a “decadent state”, which, overwhelmed by the forces of globalization, would not be able to control migration fluxes anymore. On the other hand, the idea of an “almighty state”, which, in order to fulfil its own or other social interests, would “produce” or  “favour” the existence of irregularity. While certainly illuminating of important aspects, all these theories appear to be affected by three important limitations: they offer mono-causal explanations; tend to overstate the role of the state; are unable to explain the emergence of irregular migration within very different contexts. These theoretical limitations can be linked to the general lack of comparative empirical research on irregular migration.

The proposed paper will present the results of one of the first attempts to comparatively study irregular migration within two different contexts. The study, combining multisited ethnography and case study methodologies, compared the trajectories and lived experiences of Ecuadorian irregular migrants in the cities of Amsterdam and Madrid. The aim was to discover which kind of “irregular migration realities” are conformed within different societies and how. Three aspects will be discussed: the legal trajectories of migrants and experience of controls; the labour trajectories; the access to crucial necessities such as housing and healthcare. On the basis of such analysis, which clearly shows the existence of very different irregular migration realities, it will be advanced a proposal for a systemic, differential understanding of irregular migration, which is able to put in relation such realities with the structural characteristics of each context.