Contested Controll: Irregular Transit Migrants in Europe

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 11:30 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Anna WYSS , University of Bern, Switzerland
This presentation is about young migrants’ journeys with low chances of receiving asylum or any other type of residence in Europe. These migrants exhibit a highly complex migration pattern. First, these migrants are frequently in durable “transit” across Europe, moving back and forth between different states. Second, transit migrants must exhibit a high degree of flexibility, as they have to respond to suddenly changing conditions, such as work opportunities, rejection of asylum claims, detention or deportation. Third, transit migrants often switch between different legal statuses, such as asylum seeker, rejected asylum seeker, illegal worker or detainee. This throws them into a general state of uncertainty and psychological distress. The experience of these young adults shows a deep ambivalence between a sense of autonomy, on the one hand, and of profound hope- and powerlessness, on the other. This presentation explores the “fragmented journeys” of these migrants, by way of a multi-sited ethnographic approach and biographical interviews. It focuses on the lived experiences and the strategies of irregular migrants to find a way to reside in Europe in the context of an increasingly restrictive migration management.