Post-Calais As Translation of Institutional Violence: Assessing the Mechanisms of Reception and Relocation of Migrants from Calais

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 14:45
Oral Presentation
Paula Cristina SAMPAIO, University of Minho, Portugal
Isabel CARVALHAIS, University of Minho, Portugal
The national policies in regard to the management of migration within the EU context, often reveal the State as repressive and selective, as much as absent. Omission as an option is itself a form of Institutional Violence, one that, in result of its diffuse nature which involves the actions of institutions and agents at the service of the State, is not always perceptible to those who "construct" it, but also to those who “resist” to it.
Calais represents a strong case of Institutional Violence, as much for the absence of a full response to the problem, as for the dynamics of “resistance” of local civil society and migrants in suppressing the State’s deliberate absence.
In structural violence, inequalities emerge from society’s stratification at the economic, social and political level. Several elements facilitate society’s legitimation of these inequalities. The socio-economic hurdles and terrorism events in Europe, for instance, have been easing the path for a strong nexus between migration and security. By the same token, the nexus between security and migration legitimizes several forms of institutional violence, both against migrants and native citizens.
This paper focuses on the mechanisms of resettlement of Calais, implemented by the French government after the camp’s dismantling in October 2016, and how those translate a language of institutional violence. The narratives of relocated migrants in Paris are very relevant, since our approach is more agency-based than structure-oriented. In parallel, we analyze the role of civil society, often ignored by the media, and how it has responded in more or less spontaneous ways, to the absence of the State in providing for migrants. Thirdly, we explore the rationale underneath the French behavior, trying to explain the apparent paradox of a driving-country of asylum and migration policies in the EU, which acts weakly though vis-à-vis the United Kingdom.