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Public Seminar Series, Trinity term 2019

Everyday Resistance to the European Governance of Migration

Series convenor: Dr Cory Rodgers


The Trinity 2019 public seminar series focuses on “Everyday resistance to the European governance of migration”. As national immigration and asylum regimes become increasingly restrictive in countries around the world, “Fortress Europe” stands out for its efforts to regulate human movement both within and beyond its borders. Following the 2015 “crisis”, spikes in detention and deportation have been common features of European migration management. But there are also examples of resistance by migrants and citizens, who defy, endure, and creatively navigate these systems and practices of exclusion, often in ways that are overlooked in legal and institutional accounts of migration governance. This term, four Oxford-based speakers will describe situations in which such efforts become visible (and audible), through diverse case studies from sites on both sides of the Mediterranean. While focused on dramatically different situations and activities, they share an interest in alternative understandings of migration governance, as well as the practices by which people contend with state strategies, xenophobic narratives, and exclusionary practices.

The seminar

Over the last few years, involuntary returns of sub-Saharan African migrants to their countries of origin have become frequent. European states have continued to forcibly deport unwanted migrants and, increasingly, have repatriated them as part of Assisted Voluntary Return programmes. Additionally, migration policies in North Africa, together with the instability in the region, have forced many sub-Saharans en route to also turn to Assisted Voluntary Return programmes or to come back by their own means. In this context, in a country such as Senegal, unplanned homecomings have multiplied. This seminar will explore ethnographically the local dynamics emerging in this situation in Senegal. It will be argued that the subjectivities and practices surrounding involuntary returns can be understood in relation to local debates on migrants’ perseverance and effort. Ultimately, the presentation will seek to contribute to the conceptualisation of endurance as an everyday form of resistance to the European governance of migration.

For information, at the speaker's request this seminar will not be recorded and podcast. 

the speaker

Anne-Line Rodriguez is an anthropologist who specialises in the social experiences in West Africa of the European governance of migration. She has just completed an Early Career Fellowship at the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, during which she worked on an ethnography of repatriations to Senegal. She completed her doctorate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Her thesis, entitled Social Respectability in Dakar at the Time of EU Border Closure: An Ethnography, examined the new formations of subjectivity and practices created in the Senegalese capital city in the context of tightened and externalised EU migration control. Her work has appeared in Africa: Journal of the International African Institute and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Prior to starting her PhD, she worked for various NGOs and as an observer during asylum-seeker interviews.


Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

The Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture is held in Trinity term. It is named after Professor Elizabeth Colson, a renowned anthropologist.

Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture

The Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture is named in honour of Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, the founding Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. It is held each year in Michaelmas term.

Public Seminar Series

Each term the RSC holds a series of public seminars, held on Wednesday evenings at Queen Elizabeth House. Click here for details of forthcoming seminars.

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