Migrant camps in Europe: the Greek case in retrospective and the European migration regime

On 5 November 2019, Dr. Panos Hatziprokopiou visited the University of Bonn and gave a lecture on “Migrant camps in Europe: the Greek case in retrospective and the European migration regime” in the context of the Lecture Series “Ankommen, Zurückkommen oder modernes Nomadentum - Arriving, Returning, or Modern Nomadism” organised by the University of Bonn. Find Panos’ recap of his presentation here:

The starting point of the lecture was the proliferation of camps and various forms of encampment for migrants and refugees in Europe at the beginning of the 21st century. Even though this has not been uncommon in the majority world, it has never been so widespread in the Global North after the 2nd WW. In the context and conjuncture of the so-called “European refugee and migration crisis” of 2015-16, and particularly in its aftermath, camps have prevailed in Greece and elsewhere as a major spatial form of reception and accommodation of newcomers and as key instrument of migration control. The lecture focused on the emergency response of accommodating migrants in camps in relation to three intersecting dimensions: the everyday livelihoods and experiences in/of/off camps; the role of civil society in, outside, beyond and against the camps; and the “productive” functions and economic geographies of camps - this latter being also the main focus of the talk!

However, it was not primarily a lecture on camps. Rather, through the lens of the camp, it attempted to approach the politics and spatialities of migration management in Greece, situating the Greek case in time and space, as well as within the shifting European migration regime. Within this frame, it accounted for the economic geographies of camps, and located (some of) the small mundane economic deeds of the migrants themselves, as well as other people (beyond the obvious bigger actors). These, it argued, not only form an important part of how migrants settle in, cope and organize their lives in an alienating and constraining environment, but also crucially determine their daily exchanges and thus relations with local communities and populations.

A copy of the lecture’s presentation can be downloaded here.

By Panos Hatziprokopiou

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