New issue of Migration Studies with symposium on the impacts of irregular status

Migration Studies, OUP

Migration Studies, OUP

The new issue 2(3) of Migration Studies is out. It contains a short symposium on the impacts of irregular status with contributions by Elzbieta Gozdziak, Janina Sohn, Daniela Borodak and Ariene Tichit. Using ethnographic methods, Gozdziak examines how irregular immigration status affects the educational opportunities of children in the US, concluding that ‘the kind of assistance and support Latino students need will not come solely from immigration reform and policy changes, but rather paradigm shifts in our attitudes toward and programs for Latino children and their families as well as policies aimed at alleviating poverty of immigrant families’ (Gozdziak, 2014, pp. 392–414). The nexus immigration status and educational attainments is the focus also of Söhn’s article (2014). Borodak and Tichit explore the impact of status on migration projects and conclude that, while ‘the total duration of migration to a foreign country is the same for regular and irregular migrants”, irregular migrants move less due to constraints of status (Borodak and Tichit, 2014, pp. 415–447).

Closely related to the theme of the symposium, this Migration Studies issue also includes a review essay by Franck Duvell on “Human smuggling, border deaths and the migration apparatus” (Duvell, 2014).

The collection also includes three theoretically driven pieces by Oliver Bakewell on the ‘re-launch’ of migration systems theory (Bakewell, 2014), Roger Waldinger on an agenda for a sociological engagement with ’emigrant politics’ (Waldinger, 2014); and Cheng, Young, Zhang and Owusu on a comparative exploration of internal migration in China and the EU (Cheng, Young, Zhang and Owusu, 2014). An editorial by Alan Gamlen introduces the collection.

Sans Papiers: The Social and Economic Lives of Young Undocumented Migrants

Cover, Sans Papiers by Bloch, Sigona & Zetter, Pluto Press 2014 forthcoming

Draft cover, Sans Papiers by Bloch, Sigona & Zetter, Pluto Press 2014 forthcoming


A lot of my time in the last few weeks went into writing, revising, restructuring the manuscript of Sans Papiers. Eventually, the manuscript will be ready to go to Pluto Press by the end of this week. Exciting to see another editorial project almost completed. All going according to plan, the hard copies will be out by Summer 2014. Writing a book takes always a bit longer that one anticipates. Co-authorship can be challenging at times, but it is also inspiring and very reassuring to be able to share ideas, drafts, endless editing with two colleagues and friends I have known for many years.

Lampedusa and ethics

[Caveat: A few unrefined thoughts likely to change over the next few hours]

BBC Radio 4's Moral Maze

BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze

Tonight I am an ‘expert witness’ on the BBC Radio 4’s programme Moral Maze, the topic is immigration and I have been invited to reflect on the moral issues raised by the tragic incident off the coast of Lampedusa. As a constructivist sociologist, questions around ethics (especially my own) are not often at the forefront of the work I do. They are of course in the background, inspiring the kind of questions I ask, the people I choose to interview, the methods I use. I tend to look at normative framings (including human rights) as a subject of investigation rather than as a given. My recent review essay on globalization, rights and the non-citizen is an example of the work I am doing in this direction. But now, I am facing with a philosophical question on morality (which given my anthropological background sounds at times Euro-centric and paternalist) and in thinking on it I can’t avoid to go back to history instead, to colonial and post-colonial legacies, to how the world is inextricably interconnected. The paradox of a human rights framework which governments like the UK are happy to use only when it doesn’t affect them comes inevitably to mind, so at the end I’m back to an immanent critique of the state and the EU who commit on paper to principles they then only uphold selectively.

On the Europeanization of Lampedusa and similar tragedies

The death of migrants in the Mediterranean is a truly ‘European’ tragedy

[Article for LSE EUROPP Blog, 14 Oct 2013]

Cemetery of migrant boats in Capo Passero, Sicily. Photo by Nando Sigona

Cemetery of migrant boats in Capo Passero, Sicily. Photo by Nando Sigona

Over 300 migrants travelling from Libya to Italy died on 3 October when the boat they were travelling in caught fire and sank in the Mediterranean. I argue that efforts to prevent further disasters taking place must focus on the reasons why migrants choose to risk their lives by travelling to Europe. The EU has not taken on its fair share of asylum seekers in comparison to developing countries in Africa and the Middle East, and opening up safe and legal pathways to apply for asylum should be a key priority. Finally, I argue that the Europeanization of Lampedusa is a strategic asset for the EU Commission at a time when the EU legitimacy is under unprecedented attack in many EU member states. It is up to the EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom to make it a truly EU ‘home’ affair [continue reading]