Matryoshka journeys: Im/mobility during migration

Noelle Brigden, Cetta Mainwaring*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Acts of mobility require corresponding acts of immobility (or suspended mobility). Migrant journeys are not only about movement. Indeed, in the present policy context, this is ever more true. Whether a migrant is contained within a hidden compartment, detained by migration authorities, waiting for remittances to continue, or marooned within a drifting boat at sea, these moments of immobility have become an inherent part of migrant journeys especially as states have increased controls at and beyond their borders. Migrants themselves view this fragmentation ? the stopping, waiting and containment ? as part of the journey to be endured. Drawing on the authors? fieldwork in Central America and Southern Europe, this paper destabilises the boundary between transit and settlement, speaking to a larger policy discourse that justifies detentions and deportations from the United States and countries on the periphery of Europe. We argue that migrants? nested experiences of these ?matryoshka journeys? reveal how increased migration controls encourage them not only to take greater risks during the journey, but also to forfeit their agency at opportune moments. In turn, states exploit images of such im/mobility during the journey in order to emphasise the irrational risks migrants take in order to traverse seas and deserts and to cloak their own border policies in a humanitarian discourse of rescue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-434
Number of pages28
Issue number2
Early online date3 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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