Special Issue "Precarity Generators: Borders, Bordering Processes, and the Creation of Precarious Crossings"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Contemporary Politics and Society".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Helga Hallgrímsdóttir
Website
Guest Editor
School of Public Administration, University of Victoria, PO Box 1700 STN CSC, Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2, Canada
Interests: citizenship and citizen participation; governance and participatory governance; collective bargaining and dispute resolution in the public sector; social movements, protest, and contentious politics; welfare states and social policy; gender and sexuality; work and social vulnerability; labour movements and labour and union politics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Borders are more than mere physical boundaries, they are engines in the creation of precarity. As people cross into the borderlands between nations, they are crossing into spaces of precarity, where their identities and rights to movement, and to request aid or refuge can be challenged, restricted, or rejected altogether. While there has been a great deal of research and policy produced in recent years around issues of regulating border crossings, there has been comparatively less work done on understanding the role of bordering processes in the creation and reproduction of precarity. This Special Issue will facilitate such a discussion and will add to the body of research examining the experiences of irregular and precarious border crossers.

Prof. Helga Hallgrímsdóttir
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • borders
  • borderlands
  • migration
  • precarity
  • securitization
  • border surveillance

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Subterranean Detention and Sanctuary from below: Canada’s Carceral Geographies
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(11), 310; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8110310 - 12 Nov 2019
Abstract
This paper begins with an account of Lucía Vega Jimenez, a Mexican woman who lived and worked in Metro Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories (Canada) and who died while held in detention in British Columbia’s Immigration Holding Centre. This article argues that Lucía’s story [...] Read more.
This paper begins with an account of Lucía Vega Jimenez, a Mexican woman who lived and worked in Metro Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories (Canada) and who died while held in detention in British Columbia’s Immigration Holding Centre. This article argues that Lucía’s story exposes a number of critical aspects regarding the geographies and politics of migration in Canada today. First, Lucia’s story points to the ways in which Canada’s determination process invisibilises certain forms of violence and, as such, serves as a highly restrictive and exclusionary mechanism. Second, it shows how this exclusionary mechanism extends like ‘capillaries’ throughout urban space. In this context city services (like transit) increasingly become less spaces of refuge, and more privatized border checkpoints. Third, following Lucia’s story reveals how city checkpoints funnel people with precarious status into remote detention, akin to Foucault’s ‘carceral archipelago.’ While expanding on carceral literature, this paper departs from existing scholarship that tends to think about remoteness horizontally. The paper argues that it is below the surface where carceral regimes become particularly hostile and—as such—the paper calls for deepened engagement with questions of verticality. Finally, the article illustrates how subterranean carceral dimensions are being politicized, agonistically, through sanctuary practices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Performing Borders: Queer and Trans Experiences at the Canadian Border
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(7), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8070201 - 28 Jun 2019
Abstract
Biometric security and screening systems have revolutionized border crossings. As bodies move across the physical space of the borderland, the border moves through them, scanning and cataloguing and scrutinizing bodies for irregularity. While such technologies have been scrutinized, they have largely been so [...] Read more.
Biometric security and screening systems have revolutionized border crossings. As bodies move across the physical space of the borderland, the border moves through them, scanning and cataloguing and scrutinizing bodies for irregularity. While such technologies have been scrutinized, they have largely been so through heteronormative and cisnormative lenses that fail to recognize the vastly different experiences of nonbinary, nonconforming, transgender, and queer border crossers. This paper examines the implications of what we argue is the individualization of the border, and the effects of biometric security screenings for people whose bodies do not conform to heteronormative and cisnormative standards. We argue that border securitization increasingly equates body differences to narratives of threat and risk, which endangers nonbinary, trans, and queer border crossers, and places their safe passage at risk. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Border and Migration Controls and Migrant Precarity in the Context of Climate Change
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(7), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8070198 - 26 Jun 2019
Abstract
Climate change impacts natural and human systems, including migration patterns. But isolating climate change as the driver of migration oversimplifies a complex and multicausal phenomenon. This article brings together the literature on global migration and displacement, environmental migration, vulnerability and precarity, and borders [...] Read more.
Climate change impacts natural and human systems, including migration patterns. But isolating climate change as the driver of migration oversimplifies a complex and multicausal phenomenon. This article brings together the literature on global migration and displacement, environmental migration, vulnerability and precarity, and borders and migration governance to examine the ways in which climate-induced migrants experience precarity in transit. Specifically, it assesses the literature on the ways in which states create or amplify precarity in multiple ways: through the use of categories, by externalizing borders, and through investments in border infrastructures. Overall, the paper suggests that given the shift from governance regimes purportedly based on protection and facilitation to regimes based on security, deterrence, and enforcement, borders are complicit in producing and amplifying the vulnerability of migrants. The phenomenon of climate migration is particularly explicative in demonstrating how these regimes, which categorize individuals based on why they move, are and will continue to be unable to manage future migration flows. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Sex Trafficking at the Border: An Exploration of Anti-Trafficking Efforts in the Pacific Northwest
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(5), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8050155 - 17 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The prevalence of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labour in the Pacific Northwest has been well documented in recent years. This paper focuses specifically on trafficking for sex work across the British Columbia and Washington State border and [...] Read more.
The prevalence of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labour in the Pacific Northwest has been well documented in recent years. This paper focuses specifically on trafficking for sex work across the British Columbia and Washington State border and seeks to determine whether the border is an effective instrument or tool for the identification and intervention of human trafficking for sex work. We provide an exploration of the legal frameworks and policies on either side of the border and offer an analysis of the cross-border anti-trafficking efforts carried out at the borderlands. The paper concludes that current mechanisms fail to appropriately address and combat the issue of cross-border sex trafficking for several reasons, including the following: a lack of uniform definitions of sex trafficking; the conflation of migrant sex work and sex trafficking, leading to misidentification at the border; and an emphasis on border security measures over victim support. Recommendations for enhanced responses are provided. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Categorized and Invisible: The Effects of the ‘Border’ on Women Migrant Transit Flows in Mexico
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(5), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8050144 - 08 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In an increasingly globalized world, border control is continuously changing. Nation-states grapple with ‘migration management’ and maintain secure borders against ‘illegal’ flows. In Mexico, borders are elusive; internal and external security is blurred, and policies create legal categories of people whether it is [...] Read more.
In an increasingly globalized world, border control is continuously changing. Nation-states grapple with ‘migration management’ and maintain secure borders against ‘illegal’ flows. In Mexico, borders are elusive; internal and external security is blurred, and policies create legal categories of people whether it is a ‘trusted’ tourist or an ‘unauthorized’ migrant. For the ‘unauthorized’ Central American woman migrant trying to achieve safe passage to the United States (U.S.), the ‘border’ is no longer only a physical line to be crossed but a category placed on an individual body, which exists throughout her migration journey producing vulnerability as soon as the Mexico–Guatemala boundary is crossed. Based on policy analysis and fieldwork, this article argues that rather than protecting ‘unauthorized’ migrants, which the Mexican government narrative claims to do, border policies imposed by the state legally categorize female bodies in clandestine terms and construct violent relationships. This embodied illegality creates forced invisibility, further marginalizing women with respect to finding work, and experiences of sexual violence and abuses by migration actors. The analysis focuses on three areas: the changing definition of ‘borders’; the effects of categorization and multiple vulnerabilities on Central American women; and the dangers caused by forced invisibility. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Bangladeshi Migrants of Italy and Their Precarity
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040123 - 19 Apr 2019
Abstract
Over the past years much attention has been placed on the ordeal of migrants as they leave their home countries and seek refuge or better lives in others. Given the sudden surge of Bangladeshi migration to Italy in recent years, this article focuses [...] Read more.
Over the past years much attention has been placed on the ordeal of migrants as they leave their home countries and seek refuge or better lives in others. Given the sudden surge of Bangladeshi migration to Italy in recent years, this article focuses on Bangladeshi migrants in Italy and examines the precarity that they face or have faced. Our analysis is based on observations gleaned from the existing literature and our own field study of 18 Bangladeshi migrants in two adjacent regions in Italy. We look at the precarity faced by Bangladeshi migrants (1) pre-migration in Bangladesh, (2) during migration from Bangladesh as they passed through different countries, and (3) in their current host country, Italy. Precarity can have different but often overlapping meanings, for example, “labor precarity”, “life precarity”, and “place/legal precarity”, among others. We have used these different lenses of precarity to examine the experience of Bangladeshi migrants of Italy. The existing literature on Bangladeshi migrants does not use a precarity lens explicitly, nor does it consider the experience of the migrants in all three of the above stages of their migration together. We conclude that generally these Bangladeshi migrants face precarity in its various forms, in all stages of their journey, and in many spheres of life in their current host country. Recognizing the precarious nature of the existence of many of the Bangladeshi migrants is very important in any discussion of migrant issues that their host country, Italy, is facing. Full article
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