Joris Schapendonk

Afrostars and Eurospaces. West African movers re-viewing «Destination Europe» from the inside

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Mobility; Europe; Favell; African Migration.

In order to destabilise the persistent normalisation of specific labelling that affects migration studies and migration policy so profoundly, this paper looks for similarities across presumably different categories of travellers. In so doing, I start from the im/mobility experiences of the "Eurostars", being portrayed by Favell (2008) as the mobile EU citizens that were the pioneers in the creation of an integrated EU. I mirror these im/mobility experiences with that of the "Afrostars", i.e. the West African un/documented migrants whose intra-EU im/mobility trajectories I am following through time and space. To analyse the parallels between the "Euro-" and the "Afrostars", I construct a comparative lens along three analytical lines: the changing of aspiration and destinations, the confrontation with migration-related bureaucracies and the relationality between mobility and place attachments. The insights leads to two concluding observations that help us to re-view mobility/migration in Europe. First, there is a misleading separation of the academic debates on Euro-mobility, on the one hand, and the secondary movements or onward migration of non-EU citizens on the other. This distinction in migration studies reinforces categorical lines that are mostly induced by migration apparatuses. Secondly, and in relation to the former, there is a remarkable difference in terms of the position of mobility vis-à-vis the nation-state. As Favell so strongly shows, the Eurostars are praised for their construction of a post-national, and integrated Europe. While the treatment of the Afrostars rely so much on a discourse of re-nationalisation, i.e. national integration or assimilation. Thus, integrating Europe and integrating migrants are two worlds apart.

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