WiSe 19/20: (METH) Citizenship, Migration and Violence: Struggles Against Borders and Racialised Exclusion
Matija Vlatkovic, Vera Wriedt
The aim of this interdisciplinary seminar is to illuminate the intersection of (non-)citizenship, migration and (state) violence. In order to reach a better understanding of this intersection the ... read more
The aim of this interdisciplinary seminar is to illuminate the intersection of (non-)citizenship, migration and (state) violence. In order to reach a better understanding of this intersection the class will discuss concepts from critical legal theory, feminist legal theory, postcolonial theory, critical race theory and Marxist approaches. By subsequently applying these acquired concepts to the everyday lived experiences and struggles of othered and racialised people in the European context in general and case studies in Germany more specifically, four politico-legal spheres will be explored in more depth:
i. Borders: The geographical spaces of borders, especially the EU’s external borders, have arguably developed into zones of exception where various human rights violations occur systematically - leaving those attempting to cross borders fighting for a right to have rights. This section of the seminar will particularly look at collective expulsions, so-called ‘push-backs’ taking place at the EU’s external (Spain/Morocco, Greece/Turkey, Italy/Libya, Croatia/BiH/Serbia etc.) as well as internal (France/Italy, Slovenia/Croatia, France/Spain etc.) borders. Seeing that many of these push-backs are accompanied by violence carried out by state authorities or threats thereof, the question remains what legal or political tools are available to those suffering from the consequence of EU migration policy. How can those pushed back access legal remedies? What are political forms of resistance against border violence? How are they mediated in public debates? How are discriminatory practices in border zones distinguishing between different (non-)citizenships, and what role does race play in this process? What are the state’s official legal, philosophical and political arguments used to defend such push-backs and other forms of border violence in courts?
ii. Racialised Policing: Once state borders are overcome, the frequently invisibilised borders of racialised discrimination inside state territories continue to affect those bodies which are systematically excluded, especially in the realm of racialised policing in public spaces. Theoretical concepts of critical race theory and post-colonial theory can be used to thoroughly investigate cases of police violence against migrants, refugees and non-white bodies: What are the legal consequences for police officers who exert this violence? How prominent is the issue of racialised policing in public discourse? How is citizenship policed inside state territories, and how does it differ to its policing at borders? What are the demands and aims of social movements against racist police violence, immigration raids or bureaucratic forms of racialised policing? In order to address these questions, a variety of sources, including not only academic concepts but also the analyses offered by activist and self-defence groups, will be drawn upon.
iii. Detention: A widespread form of violence in the realm of (non-)citizenship and migration is detention, usually upon the arrival of migrants/refugees and/or prior to deportations. This section will introduce the academic as well as activist debates surrounding (immigration) detention and look at practical examples of struggles against it. In particular, the legal framework for detention based on citizenship and immigration status will be scrutinised, in addition to assessing legal challenges against the use of detention. Furthermore, political struggles - especially combined efforts by those detained and expressions of solidarity by those non-detained - in the form of hunger strikes, protests, direct action and other manifestations of resistance and discontent will be discussed. Moreover, the concept of the prison-industrial complex and abolitionist struggles against detention centres are a further segment of this thematic focus. What are the differences between detention centres for migrants and (rejected or fast-tracked) asylum-seekers on the one hand and prisons for convicted criminals on the other hand? Who is affected by both criminalisation and detention, and what underlying structures of oppression are the reasons for the deprivation of liberty? What are alternatives to detention, and why are they not used more widely by state authorities?
iv. Deportations: A seminar entitled citizenship, migration and violence would be incomplete without a debate on the contested field of deportations. Closely related to the anterior politico-legal spheres of borders, racialised policing and detention, one could trace the fate of a single person throughout all these spheres: The irregular crossing of a border, an arrest during a manifestation of racialised policing, being detained due to the lack of a more privileged citizenship, and finally being deported back to a supposed ‘country of origin’. This section will attempt to connect the preceding seminar discussions and readings by illuminating the violence around the use of deportations: What is the underlying politico-philosophical justification of deportations, and how does it rely on the construction of citizenship and/or race? How are deportations resisted, and what are the consequences of criminalisation of such political actions? What legal means can be resorted to in order to challenge deportations, and what are some landmark cases in the jurisprudence regarding deportations?