Archives For Together
The second of the videos we’ve been producing with Ross Domoney, Daniel Murphy and Eric Amalraj as part of our Par(is) Unknown series.
In the hours before the first round of the French elections, as the voices of European reason and liberalism anguished and then sighed with relief, we took to the streets of Paris: from its edge to its core, the French capital exudes fear and resentment. For so many, the election is distant, irrelevant, unable to change a life for which there is little to celebrate.
Over the next few days, I will be in Paris with good ol’ friend Ross Domoney, working on a brief series of video dispatches from the stressed streets of the French capital:
Glare at your TV screen, flick through your feeds, blink at your flashing updates and you will soon immerse yourself in what is meant to be an election like no other, an election that is supposed to determine the future of France and even Europe as we’ve known it so far.
Keep it at that, and you could easily believe the election is fought at the TV studios, between the four gladiators fighting for the soul of the Republic. But out in the city things are, as always, more complicated. In the days leading up to, and following the election, we ask urbanites about their fears and their hopes. As the country grips itself for the mother of all battles, we delve into the city’s streets and its metro carriages to brush out its psyche.
In Political Geography this morning.
Received 26 January 2017, Accepted 27 February 2017, Available online 7 March 2017
What is a hotspot? Ask a random passer-by in your average city street and the by now ubiquitous wireless internet access point will most probably come up immediately in response: the hotspot is somewhere that connects you to the internet’s everywhere. Ask most European Union officials, however, and the very same word will make them sing the praises of the EU’s blueprint for a holistic approach to the migration crisis: a very special “somewhere” that may very well be on its way to become―as this editorial wishes to warn―a new kind of “everywhere”, one that commences with the decades-long European integration finally reaching a tangible form.
In this editorial we reflect on our fieldwork in Lesbos and Athens as part of the Transcapes project (part of ESRC’s Mediterranean Migration Research Programme, 2015–2017) in order to call for a threefold direction for future research. First, we argue geographers need to take seriously into account the ramifications of the EC’s hotspot approach for the future of the EU integration project as a whole. This will then add to, and bring to date geographical thinking over the production of EU territory in the past decade (Bialasiewicz, Elden, & Painter, 2005) below and beyond its mainstream portrayal as an ‘uncertain’ Union (Bialasiewicz, 2008); one that is to the contrary built meticulously through everyday, calculative practices (Luukkonen & Moisio, 2016). Second, we argue that the birth of the hotspot needs to be brought into, and to update the discussion on the future of the nation-state within (Leitner, 1997) and beyond (Swyngedouw, 2000) the EU project. From the revival of area studies in spite and against the prevalence of the nation-state (Sidaway, Ho, Rigg, , & Woon, 2016) to the quest of cities for autonomy from their immediate regional or even their national context (Bulkeley et al., 2016) geographers are already tracing the ongoing globally occurring shift in the relationship between political power and territory (Elden, 2009 ; Sassen, 2012) while striving to answer what the future geographical distribution of said power might look like after the nation-state. Third, the hotspot offers a stark warning on the future of mobility (Painter, Papoutsi, Papada, & Vradis, 2016); the way in which the state creates differentiated temporalities (Griffiths, Rogers & Anderson, 2014; Vitus, 2010), altered geographies (Mountz, 2016) and mobility regimes (Shamir, 2005) and exposes certain populations to these regimes through new, arbitrary and wholly flexible categories. A transformation that opens up a new chapter in the nature of citizenship and territory-related rights: Studying the EC hotspot approach is now key in answering these questions. Continue Reading…
The (in)hospitable city: spaces of co-existence and exclusion.
Thursday December 15, 5.30, room D28 at the Gallos campus. Department of Sociology, University of Crete. Postgraduate programme of studies in Sociology.
- Reggina Mantanika, Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7
- Antonis Vradis, Loughborough University
- Loukia Kotronaki, Panteion University
(City Plaza occupation, Athens)
- Samy Alexandridis, University of Crete
(migrant movements, Chania)
via society and space. Part of the forum “Governing mobility through European Hotspot Centres.”
On a quiet spring morning on the promenade of the port of Mytilene, on the Greek island of Lesbos, a strange sight caught our attention: flying high on a mast just inside the port gates were two peculiarly selected flags, the French and the Finnish. Perhaps something of a random choice, maybe even a computer error picking up the two EU member-states starting with an “F”, we joked at that time. But a few hours later, during our meeting with the European Commission’s representative on the island as part of our research on the migration crisis, the record was put painstakingly straight: far from a mistake, this was a strategic choice ahead of the visits of the French and the Finnish ambassadors to Greece to the island that week.
The Office of the Commission stationed in Mytilene was tasked with presenting these two state representatives with a pristine image of the hotspot on the island: the image of some seemingly unhindered and seamless operation of the hotspot, along with all of its ancillary mechanisms. Like salespeople charged with selling a future car model, or real estate agents promoting an apartment through a brochure while construction is still taking place, the Mytilene-stationed officials have been commissioned with convincing EU member-state representatives of the efficiency of the hotspot while the mechanism itself is still under construction. Continue Reading…
It is only too easy to be caught into the hustle and bustle of updates on the unfolding crisis: to be dragged into closely following minute-by-minute trackers from one “crucial summit” after another, in reading into a country’s swagging around, into demands raised and dropped, interim agreements reached and breached: heck, to even be caught into trying to understand what the lunch menu of attendants might have to do with this all. It is only too easy, in other words, to read this crisis and its management as an endlessly consecutive, theatre-like play of political actors entering the spotlight to decide the fate of those people dismissed as “flows”. Yet while this is all unfolding, and keeping well away from the spotlight for now, a crucial process plays out: the process of establishing and rendering operative the so-called ‘hot spots’ – including in the Greek island of Lesbos, which is where this brief video was filmed. Continue Reading…