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Olga-Lafazani-Cover

seminar

Olga Lafazani “The significance of the insignificant. Borders, migration, everyday life”

The aim of the paper is to reflect on how borders proliferate in everyday life, not only through laws, institutions or policing practices, but also through deeds, words, and feelings. Rather than analyse migration and borders by focusing only on the borderzones, this paper attempts to capture the multiple relations that connect the camp to the city square, the deportation regime to the train carriage, the newspaper headlines to the housing tenements in an attempt to work towards framing a broader theory of borders in geographical terms.
By using fragments of narrations of everyday encounters between migrants and locals in the city, light will be shed on different moments, places, people, and encounters: brought together they create a map of the multiple and complicated ways borders operate as technologies of power within everyday life in the city. The city is Athens between 2009-2013, a time that saw the beginnings of the "economic crisis" in Greece. During those years, migrants were being increasingly illegalised and racialized by dominant policies and media discourses compared to the previous decade of "economic growth".
It is well established in the critical literature that borders have a polysemic nature, as they do not hold the same meaning for everyone. As Caton and Zacka write: "A border is not a line, but a space with depth. And this space changes, morphologically, on the basis of the identity of the one who enters it." (Caton and Zacka, 2010: 209).Taking a step further, this paper will discuss not only how meanings, experiences, and spaces change in relation to the identity of the people who cross the borders, but how identities, bodies, and spaces are themselves produced through bordering practices.
Everyday life, as described by H. Lefebvre is defined by conflicts and contradictions which become particularly apparent when we approach borders ethnographically, starting from the everyday life experiences of migrants: moments and spaces of exclusion, powerlessness, and subordination but also of inclusion, emancipation, and subversion. In this sense, the focus is on these microbe-like, clandestine, and insignificant acts of everyday life, in which borders are renegotiated between the ones who belong and the ones who do not, when belonging is not conceived as a sense but as a socially constructed position that manufactures bodies, acts, and feelings.
Drawing from critical geography, border and migration studies, as well as from feminist and postcolonial critique, and by focusing on everyday encounters an attempt is made to generate more complicated and nuanced understandings of subjectivity and power, and to bring to the fore the multiple borders that are simultaneously embodied and transcended, performed and challenged, established and subverted.

bio

Olga Lafazani holds a PhD on “Transanational geographies of migration” from the Department of Geography, Harokopio University, Athens. She has worked in several research projects and her work has been published in international journals. Currently she is an adjunct lecturer in the department of History and Philosophy of Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.  She is also the PI of the research project “One century, Two refugee crisis” (ELIDEK) that aims to untangle the entangled histories of arrivals and departures and the different refugee figures that have shaped and have been shaped within the recent Greek history.  Next year she will start a new research project under the Marie Curie Individual Fellowships in Humbolt Univesrity, on the political economies of the refugee camps (CamPEcomonies).Her research interests develop at the intersections of migration, gender, urban space, borders and grassroots movements.

date

bio

Olga Lafazani holds a PhD on “Transanational geographies of migration” from the Department of Geography, Harokopio University, Athens. She has worked in several research projects and her work has been published in international journals. Currently she is an adjunct lecturer in the department of History and Philosophy of Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.  She is also the PI of the research project “One century, Two refugee crisis” (ELIDEK) that aims to untangle the entangled histories of arrivals and departures and the different refugee figures that have shaped and have been shaped within the recent Greek history.  Next year she will start a new research project under the Marie Curie Individual Fellowships in Humbolt Univesrity, on the political economies of the refugee camps (CamPEcomonies).Her research interests develop at the intersections of migration, gender, urban space, borders and grassroots movements.

Olga-Lafazani-Cover

seminar

Olga Lafazani “The significance of the insignificant. Borders, migration, everyday life”

The aim of the paper is to reflect on how borders proliferate in everyday life, not only through laws, institutions or policing practices, but also through deeds, words, and feelings. Rather than analyse migration and borders by focusing only on the borderzones, this paper attempts to capture the multiple relations that connect the camp to the city square, the deportation regime to the train carriage, the newspaper headlines to the housing tenements in an attempt to work towards framing a broader theory of borders in geographical terms.
By using fragments of narrations of everyday encounters between migrants and locals in the city, light will be shed on different moments, places, people, and encounters: brought together they create a map of the multiple and complicated ways borders operate as technologies of power within everyday life in the city. The city is Athens between 2009-2013, a time that saw the beginnings of the "economic crisis" in Greece. During those years, migrants were being increasingly illegalised and racialized by dominant policies and media discourses compared to the previous decade of "economic growth".
It is well established in the critical literature that borders have a polysemic nature, as they do not hold the same meaning for everyone. As Caton and Zacka write: "A border is not a line, but a space with depth. And this space changes, morphologically, on the basis of the identity of the one who enters it." (Caton and Zacka, 2010: 209).Taking a step further, this paper will discuss not only how meanings, experiences, and spaces change in relation to the identity of the people who cross the borders, but how identities, bodies, and spaces are themselves produced through bordering practices.
Everyday life, as described by H. Lefebvre is defined by conflicts and contradictions which become particularly apparent when we approach borders ethnographically, starting from the everyday life experiences of migrants: moments and spaces of exclusion, powerlessness, and subordination but also of inclusion, emancipation, and subversion. In this sense, the focus is on these microbe-like, clandestine, and insignificant acts of everyday life, in which borders are renegotiated between the ones who belong and the ones who do not, when belonging is not conceived as a sense but as a socially constructed position that manufactures bodies, acts, and feelings.
Drawing from critical geography, border and migration studies, as well as from feminist and postcolonial critique, and by focusing on everyday encounters an attempt is made to generate more complicated and nuanced understandings of subjectivity and power, and to bring to the fore the multiple borders that are simultaneously embodied and transcended, performed and challenged, established and subverted.

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