Orientalising citizens

Immigrant struggles against the construction of new logics of alterity

A Eurocentric interpretation of occidental secularism, rule of Law, democracy or citizenship leads to an orientalized vision of immigration as irregularity, anti-social behaviour or terrorism. If we follow this logic, as some say “they" should never become citizens. Thus, citizenship has become a site for conflict.

These ideas fuel, and are fuelled by the emergence of anti-immigration political parties and their interpretations. From a legal point of view, multilevel institutional Europe (the EU, Member states, regional governments) has developed multiple strategies and technologies in order to establish a selective Europe through border controls, detention centres, deportation machine and immigration laws.

The city itself becomes the battle ground for instituting this selective Europe. This research will be conducted in Barcelona (considered as a global city by GaWC studies). A high percentage of South Asians (70%) live in the stigmatized neighbourhood of El Raval, or as sometimes it is called, Ravalistan. Most of the social behaviour control policing and police interventions is implemented here.  In the last few years, especially after the Madrid bombs various multiple detentions have taken place: the Dixan Comando Case and the Raval Eleven Case. In mid 90’s the Papeles para todos (Papers for all) collective composed by multiple social movements, alternative parties and unions, started organizing sit-ins, solidarity protests, hunger strikes, civil disobedience, boycotts, camps and demonstrations against Spanish immigration policy. For the last 10 years South Asian communities and the Papeles para todos collective have worked together for the right and dignity for immigrants.

Are restrictive immigration policies and denying migrants political subjectivity vestiges of orientalism? How do those criminalized, undocumented, orientalised immigrants question the contemporary conceptions of European citizenships? Do they question an internal East-West division that has been constituted in Europe today? What are these strategies that these abject groups developed in the streets of cosmopolis, in detention centres or at the borders to become subjects with the right to claim rights?

Poster - Disrupting European Citizenships (PDF document)114.03 KB

Oecumene: Citizenship after Orientalism is funded by an European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant (Institutions, values, beliefs and behaviour ERC-AG-SH2).

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