The changing geographies of irregular migration require new methodological approaches and modes of researcher engagement. In and around Europe, migrants are increasingly residing in unconventional, dynamic, and diverse spaces such as informal transit camps. Along the Balkan Route, these temporary, makeshift encampments are emerging as a result of the EU’s crackdown on border controls, tightening restrictions on asylum legislation and aid provision, and increasingly long, difficult, and fragmented migratory journeys. Across cities, border-zones, and at strategic transit hubs, immobilised migrants have established informal transit camps where they may temporarily reside and access services, information, and smugglers before their next clandestine attempt to cross into the EU. Due to transit state policies that effectively ignore these transit camps and ban larger NGOs from operating there, the majority of services and humanitarian aid is provided by small, grassroots organisations and unpaid volunteers. The proliferation of informal transit camps, and the particular social constellations of actors who reside and operate in these spaces, call for further scholarly attention. In this paper, we reflect on the challenges and opportunities of taking on a role as a volunteer while conducting research among migrants in informal transit camps. By considering the acute conditions of informality, vulnerability, and precariousness, this paper illustrates how volunteering in this context is a way of gaining access to the site, establishing rapport and legitimacy, and fostering reciprocity among migrant subjects. Drawing from fieldwork along the Balkan Route as a volunteer-researcher, this paper examines methodology, best practices, positionality, and the ethical benefits and limitations of highly participatory, engagement-driven research in informal transit camps at Europe's periphery.

Researching migrants in informal transit camps along the Balkan Route: Reflections on volunteer activism, access, and reciprocity / Jordan J.; Moser S.. - In: AREA. - ISSN 0004-0894. - ELETTRONICO. - 52:3(2020), pp. 566-574. [10.1111/area.12614]

Researching migrants in informal transit camps along the Balkan Route: Reflections on volunteer activism, access, and reciprocity

Jordan J.
Primo
;
2020

Abstract

The changing geographies of irregular migration require new methodological approaches and modes of researcher engagement. In and around Europe, migrants are increasingly residing in unconventional, dynamic, and diverse spaces such as informal transit camps. Along the Balkan Route, these temporary, makeshift encampments are emerging as a result of the EU’s crackdown on border controls, tightening restrictions on asylum legislation and aid provision, and increasingly long, difficult, and fragmented migratory journeys. Across cities, border-zones, and at strategic transit hubs, immobilised migrants have established informal transit camps where they may temporarily reside and access services, information, and smugglers before their next clandestine attempt to cross into the EU. Due to transit state policies that effectively ignore these transit camps and ban larger NGOs from operating there, the majority of services and humanitarian aid is provided by small, grassroots organisations and unpaid volunteers. The proliferation of informal transit camps, and the particular social constellations of actors who reside and operate in these spaces, call for further scholarly attention. In this paper, we reflect on the challenges and opportunities of taking on a role as a volunteer while conducting research among migrants in informal transit camps. By considering the acute conditions of informality, vulnerability, and precariousness, this paper illustrates how volunteering in this context is a way of gaining access to the site, establishing rapport and legitimacy, and fostering reciprocity among migrant subjects. Drawing from fieldwork along the Balkan Route as a volunteer-researcher, this paper examines methodology, best practices, positionality, and the ethical benefits and limitations of highly participatory, engagement-driven research in informal transit camps at Europe's periphery.
2020
Researching migrants in informal transit camps along the Balkan Route: Reflections on volunteer activism, access, and reciprocity / Jordan J.; Moser S.. - In: AREA. - ISSN 0004-0894. - ELETTRONICO. - 52:3(2020), pp. 566-574. [10.1111/area.12614]
Jordan J.; Moser S.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/837247
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