Contesting Europeanism: Migrant Solidarity Activism in the European Union

Book chapter


Cantat, Celine 2013. Contesting Europeanism: Migrant Solidarity Activism in the European Union. in: Esin, Cigdem, Johanssen, Jacob, Lake, Caroline, Schwartz, Priscilla, Tamboukou, Maria and Rashid, Farid (ed.) Crossing Conceptual Boundaries V London University of East London, School of Law and Social Sciences. pp. 9-33
AuthorsCantat, Celine
EditorsEsin, Cigdem, Johanssen, Jacob, Lake, Caroline, Schwartz, Priscilla, Tamboukou, Maria and Rashid, Farid
Abstract

In this paper, I investigate the way in which legal frameworks concerning immigration
and border controls have been transnationalised in the European Union (EU) and how migrant
solidarity activists in EU member states have responded to this development. Taking the
Eurozone crisis as a starting point, I first develop a critical analysis of the EU project as the
regional expression of a set of economic and political developments generally referred to as
‘neoliberal globalisation’. In this context, I propose to look at the dominant contemporary notion
of European belonging as a legitimising discourse aimed at stabilising the particular social and
political organisation of the region that the EU has established. I argue that bordering, borders
and exclusion have been essential to the form of European identity that the EU has put forward.
The Europeanisation of immigration law and border controls is presented as the material
embodiment of this dominant notion of European identity. I then present my fieldwork, which
consisted in interviews and participant observation with migrant solidarity groups and networks
in three EU member states. One of the main focuses of the fieldwork was to investigate the ways
in which migration-related activists and organisations have adapted their work in order to
respond to the developments at the EU level. I present an analysis of my fieldwork data drawing
on insights from social movement theory. In conclusion, I identify a process of pan-
Europeanisation of migrant solidarity struggles and critically assess its resemblance to an
emerging transnational social movement.

KeywordsEurope; European identity; migration; transnationalisation
Book titleCrossing Conceptual Boundaries V
Page range9-33
Year2013
PublisherUniversity of East London, School of Law and Social Sciences
Publication dates
Print2013
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Nov 2013
Place of publicationLondon
Web address (URL)http://www.uel.ac.uk/lss/research/yearbook/
Copyright holderThe authors
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-ND
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