Thesis: The European Borderscape in the Face of Covid-19

The Canary Islands as setting of the new border play

Andrea Gallinal Arias
Master’s thesis, Political dynamics and changes in societies,
Institute of Political Studies, Aix-en-Provence, 2021

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In this thesis I aim to explore the convergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and the migratory event that has taken place in the Canary Islands archipelago, Spain, during the year 2020, focusing more specifically on the island of Gran Canaria. In this sense, I question the development of this event into a crisis and the effects of the consequent urgency management on the reconfiguration of the actors and the materiality of the European border of the Canary Islands. I also address the transformations of the insular political landscape since this event and the rise of the extreme right. The objective of this thesis is to think, through the example of the Canary Islands, the effect that the Coronavirus pandemic will have on other European borders.

The Atlantic migratory route of the Canary Islands, considered virtually obsolete for the past ten years, returned to the forefront of the international scene during 2020. Indeed, the Spanish authorities reported an 881% increase in the number of migrants arriving on its shores compared to 2019 (EP, 2021). Some 22,000 people reached the islands from various enclaves in Morocco, Western Sahara and West Africa, a trend that has continued during this year 2021 (Bautista, 18 May 2021). While this figure may seem relatively low compared to other border areas of Europe, the archipelago has been completely overwhelmed by this situation, mainly due to the already complex context generated by the Covid-19 epidemic.

Photo Andrea Gallinal, 2021

I approach this sudden arrival of migrants as an event in the sense that Alain Badiou defines it, that is, as a process through which the arising of a situation disables the operative modes by which we compose with our environment (Badiou, 2007). Here, the sudden and radical emergence of excluded populations on the social scene, in this case irregular migrants, came to disrupt the appearance of normality and opened up a process of reconfiguration of reality. Although the arrival of irregular migrants to the Canary archipelago is a recurrent phenomenon and, in this sense, predictable, its articulation with the Covid-19 pandemic created an unprecedented event on the island that left this part of the European border without the tools to cope with the situation. Border management in the islands in the current epidemic context has had to be adapted through new mechanisms and actors to ensure that migrants are managed in accordance with health restrictions. The lack of logistical and strategic preparation of the archipelago to respond to this event generated an institutional bricolage that has been, as I have been able to observe on the field, a source of contradictions and vulnerabilities at every level: a migrant reception system completely surpassed in terms of numbers; poor reception structures which have had to be assisted with new ones like hotels or macro camps; exhausted politicians and social workers; desperate and confused immigrants; and a polarized local population succumbing to conspirative theories and xenophobic demonstrations.

In this sense, the objective of this thesis is to analyze how the emergence of Covid-19 led to the collapse of the fragile reception system on the Canary Islands and forced a deep reconfiguration of the border infrastructure and policy and, as a consequence, of the collectives involved in its formal and informal functioning. The question of the impact of the pandemic on the ways in which Europe’s borders are managed seems significant for two reasons. Firstly, the spread of Covid-19 vaccines does not necessarily seem to guarantee the end of the pandemic, as the tendency already shows in some countries (Genoux, 11 April 2021). Second, the fact that vaccination policies are only implemented in the most privileged countries may confer to international mobility a key role in the evolution of the health situation (Héran, 2020), as shown by the creation of the WHO Global Program for Health and Migration (WHO, 2020). In this sense, the analysis of the reconfiguration of the European border scenario in the Canary Islands could, through a magnifying effect, provide an illustration of the questions that the pandemic will raise in the years to come in terms of border and mobility management in Europe.
My questioning revolves around three main axes: the transformation of a migratory event into a crisis; the responses of the different actors involved and the impact of these actions on the borderscape of the island; and the articulation of the migratory event with the transformation of the archipelago’s political composition.

First, I address how the migratory event in the island of Gran Canaria has been progressively enacted as a crisis. As Cuttitta explains for the island of Lampedusa, crises are usually created and “performed” through political measures and practices as a means of governing migration (2014), which allows for the implementation of further control procedures. Moreover, islands are particular places that, in relation to migration, attract extraordinary media attention (Bernardie-Tahir & Schmoll, 2014; Cuttitta, 2014) and where the reality and implications of irregular migration take exacerbated forms (Bernardie-Tahir and Schmoll, 2014), making it easier to enact migratory crises. In this sense, I suggest that the emergency measures deployed for the management of the Coronavirus pandemic in the Spanish territory have facilitated the reconfiguration of this migratory event into a crisis. It seems appropriate then to question the articulation between the pandemic and the migratory event, and the further becoming of a perceived crisis, as well as what actors are involved in this process.
Secondly, I discuss how the reactions of the authorities and the local actors deployed in order to master the crisis have contributed to the transformation of the Canarian borderscape. I privilege the notion of borderscape over that of border because, on the one hand, it allows me to highlight the fluid and changing nature of borders (Bernardie-Tahir & Schmoll, 2014; Brambilla, 2014) and to focus on the relations between the different collectives that compose it: the confrontations, contradictions, alliances and concessions at different levels that emerged in this changing context. On the other hand, it allows me to delocalize the border both in space and in time (Brambilla, 2015; Perera, 2007), apprehending all the actors -human or not- who intervene before in time and far in space: this is the case of the European directives and laws that have a central role in this matter in the territory of the Canary Islands.

In this sense, I focus on how the response to the migratory “crisis” has reconfigured the relationships between the different actors present in this space, as well as on the emergence of new actors. Several authors have studied the emergence of citizen organizations and NGOs as a response to migratory urgencies (Cuttitta, 2018; Danese, 2001), however, during my fieldwork I was able to observe the emergence of private actors acquiring a central role in the reception system. In the gap generated by the lack of means of the Spanish State, owners of different hotels have managed to organize themselves in the aim of offering a dignified response to the reception urgency on the island. Other actors, already existing, have had to adjust their operating modes to adapt to the sanitary situation. I assess the changes provoked by these reactions at the level of the local collectives: the redistribution of roles, their compositions, their limits.

Finally, I address the transformations of the political and social fabric of the island through the management of the migratory event. During my stay in Gran Canaria, I could clearly see the emergence and upsurge of a hitherto unknown xenophobic discourse as well as new practices and forms of solidarity. This allows me to posit that the migratory event goes beyond the logistical and strategic management of the phenomenon, but also impacts the political composition and the collective imaginary of a society. In this sense, I address the reactions of the local population to the management of the migratory situation, as well as the political instrumentalization of this event by extreme right-wing political parties.

Methodology, sources and fields

This research study is the result of a two-month fieldwork conducted during January and February 2021 in the island of Gran Canaria. My study is based on three types of materials for analysis: ethnographic work in different environments during my stay on the island, interviews with different representatives of collectives involved in the field of migration management and press articles through which I have been able to build a chronology of events, both during my stay on the island and from a distance before and after my fieldwork.

In relation to my ethnographic work, I was able to obtain first-hand information through participant observation during my work as a volunteer in two large associations that managed two different immigrant reception centers. After a little less than two weeks on the island of Gran Canaria, I was able to start working as a volunteer Spanish teacher in one of the centers for migrant women of the White Cross Foundation . This first contact with the organization allowed me, later during my stay, to visit one of the macro-camps built to respond to the migratory situation on the island, as it was managed by the same association. Some time later, I was also able to join the team of the Integral Reception Center (CAI) of Tafira, on the outskirts of the capital city of Las Palmas, managed by the Red Cross. This center, where I also worked as a Spanish teacher, welcomed families only from Morocco and Western Sahara. Both experiences were particularly enriching on a personal level, especially in relation to the interpersonal relationships I was able to establish with several of the residents. In addition, it gave me access to first-hand accounts of the different phases of the migration project of the migrants and the attention received upon arrival on the islands. It was also a very good opportunity to see from the inside how this type of temporary reception resources works at an institutional and human level.

In addition to this type of participant observation, I also employed diffuse observation, very common in anthropology, for describing on my fieldwork diary both the places and the practices that I observed within these different environments. This technique was especially useful to me during explorations in the different neighborhoods where the macro-camps had been established, and also during my various trips to the south of the island, where I focused mainly on observing the tourist structures, empty due to Covid-19, and the new shape the landscape took with the presence of the hundreds of migrants. Apart from the ethnographic work, I was also able to conduct a total of six interviews with different representatives of organizations and actors involved in one way or another in the management of migrant reception on the island of Gran Canaria.

During my encounters with the migrants themselves, I decided to favor an informal conversation format over that of an arranged interview as it seemed more appropriate to the context. Given the situation in which many of them found themselves upon their arrival on the islands – confused, having lived through moments of great tension, sometimes traumatic, and very wary about the type of relationship they established – informal conversations seemed to me the best option to favor the building of a relationship of trust and also to preserve and respect the situation of vulnerability in which many of them found themselves.

The relationships I was able to establish with migrants, both inside and outside the reception structures, have been the most enriching part of my fieldwork. However, they were also the most complex: since most of the migrants I was able to talk to outside the reception centers were in difficult situations, where they felt desperate and frustrated, I quickly understood that my efforts to reach out to them could quickly turn into a relationship of dependency. If I provided my phone number for future contact, I received messages and calls at all hours. In this sense, I had to take some time to understand where and how to set the boundaries in this type of relationship. I decided, upon reflection, that I was indeed interested in establishing human relationships beyond my object of study. I did not want to simply obtain information from these people and ignore their personal situation. But to do so, I had to be quite selective in who I facilitated my personal contact to and who I did not. Thus, although my exchanges were multiple and with many different immigrants, I privileged to establish a relationship of trust with a total of four people whom I saw regularly and with whom I was also personally involved . This selectivity allowed me to have privileged access to first-hand information about the situation in the different hotels and the material and psychological experiences inside them, without having to neglect the personal relationships established since I had time to answer any messages or calls.

Finally, since the beginning of October 2020 I started working on a press review with different articles published by different digital media. This allowed me to have an exhaustive chronology of all the important events that were happening as the situation evolved. It also allowed me to track the reproduction of the facts in the media, which also facilitated the identification of discourses positioned against and in favor of the migrants’ stay on the island. Working with written press in various languages (Spanish, English, French) has also allowed me to analyze how the events have been perceived in the international sphere.

Through these three sources of information, I have been able to construct my analysis of the situation in the Canary Islands before, during and after my fieldwork on the island of Gran Canaria.

Photo Andrea Gallinal, 2021

Challenges during my fieldwork: reflections on gender

There is an important element that has stood out during my fieldwork that I would like to address separately because of the scarce information I have found on this topic: being a female researcher in contact with mainly men interlocutors. I will be discussing here only the part of my fieldwork related to my contact with migrants themselves outside of the reception centers in which I gave Spanish lessons.
All the migrants I was able to see and talk to, with the exception of the two centers where I worked as a volunteer, were young men. In this sense, sexist or sexualized behavior and comments were quite recurrent. Gurney describes sexual hustling to which female researchers are often exposed, as a “range from flirtatious behavior and sexually suggestive remarks to overt sexual propositioning” (1985). One of the biggest difficulties during my approach to young male migrants was the constant attempts at flirting that completely discredited the position of researcher in which I wanted to maintain myself. Usually, three reactions were possible when I approached to talk to the young men: a shy, respectful response; an attempt to approach me with compliments and questions about my personal life and asking for my phone number; or, very often, they just wanted to take pictures of or with me. The latter two reactions were quite uncomfortable and, although sexual hustling behavior is not something specific to this particular context, since I face it on my daily life, in this situation there was an added difficulty: how should I react?
Gurney points out that a “modicum of tolerance is necessary with respect to any behavior respondents may exhibit, otherwise very little field research would ever be accomplished”, but “the question of where to draw the line” and how is a rather difficult one (1985). Obviously, I could not react in that context as I would react in my day-to-day life because it was in my interest to get close to these people. The ability to speak French greatly facilitated my approach to the migrants I met on the island. As they told me, being ignored by most of the local population, if not relatively mistreated, made my approach an unusual event. This was very commonly interpreted on their part as an interest of a romantic or sexual nature. Several of the people with whom I established more solid contact explained to me that they did not understand why I was so nice to them compared to the rest of the people they met. At first, I was forced to constantly justify my kindness to them, not as a romantic interest, but simply out of respect. Questions about my marital status, if I had a boyfriend, if I was married, were a regular occurrence.
In the face of compliments and comments regarding my physical appearance, I tried to ignore them or simply smile. Little by little, I began to develop mechanisms with which I could avoid the uncomfortable questions regarding my personal life. I noticed that, as Gurney points out, “sexual hustling is more likely to occur when the female is perceived as single or unattached to a male” (1985). So, I began to reply on every occasion that I was married, which seemed to be pretext enough to combat the harassment, at least to some extent. Even so, I still had to face situations in which I found myself certainly uncomfortable. Of particular note was a moment when one of my interlocutors repeatedly tried to kiss me on the mouth, even when I made it clear that I was not at all interested. On another occasion, another person with whom I tried to establish contact insisted that he wanted to marry me, even when I told him I had a partner. Again, on these occasions, finding the right reaction was not easy and, thinking about it in perspective, I think I should have reacted more strongly. However, the situation of vulnerability in which these people found themselves also made me not want to generate further conflict with them.
Being a woman, in this context, has also been beneficial because it has made it easier for me to approach my interlocutors, even if it has generated undesired situations. It is clear that if I had been a man, I would not have had to endure many of the comments, looks or behaviors that I have had to face as a woman, but it is also likely that a male presence and an eventual approach as a man would have generated more distrust in my interlocutors. Being a young woman has been, in this sense, both an advantage and a disadvantage.

Photo Andrea Gallinal, 2021


This thesis consists of three parts and eight chapters. The division of the different parts corresponds to the explanatory logic that guides the analysis.
In the first part, I contextualize the convergence of the pandemic and the migratory event in the islands and question its supposed unpredictable character. I also examine the construction of this double event as a crisis and how this categorization has impacted the evolution of the different institutional emergency mechanisms developed during the last months. Finally, I establish a comparison between the migratory situation of the Canary Islands during 2020 and that of the island of Lampedusa during the same period, with the aim of contextualizing the situation of the Spanish archipelago in a broader European panorama.
In the second part of this thesis, I focus on the different phases of development and implementation of migration management and reception systems. I intend to present here the reconfiguration of the Canarian borderscape through the recomposition of the different collectives that constitute it. After a first moment in which the lack of means and resources on the part of the central government became evident, the latter launched the Plan Canarias, a road map that aimed to put an end to the emergency situation experienced up to that moment. In this sense, I focus here on the use of hotels as temporary reception centers and all their implications, and the implementation and management of the different macro-camps established on the island of Gran Canaria through this new plan.
Finally, in the third part, I focus on the implications of the new migratory infrastructure that emerges through the recomposition of the borderscape of the islands. Thus, I analyze the new practices of this system, based on constrained mobilities and expanding temporalities for the migrants. I also address the social and political consequences resulting from the emergency management of this double event. In this sense, I refer mainly to the increase and expansion of xenophobic discourse on the island, and the instrumentalization of this unrest by various political formations, especially of the extreme right, in order to gain political leverage.

Photo Andrea Gallinal 2019


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Bautista, L. (18 May 2021). La immigración en Canarias ha aumentado un 133% en los primeros
4 meses de 2021
. ABC, págs.
Bernardie-Tahir, N., and Schmoll, C. (2014). “The uses of islands in the production of the southern
European migration border”. Island Studies Journal, 3-6.
Brambilla, C. (2015). “Exploring the Critical Potential of the Borderscapes Concept”. Geopolitics, 20:1, 14-34.
Cuttitta, P. (2014). “Borderizing the island setting and narratives of the Lampedusa border play”.
ACME: An international journal for critical geographies, 13(2), 196-219.
Cuttitta, P. (2018). “Repoliticization through search and rescue? Humanitarian NGOs and
migration management in the Central Mediterranean.” Geopolitics, 23(3), 632-660.
Danese, G. (2001). “Participation beyond citizenship: migrants associations in Italy and
Spain”. Patterns of prejudice, 35(1), 69-89.
EP. (2021, January 02). La llegada de inmigrantes a las costas canarias creció en 2020 un 881%
respecto a 2019
. ABC, pp.
Genoux, F. (11 April 2021). “Covid-19 : malgré une vaccination massive, l’épidémie est hors de
contrôle au Chili”. Le Monde,
Gurney, J. N. (1985). “Not One of the Guys: The Female Researcher in a Male-Dominated
Setting”. Qualitative Sociology, 42-62.
Héran, F. (2020). “Voyageurs internationaux ou immigrants, le virus ne fait pas la différence”. De
, vol. 18, 38-41.
Perera, S. (2007). “A pacific zone? (In)Security, Sovereignty, and stories of the Pacific
borderscape”. In P. K. Rajaram, & C. Grundy-Warr, Borderscapes: hidden geographies
and politics at territory’s edge
(p. 201-227). University of Minessota Press.
WHO. (2020). ApartTogether survey: preliminary overview of refugees and migrants self-
reported impact of COVID-19
. World Health Organization.

Main photo: Andrea Gallinal, 2021

Palestine Israel : Spatial Relationality and the Fallacies of Methodological Nationalism

Thursday December 17th 2020
From 10 am to 12 am

In order to obtain the link to attend the conference, please contact cedric.parizot [at]

Theorizing Urban Space and Binational Sociality in Jewish-Arab “Mixed Towns”

Daniel Monterescu, Associate Professor of urban anthropology at the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Central European University, IMéRA (Aix Marseille university)

This presentation develops the analytic vocabulary needed to examine how urban space, Jewish-Arab sociality and local/national identities have been both represented and produced in ethnically mixed towns since the establishment of the state of Israel to the present. A bi-national borderland in which Arabs and Jews live together, these cities bring to the fore, on the one hand, the paradox of Palestinian citizens in a fundamentally Jewish state, while simultaneously suggesting, by the very spatial and social realization of “mixed-ness,” the potential imaginary of its solution. Through ethnographic and historical research centered in Jaffa, the argument posits mixed towns as a political and theoretical challenge to the hegemonic ethno-nationalist guiding principles of the Israeli state, which fails to maintain homogeneous, segregated and ethnically-stable spaces. This failure, I argue, results in the parallel existence of heteronomous spaces in these towns, which operate through multiple and often contradictory logics of space, class and nation. Analyzed relationally, these spaces produce peculiar forms of quotidian social relations between Palestinians and Israelis, enacting circumstantial coalitions and local identities that challenge both Palestinian and Jewish nationalisms. Overcoming the limitations of methodological nationalism, which can only describe such spaces as historical anomalies, the paper outlines the contours of a dialectic theory of socio-spatial relations in contested cities.

Organization: Julien Loiseau, historian (IREMAM, CNRS/Aix Marseille University) et Cédric Parizot anthropologist (IREMAM, CNRS/Aix Marseille University)

Call for contributors: Lexicon of drifting

Call for contributors

Calypso36°21 is launching a call for contributions for the Lexicon of drifting, a participatory work produced as part of

The lexicon brings together fragments of narratives [words, expressions, places, images, laws] in order to compose alternative borderscapes, to experiment new ways for borders to be sensed, and made sense of. Being both a place of passage and rupture, the Mediterranean Sea constitutes a liminal territory for some of those who cross it. The work around the lexicon deconstructs this territory, to free ourselves from imposed narratives by exploring their dead angles.

The result of two years of collaboration, this evolving editorial object is composed of contributions from artists, activists, jurists, researchers, architects and people whose work, stories and imaginaries summon, challenge and question these frontier landscapes. The book will be developed, edited and exhibited throughout the [exhibitions+workshops+meetings] programme in Morocco, France and the Netherlands. It will be translated into Arabic, French and English.

The first version of the lexicon will be exhibited at the International Community for Arts Festival in Rotterdam from 24 to 29 March 2020. The deadline for contributions to this version is 20 February.

Publications Calendar

Version 1. Deadline for submissions February 21, 2020. Version 1 will be exhibited at the International Community Arts Festival in Rotterdam, March 24-29, 2020. It will be used as a working tool in a workshop organized during the festival.

Version 2. Deadline for contributions 5 May 2020. Version 2 will be presented in the group exhibition organized at Mahal Art Space, Tangier, from May 28 to June 29, 2020. It will be used as a working tool within the 2 workshops organized in Tangier on the sidelines of the exhibition. This version will be printed in risography in the Kulte Print Studio in Rabat.

Version 3. Deadline for contributions 1 September 2020. Version 3 will be presented in the group exhibition organized in Marseille as part of the programme Les Parallèles du Sud of the Manifesta13 biennial, from September 18 to October 16, 2020.

Contribute to the lexicon: calypso3621 [at]

An itinerant curatorial research program is a context-sensitive, itinerant curatorial research program exploring the notion of permanent liminality within Mediterranean [fluid+solid] territories. Anchored between Morocco, France, and the Netherlands, the program operates a collective and critical rethinking of governance systems shaping the Mediterranean [fluid+solid] borderscapes. From 2019 to 2020, this collaborative effort brings together French, Moroccan and Dutch artists, researchers, designers, architects and activists whose works contest, question or summon Mediterranean [fluid+solid] geographies. The program is structured around a series of stopovers in Morocco, France and in the Netherlands, during which a cycle of exhibitions and workshops will be organised, from March to December 2020 [International Community of Arts Rotterdam + Mahal Art Space Tanger + Les Parallèles du Sud Manifesta 13 Marseille + Jan Van Eyck Academie Maastricht].


Resulting from a 2-years research, a lexicon will be developed, edited, and exhibited throughout the program. Co-produced with designers, artists, journalists and activists, it is an evolving, hybrid editorial object composed of fragments from juridical literature and reports, activists testimonies, artists, media and political discourses, informal narratives and imaginaries as well as visual elements. The lexicon constitutes in itself an alternative map to Mediterranean [fluid+solid] liminal spaces. It will grow at every step of the program, and will be exhibited throughout the year. constitutes an attempt to compose alternative narratives and maps, going beyond inherited narratives and colonial fictions ; to experiment new ways for borders to be sensed, and made sense of. Both a space of passage and of rupture, the Mediterranean Sea constitutes a liminal territory for some of those who cross it. The participatory work of the lexicon allows one to deconstruct this territory, and to free oneself from imposed narratives by exploring their dead angles.

For more information :

The Hidden Life of an Amazon User

A project by Joana Moll, 2019

The Hidden Life of an Amazon User reveals the hidden economic and environmental costs offloaded to, and unwittingly paid for, by the end-user. The Hidden Life of an Amazon User confronts us with the environmental footprint instigated by purchasing a book on 87.33Mb of data is activated to navigate through 12 different interfaces—1307 different requests totaling 8724 pages of printed code—all used for continuously tracking customer behavior to amplify the monetization of the end-user and increase business revenues. To put it bluntly, the user is not just exploited by means of their free labor but is also forced to assume the energy costs of such exploitation.
The project includes three commissioned texts by Jussi Parikka, Jara Rocha and Christian Ulrik Andersen & Søren Bro Pold, available on the projects’ website.

Visit the project:

This work was realized within the framework of the European Media Art Platforms EMARE program at IMPAKT with the support of the Creative Europe Culture Programme of the European Union.

Other works of Joana Mol

Virtual Watchers, 2016
AZ: Move and get shot, 2012
Texas Border, 2011

Image: Joana Mol, 2019

Chronicles at the Border

Chroniques à la frontière (Chronicles at the border) is a 30 minutes solo performance, a theatrical and juggling ticket, a scenic blog. At the crossroads of juggling, clowning and political science, it questions the ways we think, decipher and represent the transformations of borders in the 21st century.

This experiment is the first collaboration attempted by Vincent Berhault and Cédric Parizot. It has been implemented in Aix en Provence, with the support of the International Center for the Arts in Movement (CIAM). The aim was to prepare an art-science piece for the opening of the exhibition/conference Coding and Decoding the Borders at the Brussels School of Architecture.

Conceived as a critical artistic apparatus (dispositif), the preparation of the piece opened a space and time for collaboration between an artist and an anthropologist to put to test modes of communication and ways of writing that are not recognized as legitimate in their respective fields. Hence, Chroniques à la frontière reflects on modes of transmission of knowledge. On stage, through a strange manipulation of objects and concepts, while relying on an autobiographical narrative, an offbeat character oscillates between the conference mode and the confidential mode. Vincent Berhault speaks and plays with objects, materials as varied as sheets of paper, jackets or plastic bags. Chroniques à la frontière questions the impact that scholarly concepts can have when carried by an artistic performance involving the body and dexterity of the gesture.

Stimulated by this first attempt, Vincent Berhault and Cédric Parizot intend to continue their collaboration. In 2016-2017, the artist invited the anthropologist to participate into the writing of a play at the cross road of circus and theatre, Entre. In 2018, they plan to continue this collaboration and create additionnal “small art-science objects”.


Point H^UT, lieu de création urbaine, Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, 11 of March 2016
Maison des jonglages, La Courneuve, 29 of April 2016
Festival Jours [et nuits], Centre international des arts du mouvement, Aix en Provence, 23 of Septembre 2017
University of Bern, Switzerland, 8 march 2018
Maison Méditerranéenne des sciences de l’Homme, Aix en Provence, 28 may 2018
Institut d’études avancées d’Aix Marseille université, Marseille, 5 june 2018
MUCEM, auditorium, 29 septembre 2018
Théâtre de l’Echangeur, 20 octobre 2018
Festival du jeu de l’oie, MUCEM, 21 june 2019


Centre International des Arts du Mouvement
Institut de recherche et d’études sur les mondes arabes et musulmans (UMR7310, Aix Marseille Université, CNRS)
Institut d’études avancées d’Aix Marseille Université

antiAtlas Journal #02, Fictions at the Border, 2017

Directed by Jean Cristofol, Cédric Parizot and Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary

The second issue apprehends fiction as a strategy that tends, through it effect of realty, to introduce stimulating gaps, disturbances and incoherences in what appears as naturally given. Through this, it assess the role that fiction can play in the renewal of our questionings around 21st century’s borders.

Table of contents

– Jean Cristofol, Introduction: fiction and border
– Elena Biserna, Soundborderscapes: Lending a Critical Ear to the Border
– Thomas Cantens, The Political Artithmetic of Borders: Towards an Enlightened Form of Criticism
– Charles Heller et Lorenzo Pezzani, Drifting Images, Liquid Traces: Disrupting the Aesthetic Regime of the EU’s Maritime Frontier
– Raafat Mazjoub, Writing as Architecture: Performing Reality until Reality Complies
– Stéphane Rosière, International Borders, Between Materialisation and Dematerialisation
– Johan Schimanski, Glass Borders

Entre, A Circus Heterography

Next Performance

Théâtre de l’Echangeur, 16-20 October 2018

From circus to research

Entre is a project of artistic creation halfway between circus, theater and anthropology. It sets up an art-science apparatus whose purpose is to explore alternative forms of writing that can offer live performance and including circus to social science research.

This project was initiated by Vincent Berhault, juggler, author and director of the company Les Singuliers. It relies on a collaborative writing, on the stage, that closely associated the performers (Barthélémy Goutet, Benjamin Colin, Grégory Kamoun, Toma Roche and Xavier Kim) and Cedric Parizot (anthropologist).

An alternative form of writing

Hence, Entre proposes another form of writing, at the crossroads of an artistic creation and research. Body and movement languages ​​are associated with verbal communication, not to try to convey a message or analysis about border experience or control, but rather to get viewers to wonder about the very frames and images through which they envision and construct these phenomena.

The process consists of looking for resonance between the sources nourishing the writing and obvious images on the set. Without didacticism, this circus performance echoes an idea, a concept or a theory. The research work on the stage is thus stimulated and the circus dimension of the writing appears particularly in the testing of the bodies and objects (scenographic or accessories) as well as in the permanent questioning of the relation between actors, objects and spectators.

Through the diversion of objects the issue of the loopholes available to man against a large system of monitoring and control is also discussed. By reinventing the use of their surroundings, sometimes in an absurd way, the interpreters refer as much to the dysfunctions of the control systems as to the multiple ways in which they are reappropriated, instrumentalized and diverted by the formal and informal entrepreneurs who seize the opportunities. generated by border closures to human mobility.

The process consists of looking for resonance between the sources nourishing the writing and the images on the stage. Without didacticism, this circus performance echoes an idea, a concept or a theory. The research work on the stage is thus stimulated and the Circassian dimension of the writing appears particularly when bodies and objects (scenographic or accessories) are put to test, as well as through the permanent questioning of the relation between actors, objects and spectators.

The constant diversion of objects evokes the escapes and circumvention available to people submitted to such systems of monitoring and control. By reinventing the use of their surroundings, sometimes in an absurd way, the interpreters refer as much to the dysfunctions of the control systems as to the multiple ways in which they are reappropriated, instrumentalized and diverted by the formal and informal entrepreneurs who seize the opportunities generated by border closures.

Photo, Cedric Parizot, Theatre of Arles, 2017

From the staging of the border to the dehumanization of migrants

Entre is a moving, disturbing piece that questions our relationship with migrants and borders. At a time when our politicians are instrumentalizing, for electioneering purposes, the arrival of refugees fleeing misery and wars and calling for the tightening of border security, this piece is highly relevant.

It starts with a certain gravity, around a tragic story, that of a man, Merhan Karimi Nasseri, this Iranian who remained 16 years locked in the Terminal 1 of Roissy while waiting the settlement of his administrative situation. From the outset, the slowness of his movements and his rhythm of speech contrasts with the frantic pace with which some passengers in transit moves. This sense of dephasing continues to grow, as the piece overlaps and mixes, with the words of this man, locked in circulation, scenes that successively put into play the control of the flow of passengers, the staff in charge of cleaning, the training of future controllers, humanitarians interviewing migrants, a researcher in conference, etc. The multiplication of these fragments, the progressive acceleration of the rhythm of the game come to drown the story and the life of this man to give them an almost anecdotal character. And this is one of the strength of Entre, that of insisting on the fact that the dramaturgy and the security outbid around contemporary borders dehumanize migrants.

But the play goes much further. Oscillating between new circus and theater, alternating between tragic and burlesque, Entre mobilizes a writing and a staging that never leave the viewer time to settle comfortably in a register that he masters. Entre therefore questions doubly: first of all, the outlook and attitude we must adopt towards migrants and border control; and then, the legitimacy of the artistic and scientific forms through which we can evoke, think and approach the phenomena that affect our societies.

Photo, Cedric Parizot, Theatre of Arles, 2017

Author and director: Vincent Berhault

Part of the writing of the show is the result of a research on the set, so the performers are all registered as authors in the repertoire.

With: Barthélémy Goutet, Benjamin Colin, Grégory Kamoun, Toma Roche and Xavier Kim.

Musical composition: Benjamin Colin

Contribution to writing: Cédric Parizot – anthropologist of politics

Costumes: Barthélémy Goutet

Light creation: Benoit Aubry

Decor construction: Plug In Circus


Co-productions and residencies:

Théâtre d’Arles, scène conventionnée art et création – nouvelles écritures
Cie 36 du mois – Cirque 360
Pôle National des Arts du Cirque de la Verrerie, Alès
L’Espace Périphérique de la Villette, Paris

Research in residencies and labs:

L’échangeur à Bagnolet, 20-22 July 2015
2R2C Paris – research lab, 12-15 October 2015.
Centre des arts et du Mouvement (CIAM) Aix-en-Provence – research lab du 24-25 February 2016.
Le Point HauT, lieu du pOlau à St pierre des Corps – scientific and typographic research 4-11 March 2016.
Le vent se lève Pantin – research lab 7-8 May 2016.
Atelier du plateau Paris – research 30 May- 4 June 2016.

Creative residencies

Académie Fratellini Saint-Denis – 27 June-2 July 2016.
l’Espace Périphérique de la Villette Paris – 20-24 February 2017.
Théâtre Sylvia Monfort Paris – 27 February 3 March 2017.
Cie 36 du mois – Cirque 360 – 10-21 April 2017.
PNAC de la Verrerie Alès – 22 May 2 June 2017.
Ville du Plessis-Paté – 15-22 Septembre 2017
Théâtre d’Arles – 23 Octobre 6 Novembre 2017.

Supports and Grants:

assistance to the dramatic production of the DRAC Ile-de-France
assistance to creation for circus art of the DGCA
support of the SACD / Processus Cirque
assistance to the project Région Ile-de-France
Institut de Recherche et d’Etude sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman (UMR7310, Aix Marseille Université, CNRS)
Institut d’Etudes Avancées (IMéRA) d’Aix Marseille Université
aides à la création de l’ADAMI et de la SPEDIDAM

Previous performances

Théâtre d’Arles, 7-8 Novembre 2017
La verrerie d’Alès, 10 Novembre 2017
Festival des illusions, Théâtre Le Monfort, Paris, March 15-18 2018

On line: a manifestation of the human border

June 6 and 9, 2018

On June 9th 2018, the artist Clio Van Aerde will start her expedition during which she seeks to explore the physical border of the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg. The departure and arrival point is Schengen and to arrive back to the starting point, it will take around four weeks. The artist will walk as precisely as possible along the border-line. Thanks to the collaboration with MUDAM, the public will be able to observe the development of this endeavour in real time in the museum and on
on line follows the Walking Art practice and questions the meaning of the border by exploring its physicality on a human scale. This project seeks to enlighten absurdities as for instance privileges and barriers encountered in relation to the possession of a certain passport or another. In the larger sense, nowadays, while some people lead progressively nomadic lives as if the borders had vanished, others perceive the exact same borders as impassable barriers. The body finds itself physically limited while the use of technology, more essential than ever and inexhaustible, surpasses every physical limits. The naive procedure of on line seeks to question what society is taking for granted.
On June 6th at MUDAM, right before the performance and on July 11th (location t.b.c.), after the performance Clio Van Aerde and two members of the Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning of the University of Luxembourg, Estelle Evrard and Cyril Blondel will hold a public debate about on line.

Born in Luxembourg, Clio Van Aerde is an artist and a scenographer, living in Luxembourg and Vienna. She studied in Madrid, Paris and Vienna before graduating in scenography at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien. Her artistic practice questions the trivial relations between body, time and space through performances that explore repetition and endurance. Next to her own practice, Van Aerde also works as a stage and set designer and engages in the organisation and development of the research based residency Antropical as part of Kolla Festival.

Cyril Blondel is post-doc researcher in geography and spatial planning at the University of Luxemburg (Research Unit IPSE). He holds a PhD in planning from the University of Tours, France, since 2016. He was in 2015-2016 Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow at the University of Tartu, Estonia, as part of the FP7 European project RegPol2. He has also been guest researcher in Graz and Leipzig. He is now involved in the H2020 European project RELOCAL that aims at “resituating the local in European Cohesion”. His research interests are mainly connected to the production of spatial justice and territorial development public policy in Europe, in particular in and towards peripheral and border spaces. He is also interested in interactions between art and research. He has conducted his fieldwork mainly in Portugal, Serbia, Croatia, Estonia and France. He is in the first semester of 2018 sharing a residence one week a month with the theatre writer Magali Mougel in the mining basin of Pas-de-Calais in France.

Estelle Evrard is a senior researcher in political geography at the University of Luxembourg. She holds a Master Degree in European Law (2006) from the Institute of European Studies (Brussels) and a PhD in Geography (2013) from the University of Luxembourg. Her interest for the European construction is the common thread through her professional career. Her research deals with the significance of the European integration for localities in terms of governance, autonomy and territoriality. In this endeavour, she understands border areas as exemplary terrain for investigation. She is also interested in the research/practice/policy interface (e.g. ESPON, INTERREG) as well as in the interaction between art and research. She is currently involved in the H2020 European project RELOCAL that aims at “resituating the local in European Cohesion” (2016-2020) and in the INTERREG VA Greater Region “UniGR-Center for Border Studies” project (2018-2020).

Supported by : L’Œuvre Nationale de Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte
In collaboration with : Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean et de l’Université du Luxembourg
technological equipment : Motion-S
technical equipment : Saturn
Provision of cartographic data: Administration du Cadastre et de la Topographie, Luxembourg
Documentary : Catherine Dauphin
Artistic consultant : Camille Chanel

Exhibition: Thierry Fournier, Machinal, Villa Henry, Nice

Personal exhibition
Villa Henry, Nice
Curator Isabelle Pellegrini

From March 25 to April 28, 2018, on appointment
Opening with the artist on March 24 from 14h to 19h
Talk from 4pm to 5pm with Thierry Fournier, Isabelle Pellegrini and Fabienne Grasser-Fulchéri, exhibition curator and art critic, director of the Espace de l’Art Concret in Mouans-Sartoux


Isabelle Pellegrini presents Machinal at the Villa Henry, a solo exhibition by Thierry Fournier that follows his residency for the creation of En Vigie, associated here with three other works.

Today, many images are no longer produced in immediate relation with the human eye, but are produced autonomously by machines and programs. Most of these “assisted visions” are deployed in the military or on the web (Google, Apple, Facebook…), where the detection and anticipation of behaviors is often using similar means for security or commercial purposes. These “intelligent machines” analyze images but can also perform autonomous actions, as in the case of UAVs. In this context, how do we still define our gaze and responsibility? What is our role when we are dealing with systems that not only extend our vision but anticipate it, even replace it? Do we expect machines to look at our place – even to look at us and define us? What are we trying to see (or not see) through them?

Thierry Fournier’s practice frequently posits the fictional hypothesis that things (objects, landscape, network, machines…) would have their own life, by creating situations of displacement or confrontation with them. With the exhibition Machinal, he brings together four works in which our gaze is inseparable from that of these devices. The term “machinal” here refers both to a thought that no longer pays attention to its object (or whose attention is absorbed and captured by devices, as on the Internet) – and the look produced by the machines themselves, autonomously: machinal as one would say animal. The classical frameworks of the gaze as perspective and horizon are then redefined as a territory that is shared, even negotiated, between our own vision and the one that devices deploy on the world and on ourselves.

En Vigie / Nice (2018) is a generative video where a program scrutinizes a landscape of horizon, deploying a cinematographic suspense that invites us to espouse its own logic. The installation Just in Case (2017) ironically imagines that a program would be legitimate to detect if we are indeed human, riveting us to the spectacle of its calculation and waiting for its verdict. With Penser voir (2018), a surveillance camera targeting a beach testifies by a synthetic voice of its inability to detect anything. The series of digital images Non-Lieu (2016) uses photographs of bombardments found on the web and replaces everything that makes it possible to identify the place with a background pattern. Through this set of four pieces, the exhibition proposes a more general reflection on the links and limits between humans and machines, our responsibility and our gaze.

Around the exhibition

A talk will take place on March 24, 4pm to 5pm, with Thierry Fournier, Isabelle Pellegrini and Fabienne Grasser-Fulchéri, exhibition curator and art critic, director of the Espace de l’Art Concret in Mouans-Sartoux.

Pandore Édition also publishes a catalogue that includes a text by critic and philosopher Céline Flécheux (L’horizon, Klincksieck, 2014; L’horizon, des traités de perspective au Land Art, P. U. de Rennes, 2009), an interview with Isabelle Pellegrini and documentation on the works.

Thierry Fournier | Non-lieu 2

Thierry Fournier – En Vigie

Series of generative videos, 16/9e, 20’, with sound, on loop
LCD screen, usb key, sound, 2018

En Vigie (The Lookout) is a series of generative videos, which establishes a paradoxical relationship between looking and waiting. A landscape chosen by the sea or a large river is filmed in a fixed shot. The image is then interpreted by a program: each movement is highlighted, like a firefly. All these movements control the movement of a reading head in an orchestral crescendo, which never ceases to vary and whose climax never occurs.

Through this situation of artificial cinematographic suspense, the landscape and the horizon become the object of a shared gaze between human and machine, which questions our physical limits but also the contemporary forms of augmented surveillance – of which the Mediterranean territory is particularly invested.

The series includes three autonomous videos: En Vigie / Strasbourg (2017), En Vigie / Nice and En Vigie / Venise (2018), each lasting approximately 20′, on loop. En Vigie / Nice is presented as part of the solo exhibition Machinal, Villa Henry, Nice, from 25 March to 28 April 2018, accompanied by a catalogue with a text by Céline Flécheux and an interview with Isabelle Pellegrini.

A Crossing Industry, a video game between art and research

Ethnographic research, artistic creation and video-game technology

A Crossing Industry focuses on the operations of the Israeli separation regime in the West Bank during the three years following the second Intifada (2007-2010). Still in development, it is being produced by a transdisciplinary team composed of an anthropologist (Cédric Parizot), an artist (Douglas Edric Stanley), a philosopher (Jean Cristofol) and ten students at the École supérieure d’art d’Aix-en-Provence. In this contribution, we discuss how game video technology has allowed the team to use a documentary approach to model ethnographic analysis, using artistic conceptualization with its own aesthetic and poetic issues.

Our initial reflections on the content and the format for our game took place at the École d’Art d’Aix-en-Provence. We regularly met at Douglas’ Hypermedia Workshop (Atelier Hypermédia), where he and his students experiment with programming in their artistic practices.

In October 2013, the project finally adopted a graphic language which uses low-poly 3D objects, a single background with grey nuances (empty with no visible ground) and primary colours for representing different types of places (Israeli-controlled zones, Palestinian zones, etc.) and the specific status of individuals (Palestinians, Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, Israeli Jews, soldiers, border guards, etc.). By placing these objects on a map similar to the one I had drawn, we were able to develop the first layout for the navigational space.

This first draft made us realize that there were substantial gaps between Cedric’s scientific proposal and the artistic conceptualization developed by Douglas and the students. At this point, we realized that we had to rethink our respective positions. I could no longer remain in my role as transmitter of knowledge, while the artists needed to objectivize that knowledge through the coding of a visual language, text and rules of interaction. We had to give much greater thought to understanding how we could work through these difficulties.

A critical and artistic documentary

In September 2014, we explored new lines of articulation and a new scenario. Cedric Parizot attempted to appropriate the graphic language provided by Unity and the software for writing scenarios. The reflections generated by these attempts allowed him to make a critical appraisal of the hegemonic character that he had given to certain regimes of visibility, such as cartography. They also allowed him to understand the contingent and intersubjective nature involved in constructing an argument through a video game. Finally, they contributed to a rethinking of the various forms of intervention that A Crossing Industry could offer. This is in fact how the game was able to assume fully its role as critical documentary: not so much because it could document a situation in the field, but because it forced the team to reflect on their methods of accessing and constructing a reality.

Cédric Parizot, Douglas Edric Stanley – A Crossing Industry 2014 from antiAtlas Journal on Vimeo.

In the second draft we aimed to put on stage the story of a young Palestinian man who returns to his home village just after the Second Intifada (2000-2004). After several years abroad, he discovers not only that his village is now blocked in by Israeli settlements and the Wall of Separation, but also that restrictions on movement around the village have been tightened. But the Israelis are not the only people to introduce regulations on the movement of people and merchandise. As he rediscovers his bearings, he learns about a informal economy that organizes the passage of Palestinians into Israel. It involves Palestinians, Israelis and sometimes people of other nationalities.

For more elements on the process of creation of the game see: Parizot, Cedric, Stanley, Douglas Edric, “Research, Art and Video games: Ethnography of an extra-disciplinary exploration”, antiAtlas Journal, 01 | 2016, [Online], published on June 30th, 2016

Another writing and teaching format

In 2016, given the persistent gaps between the graphics and the scenario and the difficulty of moving forward, we chose to restart from scratch. Cédric Parizot then changed medium to think the framework of the scenario. From text writing, he moved to the drawing a dozen scenes. On this basis, the story and the graphical interface have been completely redesigned. This new project now involves Cédric Parizot, Douglas Edric Stanley and Robin Moretti.

The new scenario revolves around a young French anthropologist who leaves an Israeli city in the Negev desert to cross to the other side of the wall and reach a Palestinian village. He is scheduled to meet with a final interlocutor to finalize his investigation of the smuggling networks that facilitate the passage of Palestinian workers to Israel. However, he never meet this person. In the absence of this meeting, he has to improvise and seek new contacts among his relatives and relations. In doing so, he realizes that Israelis and Palestinians are much more interconnected than the Israeli political project of separation suggests.

Based on this story, the goal is to produce a playful documentary based on an artistic and critical approach of the operation of the Israeli separation regime imposed on Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. The challenge is also to experiment and develop new writing practices that combine research, art and video-game technology in order to:
– build and shape a knowledge coming from an ethnographic research
– create training materials for young artists and
young researchers in human sciences
– develop new tools for writing and non-linear forms of narration for researchers and independent artists.


Cedric Parizot
Douglas Edric Stanley
Robin Moretti
Jean Cristofol
Yohan Dumas
Benoit Espinola
Tristan Fraipont
Émilie Gervais
Théo Goedert
Mathieu Gonella
Martin Greffe
Bastien Hudé
Thomas Molles
Milena Walter.


Institut de recheche et d’études sur le monde arabe et musulmans (UMR7310, Aix Marseille Université, CNRS)
Ecole supérieure d’art d’Aix en Provence
Institut d’études avancées d’Aix Marseille Unuversité (IMéRA)
French Ministry of Culture

Hervé Braik – New needs and solutions for land border surveillance

Hervé Braik – Thalès, France

Given the overall increase in illegal and criminal activities at state borders, which in some cases include terrorist attacks, many countries have an obligation to strengthen border controls in order not to jeopardise their development and/or to ensure their security. Urgently needing to improve the efficiency of surveilling devices and not being able to recruit thousands of people to monitor borders, governments increasingly choose to equip themselves with integrated surveillance systems.

Call for Papers: Margins and digital technologies, Journal des anthropologues

Call for papers for the Journal des anthropologues on the theme Margins and Digital Technologies

Social, political, cultural and economic challenges raised by digital technologies are often studied from the perspective of the educated urban populations who live in North America and Western Europe. Hence, these tools are attributed great powers. Their capacity to accelerate interactions and to reduce space-time distance is believed to impact deeply the ways we think and live. The kind of relations and simultaneous presence they foster have led us to reconsider communities, institutions and spaces using other models than those of discrete groups structured by territoriality. Moreover, it is generally considered that these technologies have reshaped the political economy of public speech in our societies, since they offer individuals or groups condemned to a form of social invisibility means to express themselves in the public space.

This call for papers asks for a shift of perspective by questioning the challenges raised by digital technologies from the “margins”. Contributors will be asked to focus on the ways they impact people’s lives outside of Western Europe and North America, as well as in spaces constructed as marginal. What shapes does the digital economy take within these spaces, through formal and informal channels? How do individuals appropriate the many existing technological devices generated by digital technologies? What are the new hierarchies and inequalities created by the (lack of) dissemination of these new tools?

Contributors will also focus on the ways minoritized groups are using digital tools for social, political, cultural or economic intervention. They should adopt a critical perspective by paying attention both to the limits and the ambiguities of the ways marginalized actors use these tools. While, digital tools have been used to promote emancipation, they can also lead to new forms of domination and enslavement.

Finally, this call for papers aims to promote a theoretical discussion about the notion of margins itself. How can we construct a robust notion of margins (be they spatial, political, cultural, or economic) in a world shaped by codes, algorithms, flux and networks, where the notions of distance, proximity, subject and object have to be re-examined?

Conducted by an interdisciplinary team, this call for papers is aimed at social scientists as well as digital practitioners (artists, programmers, hackers, etc…). This deliberately open call should allow for robust discussion with other research methodologies, social or artistic points of view. We will focus on three topics in this special issue:

Deconstructing and reconstructing margins

The papers should re-consider the ways by which margins are constructed. Contributors will question the relevance of this cultural and political construct, shaped by an Euclidian perception of space, that still dissociate between “centers” and “peripheries”. To what extent the study of different modes of appropriation of digital tools can highlight the situated and ethnocentered dimensions of this notion?

Margins and modes of appropriation of digital technologies

The papers should also focus on the specificities of modes of appropriation of digital tools in spaces constructed as marginal. How does digital technology pervades these spaces? Through which networks of formal/informal economy? How do dominant actors of digital technologies adapt to those modes of appropriation? In what ways marginal spaces are also places that favours offshoring strategies conceived by the dominant actors ? Digital technologies are often studied in urban contexts, how are they used in rural contexts? How do individuals, considered to be living at the margins, actually use digital tools? Can we consider margins as labs to understand the ways in which people subvert digital norms and dominant codes?

Margins and digital tools, between domination and resistance

Finally, the papers should discuss the ways marginalised actors (individuals, artistic and cultural groups, political groups…) use digital tools to defend their rights. How are those tools used by those actors (as means to transgress censorship, as means to gain visibility, as tools to mobilize…)? How do they organize, spread information, towards which audiences, on which scales and with what consequences? To what extent are those tools also constraining and how do those constraints impact people’s initiatives? What is the impact of these tactics compared to the strategies of social, political, economical and cultural domination, which also largely use digital tools?

Editorial team

Tristan Mattelart : Professor, International Communication Paris 8-Vincennes-Saint-Denis  Univeristy, Culture & Communication, member of the CEMTI

Cédric Parizot : Anthropologist of politics at the Institut d’Etudes et de Recherche sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman – IREMAM (CNRS, Aix Marseille Université) Aix en Provence.

Julie Peghini : Anthropologist, Associate professor, department Culture and Communication   Paris 8-Vincennes-Saint-Denis University,  member of the CEMTI

Nadine Wanono: Anthropologist and filmmaker, Researcher CNRS, Institut des Mondes   africains


– 1st of June 2014: Abstract should be send at: 1000 and 1500 words
– 30 June 2014 : Answer to the authors
– Final version (40.000 typed characters, including spaces) should be received by November 2014
– This special issue will be published by the end of 2015

Call for Papers: Managing International Migration? Visa Policies, Politics, and Practice [EN]

Workshop, 28 September 2015
We invite abstracts on the theme of Managing International Migration?, Visa Policies, Politics, and Practice for a cross-regional, one-day workshop to be held on or around 28 September 2015 at the University of Oxford, UK.

Please send a 200-word abstract to by 17 July 2015. Final papers will be expected by mid September.

States are increasingly attempting to externalize migration controls beyond their borders. Visa policies, politics and practices are a primary form of this extraterritorial bordering. Visa policies are informed by diverse considerations from international relations to economic policy, migration management and security. They define and distinguish between un/desired and il/legitimate visitors and migrants, creating a global hierarchy of mobility by differentiating countries and their citizens into those who do and do not require visas.

Despite their broad reach, the implementation of visa policies is not straightforward. Visa policies have negative effects on bilateral trade, travel and foreign direct investment, and may conflict with foreign policy goals. Moreover, visa policies are interpreted by street-level bureaucrats, manipulated by immigration advice agencies, confronted with individual aspirations, and undermined by unlawful activities.

We are interested in a variety of methodologies, disciplinary perspectives, and comparative approaches. Some of the research questions that have animated this call for papers include the following:

– How to conceptualize and theorize of visa policies and politics?
– How are visa policies constructed and what are the trade-offs and goals behind these policies? How do national identities or state security interests affect visa policies?
– How do organisational cultures and bureaucrats’ practices shape policy implementation?
– What is the influence of non-state actors (lobby groups, advice agencies, visa processing centres) on policy design, policy outcomes and policy diffusion?
– How do visa policies in the ‘global north’ compare to those in the ‘global south and east’?
– How has EU visa liberalization evolved? Relation between national and supranational policies?
– How do visa policies regulating different types of mobility compare (e.g. exit and entry visa; tourist, family, labour and study visas)?
– How do visa requirements shape the perceptions, behaviour and strategies of would-be travellers/migrants?
– What are the determinants of visa overstaying?
– What are the research gaps in the literature on visa policies?

We envisage a minimum of three panels with three papers each, hence a total of at least nine papers and ample time for discussion. We are planning for a mix of existing, recent and ongoing research papers. We aim to publish a collection of (previously unpublished) papers from this and a parallel workshop in Canada. We have limited funding to contribute towards travel and accommodation costs.

Franck Düvell, University of Oxford
Federica Infantino, University of Oxford
Ċetta Mainwaring, University of Waterloo

Power Brokers and their ‘Clients’: Investigating the Relation between Migration Control Practices and would-be Travelers/Migrants Strategies [EN]

Call for Papers: Power Brokers and their ‘Clients’: Investigating the Relation between Migration Control Practices and would-be Travelers/Migrants Strategies

IPSA/AISP 24th World Congress of Political Science July 23-28, 2016 | Istanbul, Turkey

Submission deadline 7 October 2015
Language: English

Convenor: Dr. Federica Infantino
Chair: Mr. Hugo Bréant
Co-chair: Dr. Federica Infantino
Session: RC32 Public Policy and Administration

The control of international mobility and of the legal departure of migrants has increased in the last decades. State and non-state actors are involved in the management of migrations. Migration control aims at filtering individuals according to normative criteria. However, we know little about the ways in which power brokers and prospective migrants shape such control on the ground. This panel proposes to investigate how migration control on the ground creates inequalities and how inequalities are challenged in the everyday.

We invite communications that focus on the analysis of ‘street-level bureaucracies’ and their daily work of law application. Who are the actors asked to manage migrations in practice? How do the organizational role, personal representations, discretionary power legally framed and the reorganization of tasks (via the cooperation with non-state actors for instance) locally shape migration control? We invite also communications that analyze the recipients of control and their coping mechanisms. Who are those who succeed? Do they conform to the role assigned by the institution? How do they adapt to this « law-in-action » ? Do their behavior disturb the standards of the institution? The panel welcomes also proposals that address the interactions between state practices and would-be migrants strategies. We encourage proposals that build on comparative research design.

Gaza Unreleased

Scientific and cultural international days – 21 March 2016 – Paris/Marseille

Download the program

Despite the blockade and more than eight years of repeated assaults, the Gaza Strip continues to survive, live and create. A small piece of land in the middle of a tormented region, Gaza is an essential part of Palestine’s future, with social-cultural dynamics, as well as resistance strategies, which are its own. Central to the Palestinian national question and the evolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Gaza is also crucial to understanding a number of issues which Arab and Muslim societies are confronted with.

This conference will present recent works on the Gaza Strip and the scientific issues they raise, such as methodological concerns related to the production of knowledge in a war zone, restrictions of access to the field and the closing of borders. The increasing marginalization of the Gaza Strip and its inhabitants, whose relationships to the outside have been cut off, have impeded knowledge of a particularly rich social, political and cultural history. The closure of Gaza has made fieldwork studies almost impossible, hence impeding the production of knowledge on the contemporary period, as well as policy planning.

The event, a debate gathering actors from Gazan civil society, round tables and conferences dedicated to art and culture, will bear witness to the great artistic and civil vitality found in the Gaza Strip. It will therefore highlight Gaza’s emergent cultural scenes and the role increasingly played by the media and social networks, contrarily to simplistic images often conveyed. Through their images and words, these artists’ messages resonate beyond borders. They reveal their native land under another light, despite the constrained conditions of creation and circulation.

Gaza Unreleased will bring together for 4 days in Paris and Marseille contributors from different backgrounds: researchers (archaeologists, historians, political scientists, sociologists, anthropologists, economists) but also journalists, diplomats, artists, humanitarian workers, committed citizens from Gaza, the West Bank, France, Europe, United States…

Scientific coordinators: Stéphanie Latte Abdallah and Marion Slitine

Nouvelle étape de « Moving Beyond Borders » à Arcueil (94) [FR]

Moving Beyond Borders
Photo (c) Pauline Duclos

Une exposition itinérante de Migreurop et mise en scène par la compagnie Étrange Miroir. A Anis Gras – le Lieu de l’Autre, Arcueil, du 21 janvier au 6 février 2016

Interactive, multimédia et accessible à tou.te.s, l’exposition vise à lutter contre les préjugés et les idées reçues sur les migrant.e.s ainsi qu’à dénoncer les politiques de mise à l’écart des exilé.e.s jugé.e.s indésirables sur le territoire européen.

Cette exposition, mise en scène par la compagnie Etrange Miroir, s’intéresse aux parcours des migrant.e.s et pointe les dispositifs responsables de leur périlleuse traversée, dans le Sahara, en mer Méditerranée et/ou aux frontières orientales de l’Union européenne.
Dans la continuité des campagnes Open Access Now/Close the Camps et Frontexit de Migreurop, « Moving Beyond Borders » (MBB) est un outil de sensibilisation « tout public » inscrit dans une perspective à la fois militante et artistique. Elle vise à partager dix ans d’observations et de recherches sur les entraves, les injustices et les violations des droits des personnes migrantes. Elle entend aussi promouvoir une autre vision du monde, où la liberté de circulation serait garantie pour toutes et tous, et à ce titre constituer un vecteur de changement social au profit d’une société plus juste et plus équitable.

L’exposition itinérante MBB propose une approche multimédia des réalités migratoires. Des cartes, pour saisir les parcours des personnes et la façon dont les contrôles aux frontières se déplacent et s’externalisent. Des photographies, pour illustrer les conséquences d’une gestion sécuritaire de la question migratoire, telle qu’elle s’observe en Europe et au-delà. Des paysages sonores, pour accompagner et mettre en relief les supports visuels. L’exposition est constituée de cinq modules interactifs, les trois premiers touchant des réalités contemporaines, les derniers imaginant deux scenarios opposés quant aux possibles évolutions futures des politiques migratoires européennes.

Etrange Miroir, le réseau Migreurop et Anis Gras vous invitent à découvrir l’exposition « Moving Beyond Borders » (MBB) et à participer à la rencontre « La cartographie à l’épreuve de la représentation des flux migratoires » qui aura lieu le 21 janvier.

La représentation cartographique des mouvements migratoires concentre des enjeux de formes (flux, stocks) et de fonds (cohérence et disponibilité des données). La position d’un cartographe n’étant jamais neutre, les messages proposés par les cartes relatives aux migrations de populations sont aussi le reflet d’un positionnement faisant écho à l’actualité.

La rencontre sera animée par Olivier Clochard (géographe, Migrinter, Migreurop) et Philippe Rekacewicz (cartographe, Visions Carto) – auteurs d’une partie des cartes animées qui composent MBB – ainsi que par Françoise Bahoken (cartographe, Inrets) et Elsa Tyszler (sociologue, Migreurop). Elle se tiendra de 16 h 00 à 18 h 00.

ANIS GRAS – le lieu de l’autre du jeudi 21 janvier au samedi 6 février 2016
55, avenue Laplace – 94110 Arcueil
Accès RER B station Laplace-Maison des Examens
Entrée libre

Horaires d’ouverture :
L’équipe d’Anis Gras vous accueille 1h avant les soirs de représentation (voir programmation) et tous les vendredis de 12h à 18h.

Sites web :
Migreurop | Etrange Miroir | Anis Gras

Pages FB :
Moving Beyond Borders – Paris / Arcueil 2016 | Migreurop | Etrange Miroir | Anis Gras

Regarder le teaser en ligne :

Pour plus d’informations :
Pour Migreurop :
Pour Anis Gras :

source : Migreurop

Margins and Digital Technologies

Journal des anthropologues, n° 142-143

Issue edited by Tristan Mattelart, Cédric Parizot, Julie Peghini and Nadine Wanono
Read the introduction in English


The social, political, cultural and economic issues raised by digital tools are usually seen from the perspective of highly-educated and wealthy young urban adults in North America and Western Europe. The call for papers for this issue of Journal des Anthropologues sought to encourage authors to take a different approach. We wanted them to problematize the challenges raised by digital technologies and their utilization ‘at the margin’. Thus, contributors were first asked to seize the significance of the digital technologies outside American and European societies or, at least, at the margins of these societies. What forms does the digital economy take in these spaces? How do individuals adopt products in this economy? Our objective was also to understand how, whether at the ‘margin’ or in the ‘centre’ of the global system, minority actors mobilize digital technologies to achieve their social, cultural and political goals, while being conscious of the limits of these mobilizations.

The End of Maps?

The Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University will hold an international conference and, in partnership with Kareron, an exhibition walk curated by Isabelle Arvers. These two highlights of the Némo Biennal conclude the art and research program The End of Maps? Dream Territories, Normalized Territories, begun in 2013.

The End of Maps? Dream Territories, Normalized Territories (La Fin des cartes ? Territoires rêvés, territoires normalisés) merges scientific research and artistic practice to question the representation of territories from a technological, scientific, political and urbanistic point of view. Producing imagery that is both captivating and disturbing, the map and its virtual variations (3D representations, digital mock-ups, etc.) are an object of research but also a method for anyone who wants to address the city in terms of design, anthropology, urban planning, history or geography. But this “method” is problematic. Beginning with its title The End of Maps? Dream Territories, Standardized Territories, the project aims to create tension between the subjective and appropriative visions that people have of their territories, and the increasingly powerful and inquisitive tools that tend to absorb these representations.

The project will be take place over two years (2013–2015) through the organization of mobile working groups involving the main project partners, a research workshop (October 2013), two exhibitions (Spring 2014 and Fall 2015), and an international symposium (November 2015). A publication –an exhibition catalog together with the conference proceedings- is also planned (2016). The work done during this period will contribute to a database, Art / Mapping Knowledge Base, which aims to identify a wide range of art-related mapping projects and to provide a critical look at the work done by their authors.

1 – International conference

Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Belleville, November 19-20, 2015
9h – 18h, 60 Boulevard de la Villette, 75019 Paris

The international conference will take place over two days and will bring together anthropologists, architects, geographers, artists, curators, and graduate students, for a serie of presentations, round table discussions and conversations. The project aims to create a tension between the subjective and appropriative visions that people have of their territories, and the increasingly powerful and inquisitive tools that tend to absorb these representations.

2 – Exhibition walk

The exhibition walk consists of two exhibitons curated by Isabelle Arvers and three others exhibitons presented in association with The End of Maps? program.

Le Shakirail, November 12 – 22
Espace des Arts sans Frontières, November 18 – 23

Curator: Isabelle Arvers. An exhibition conceived as a walk between different spaces to invite the audience to wander and to shape a collective reappropriation of a territory through cartography. A walk between maps, models, installations, workshops and drifts, imagined in answer to the questions raised by the research projet The End of Maps?

Associated spaces:

Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Belleville, November 16 – December 14
Espace Khiasma, Octobre 22 – December 19
Immanence, November 18 – December 19

> Detailed program: