Global Mobility and Migration Governance – ANR Funded Project 2013-2015

Project summary

Worldwide mobility is a part of the social texture of globalisation and international relations. It is both a cause and a consequence of globalisation, and the response of national and international political institutions is key to any analysis of governance and social transformation on a global scale. It is one of the tension points in modern politics at both a national and international level. This project looks at international organisations, national and regional migration policies of different countries, ways of organising the living space of migrants and refugees and the transnational social dynamics of mobility. It describes the political and social structures and trends of mobility, mainly through the empirical observation of the practices of institutions and actors (countries, international organisations, migrants, refugees, networks etc.) involved in the governance of mobility. It also seeks to analyse the representations linked to these practices, and the devices of regulation, ideology and identity politics on which they are based. The researchers involved in this project favour an empirical approach together with a systematization following the models of political science, sociology, anthropology and political economy. They have also chosen to tie their research to political and social issues, and to produce an empirically grounded discussion on migration policies and migration politics. They share a common interest and critical insight on public action, both national and international, its norms and its principles in relation to mobility.

The first line of this study is concerned with practice and representations in the management of mobility in international politics. It aims to question the notion of the global governance of mobility, including economic migration and the tide of refugees. International organisations, their interaction with non-governmental players in policies on international migration and the tide of refugees are at the heart of political measures made up of speeches and practice. The overall methodology of this task is that of the sociology of international politics and organisations.

Researchers involved are Thomas Lacroix, Antoine Pécoud, Hélène Thiollet, Catherine Wihtol de Wenden.

The second line of study focuses on the regional governance of migration in Europe and the Middle East/the Mediterranean. It involves determining the place of an individual country in the governance of mobility on a regional scale, in Europe in particular, between the end of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first centuries. “Governance” hovers between integration cooperation and “the restatement of sovereignty” in the management of international migration, notably at a time of economic and financial crisis, and we study the consequences of current political and economic crises on the mobility of individuals.

Researchers involved are Pauline Brucker, Thomas Lacroix, Hélène Thiollet, Catherine Wihtol de Wenden.

The third line of study in this project is an ethnographical approach to both institutional and informal camps of refugees, migrants and/or asylum seekers, looking closely at the social transformations at work in these transnational social spaces. It bears on the modes of governance used by humanitarian players in the context of crises, and also on the agency of the population involved, and analyses this through the structure of space for relegation and /or confinement on a global scale.

Researchers involved are Michel Agier, Clare Lecadet, Hélène Thiollet.

The fourth line of study is a reflection on the future of contemporary measures meant to limit mobility with a particular focus on “walls”. It first explores through an interactive experimental workshop, different scenarios that could happen if border were opened and mobility “liberalised”. It then explores the role and function of walls in the current governance of mobility. This part of the project is a theoretical and prospective continuation of the knowledge and analysis deployed within the framework of this project.

Researchers involved are Pauline Brucker, François Gemenne, Hélène Thiollet.