Lunch seminar: Halvar Kjærre – The sovereign production of nomadic lives: Understanding the im/mobility of Afghan migrants in Europe

May 23, 2017 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Sosiologisk Institutt, Ground floor, the seminar room
Rosenbergsgaten 39
5015 Bergen

This presentation draws on recent fieldwork among Afghan migrants in Europe. I will discuss how we can understand the intra-European mobility of Afghan migrants after they have received a negative decision on their asylum application in Norway. At the present moment, interlocutors in this project, who have all received a negative decision on their asylum applications in Norway, are located across a range of countries stretching between Australia, Malaysia, and Indonesia in the east to the US and Canada in the west. My project limits itself to the exploration of the European context as a specific sphere of circulation that is intrinsically linked to the Schengen area, the Common European asylum system, the Dublin regulations as well as the diverging migration policies of different sovereign states. In my fieldwork, I have followed Afghan migrants across various European countries and places (Norway, Italy, Greece, France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden), some of them since 2009-2010. Prolonged mobile engagements (rather than a more traditional sedentary methods and notions of the field) enables us to understand how mobility and immobility is related in different ways, but also how various aspects of the migrant’s lives change over time and between the different places in their migration trajectories. Identity, living conditions, social status, legal status, social relations as well as the migrant’s desires and hopes are not constant, but change, along their journeys. Following mobile people over time also gives you insights in their migratory tactics and the burden that is imnposed upon them by different sovereign states. Drawing on Deleuze and Guatari’s (1986) notion of the nomad as an hostile force against the state, and Agamben’s (1998) notion of the inclusively excluded and bare life of the banned Homo Sacer as constitutive of sovereign power, this presentation will discuss the explanatory potential of “the sacred nomad” as a suggested figure to understand the ir/regular mobilities of contemporary Afghan migrants in Europe.

Halvar Andreassen Kjærre

Halvar Andreassen Kjørre is a PhD candidate at IMER Bergen / Department of social Anthropology (UiB). His main field of interest is irregular migration, asylum regimes, migration control and mobility studies. The topic of his PhD thesis is the intra-European mobility of Afghan migrants in Europe.