The aim of this thesis is to critically address the issue of temporary reception of refugees and asylum seekers in Europe, by focusing on the diverse practices and strategies that migrants put in place within and against the European borderscape. The objects of the research are the migrant squats – housing occupations of migrants and activists from the solidarity movement – that function both as spaces of self-organised reception and as instances of migrants' political resistance to the European border regime. Migrants' occupations are interpreted as spaces of autonomous geographies as they set the ground for developing new spatial imaginaries, practices and experiences, in which migrants' subjectivities are enacted, through a combination of resistance and creation. Athens, Greece, offers a peculiar socio-political landscape where these experiences can take place and provides the ground for the empirical research. The thesis consists of four chapters, written in the form of academic papers. The first paper focuses on the socio-political form of the migrant squats and the socio-spatial interactions they foster and generate, within them and in the city of Athens. Theoretically, the article develops along the lines of three concepts: citizenship, space and autonomy. Migrant squats are interpreted here as practices and sites for contesting citizenship as an exclusionary feature and a category of political status. The occupations contribute to claiming migrants' presence in the space of the city while they perform acts of citizenship from below. The second paper depicts a portrait of Exarcheia, the neighbourhood that acts as a scenario for the experiences described in this thesis. Known for its ‘resistance identity’, Exarcheia counts in its space numerous political squats and autonomous centres. Characterised by ‘porosity’, the neighbourhood is a theatre of emancipating practices and expressive acts of encounter of multiple subjectivities struggling to establish antagonistic modes of social existence. Meanwhile, however, Exarcheia is targeted by attempts of external interference, which are changing its physical appearance and compromising its political spirit. This work aims at narrating the neighbourhood’s life, depicting its radical urban fabric while highlighting its internal contradictions. The third paper analyses a specific migrant squat – 'City Plaza Refugee Accommodation and Solidarity Space' – as a 'centre of struggle', focusing on the dynamics it generates between the different subjectivities that inhabit the occupation. Central to the analysis is cohabitation as a form of resistance to the precarious nature of migrant bodies, as well as self-organisation as a strategy for deconstructing the mainstream image of 'refugee' or 'immigrant' as a passive object of the migration process. At the same time, the article reflects on the contradictions and ambiguities embedded in these forms of socio-political organisation. Transversal to the whole investigation is the physical spatiality of City Plaza, along with the different temporalities that intersect in the space. The fourth paper further elaborates on the concept of citizenship, adopting a multidimensional perspective. Through a reflection on migrant squats as instances of border struggle rescaled in the urban context, the article seeks to articulate a critique of the concept of citizenship as a legal status linked to a state-centred liberal political subjectivity. The article emphasises the urban dimension as a strategic space for transformative activist politics, providing the ground for the enactment of migrant subjectivities. The thesis is based on fieldwork I undertook in Athens from November 2016 until September 2017, and from May to September 2018. During this time I lived in the City Plaza squat and participated in its activities, while I was actively involved in the political and social life of other migrant occupations in the city.

Migrant strategies of self-organisation within and against the European border regime. The case of the City Plaza Hotel in Athens / Raimondi, Valeria. - (2019 Sep 27).

Migrant strategies of self-organisation within and against the European border regime. The case of the City Plaza Hotel in Athens

RAIMONDI, VALERIA
2019

Abstract

The aim of this thesis is to critically address the issue of temporary reception of refugees and asylum seekers in Europe, by focusing on the diverse practices and strategies that migrants put in place within and against the European borderscape. The objects of the research are the migrant squats – housing occupations of migrants and activists from the solidarity movement – that function both as spaces of self-organised reception and as instances of migrants' political resistance to the European border regime. Migrants' occupations are interpreted as spaces of autonomous geographies as they set the ground for developing new spatial imaginaries, practices and experiences, in which migrants' subjectivities are enacted, through a combination of resistance and creation. Athens, Greece, offers a peculiar socio-political landscape where these experiences can take place and provides the ground for the empirical research. The thesis consists of four chapters, written in the form of academic papers. The first paper focuses on the socio-political form of the migrant squats and the socio-spatial interactions they foster and generate, within them and in the city of Athens. Theoretically, the article develops along the lines of three concepts: citizenship, space and autonomy. Migrant squats are interpreted here as practices and sites for contesting citizenship as an exclusionary feature and a category of political status. The occupations contribute to claiming migrants' presence in the space of the city while they perform acts of citizenship from below. The second paper depicts a portrait of Exarcheia, the neighbourhood that acts as a scenario for the experiences described in this thesis. Known for its ‘resistance identity’, Exarcheia counts in its space numerous political squats and autonomous centres. Characterised by ‘porosity’, the neighbourhood is a theatre of emancipating practices and expressive acts of encounter of multiple subjectivities struggling to establish antagonistic modes of social existence. Meanwhile, however, Exarcheia is targeted by attempts of external interference, which are changing its physical appearance and compromising its political spirit. This work aims at narrating the neighbourhood’s life, depicting its radical urban fabric while highlighting its internal contradictions. The third paper analyses a specific migrant squat – 'City Plaza Refugee Accommodation and Solidarity Space' – as a 'centre of struggle', focusing on the dynamics it generates between the different subjectivities that inhabit the occupation. Central to the analysis is cohabitation as a form of resistance to the precarious nature of migrant bodies, as well as self-organisation as a strategy for deconstructing the mainstream image of 'refugee' or 'immigrant' as a passive object of the migration process. At the same time, the article reflects on the contradictions and ambiguities embedded in these forms of socio-political organisation. Transversal to the whole investigation is the physical spatiality of City Plaza, along with the different temporalities that intersect in the space. The fourth paper further elaborates on the concept of citizenship, adopting a multidimensional perspective. Through a reflection on migrant squats as instances of border struggle rescaled in the urban context, the article seeks to articulate a critique of the concept of citizenship as a legal status linked to a state-centred liberal political subjectivity. The article emphasises the urban dimension as a strategic space for transformative activist politics, providing the ground for the enactment of migrant subjectivities. The thesis is based on fieldwork I undertook in Athens from November 2016 until September 2017, and from May to September 2018. During this time I lived in the City Plaza squat and participated in its activities, while I was actively involved in the political and social life of other migrant occupations in the city.
Migrant strategies of self-organisation within and against the European border regime. The case of the City Plaza Hotel in Athens / Raimondi, Valeria. - (2019 Sep 27).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12571/21421
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