Handbook on Critical Geographies of Migration
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Handbook on Critical Geographies of Migration

Edited by Katharyne Mitchell, Reece Jones and Jennifer L. Fluri

Border walls, shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, separated families at the border, island detention camps: migration is at the centre of contemporary political and academic debates. This ground-breaking Handbook offers an exciting and original analysis of critical research on themes such as these, drawing on cutting-edge theories from an interdisciplinary and international group of leading scholars. With a focus on spatial analysis and geographical context, this volume highlights a range of theoretical, methodological and regional approaches to migration research, while remaining attuned to the underlying politics that bring critical scholars together.
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Chapter 17: Informal migrant camps

Thom Davies, Arshad Isakjee and Surindar Dhesi

Abstract

This chapter situates the informal camp as a vital space of contemporary migration, discussing it in relation to more formal settings and theorizing the role of political inaction in their spatial politics. The chapter starts by highlighting different formations of the informal camp; from adjunct encampments near formal refugee sites; to urban squats in transit cities; to the widespread prevalence of ‘jungles’ as important spatial formations for people on the move. Placing this varied constellation of camps within the wider European context, the authors conclude with a detailed discussion of one such informal camp: the Calais ‘jungle’ in Northern France. Although campscapes are significant spaces for political geographers, a more sustained analysis of camp informality is needed to recognize the important role that unofficial camps play in processes of displacement and migration. The authors suggest that geographers look beyond the confines of formal camps to appreciate the wider role that encampments play in migration processes and the contested production of ‘bare life’.

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