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 29: Im/mobility and humanitarian triage

Polly Pallister-Wilkins


In this chapter the authors examines the interrelationship between im/mobility and humanitarian triage. Humanitarian interventions in border spaces have increased as the world’s borders become more exclusive and violent and these interventions are undertaken by a range of actors from border police, coast guards and state militaries and non-state humanitarian actors. This humanitarian borderwork not only has an intimate relationship to the border but also to im/mobility and it is this relationship that is the focus of this chapter. In shifting the gaze from borders to im/mobility, scholarship on humanitarian work in border settings can more comprehensively grasp the challenges humanitarian actors face and the new ways of working they produce. The chapter uncovers humanitarianism’s uncomfortable relationship with mobility, dominant rationalities of intervention and the ethics of care. But more than this, it asks humanitarianism in practice to re-examine its relationship with the political structures that produce differentiated and risky regimes of mobility.

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