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 32: The sanctuary network: transnational church activism and refugeeprotection in Europe

Katharyne Mitchell and Key MacFarlane


In this chapter the authors examine how practices, ideas, and spaces of refugee protection are coordinated across national borders, forming what we call a sanctuary network. Their focus is on Europe, where activist churches and related institutions share information, contacts, and strategies for aiding and sheltering migrants. They investigate several key transnational institutions, including the German Ecumenical Committee on Church Asylum (GECCA) and the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME), as well as a number of critical actors and events. To better grasp the formation of cross-border relationships and their successes and limitations the authors turn to existing literature on policy transfer and transnational activist networks. Such scholarship, they argue, cannot fully account for the socially, politically, and physically embedded qualities of sanctuary networks, which have existed in various forms for centuries. Drawing on interviews and archival data, they show how faith actors continually ‘reactivate’ historical landscapes of collective memory and alternative forms of justice associated with both the concepts and the spatial practices of sanctuary. The sanctuary network is therefore understood not only as a bundle of solidarities across space – but also across time.

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