In Response to Bordering Practices: Migrant Journeys and Borderzone Resistance

Authors: Suzan Ilcan*,
Topics: Migration
Keywords: Borderzone resistance, migrant journeys, Syrian refugees
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Studio 7, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


There has been a proliferation of reports, writings, and images of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and elsewhere crossing borders to reach Europe and countries such as Canada. In their efforts to seek safety and protection, migrants and refugees often experience diverse border zones and varied bordering practices such as militarized border crossings which control their movements, and barriers to resources and justice within nation states that aim to transform their social and legal status, and affective relations. Drawing on critical migration and border studies scholarship as well as affect studies literature, the paper emphasizes migrant and refugee borderzone resistance. In response to bordering practices, borderzone resistance involves various strategies of circumvention, demands for recognition and rights, and efforts to renegotiate social and legal restrictions. Borderzone resistance is a feature of many migrant journeys, and is examined through the journeys of Syrian refugees now living in Ontario. Exercising their political agency to leave Syria often involves journeys through militarized neighbourhoods, checkpoints, and foreign lands. The journeys—as embodied social and public experiences—tell of their encounters with diverse actors, fears of leaving, confrontations with border authorities, and collective challenges to mobility controls. The paper draws on 45 in-depth interviews with Syrian refugees in Ontario, Canada to make sense of migrant journeys and borderzone resistance as material and affective forces.

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