Escape Mobilities: Re-thinking the Autonomy of Migration

Authors: Ayushman Bhagat*, University of Durham
Topics: Migration, Political Geography, Human Rights
Keywords: Autonomy of Migration, Human Trafficking, Migration, Mobilities, Borders, Subjectivities, Political Geogrpahy, Global South, Power, Human Rights, Participatory Action Research, Development Geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Virginia A, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The creative notion of ‘Escape’ is one of the central themes of the Autonomy of Migration (AOM) framework, an approach which stresses the non-derivative ontology of migratory movement. Understanding migratory movements in this manner place mobility before the forces of control, valorizes individual’s will and highlights subversions of political subjectivities, one could argue that it is the subjectification that forces the subject to accept, refuse or escape those subjectivities. It is therefore essential to re-examine the notion of escape. Drawing on forty-eight stories of mobilities and seventeen focused group discussions from a Participatory Action Research (PAR) project, which includes a border ethnography, in a ‘post-disaster’ and ‘trafficking prone’ region of the global South, I argue that while the subject experiences a moment of autonomy in the process of subverting existing configurations my participants entered into other complex configurations of borders and boundaries. To refine the understanding of these transgressions, based on the fieldwork and analysis, I introduce a meaningful concept of ‘escape mobilities’ to the vocabulary of the AOM to rethink and reconceptualize the meaning of the moments of autonomy.

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