Cover, Sans Papiers by Bloch, Sigona & Zetter, Pluto Press 2014 forthcoming
A lot of my time in the last few weeks went into writing, revising, restructuring the manuscript of Sans Papiers. Eventually, the manuscript will be ready to go to Pluto Press by the end of this week. Exciting to see another editorial project almost completed. All going according to plan, the hard copies will be out by Summer 2014. Writing a book takes always a bit longer that one anticipates. Co-authorship can be challenging at times, but it is also inspiring and very reassuring to be able to share ideas, drafts, endless editing with two colleagues and friends I have known for many years.
I’m revising a chapter for the book (Pluto Press) on young undocumented migrants I’m writing with Alice Bloch and Roger Zetter and while I was writing about how young migrants’ relationship with friends back home changes over time I bumped into the quote below. For a discussion of the impact of legal status on undocumented migrants’ social life and networks, see this article I wrote for Social Anthropology.
This is what I’m writing:
For some, the conversation, after the initial exchange of excitement and information post departure, gradually becomes an empty exchange of greetings and routine questions and young migrants feel less and less able and willing to share aspects of their daily life that are more intimate or painful, this trend seems particularly noticeable among male migrants. David (29, M, Brazilian) vividly captures the transformation of his relationship with friends in Brazil,
When I moved, we talked so much that there is nothing else to say. They say, ‘how is it there?’, I’d say, ‘it’s all the same’. I’d ask, ‘how is it there?’, they’d say, ‘I’ve been to the same places’. So we don’t have anything to say, it’s over. I’ve already told them about everything here. I’ve sent all the pictures I had to send.
The Guardian reports the case of a distinguished 81-year-old Algerian historian invited to give a keynote address at the University of Oxford being denied entry by the Home Office. No matter the trip was funded by the UK’s Research Council.
Here we are again. The Home Office continues to prioritise the boosting of its immigration credentials even if this means to undermine the UK’s Higher Education sector and its global reputation. I really don’t understand how the UK government can let the Home Office to discredit one of the cultural and economic assets of the country internationally to pursue vainglorious and ill-thought dreams of zero net migration whatever it takes. I find it even more frustrating because it happens while universities, remarkably quiet on this issue, display on the other hand a remarkable luck of critical thinking in their pursuing of a neoliberal agenda. Should they, at a minimum for the sake of some neoliberal coherence, support publicly the freedom of circulation of ideas and brains? Or is it only international fees they are after. Well, the truth is that a few more episodes like this in the news and they may not get the fees either.
Here there is me trying to look at my research through a superdiversity lens and think at what spaces a superdiversity turn would open in terms of new research questions, methodological challenges and ways of looking at a society getting increasingly complex, composite, layered and unequal.
You can watch also my IRiS colleague Dr Chris Allen exploring the role of religion and faith in an era of change.
To find out more about the Institute for Research into Superdiversity: www.birmingham.ac.uk/iris