RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2019

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227 Europe and marginality: Decolonising policy on refugees and peripheries (1)
Affiliation Developing Areas Research Group
Convenor(s) Cyril Blondel (University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg)
Lucas Oesch (University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg)
Chair(s) Lucas Oesch (University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg)
Timetable Thursday 29 August 2019, Session 3 (14:40 - 16:20)
Room Skempton Building, Lecture Theatre 201
Session abstract Decolonial perspectives “rethink modernity and its darker side –coloniality– on a global scale” (Tlostanova and Mignolo, 2009). This approach has been developed by Global South scholars questioning Northern/Western positionality in relation to the South/East of the world. Less often does this approach reflect on the North/West conception of its own internal otherness. This is precisely the object of this session, which aims to analyse the positioning of Europe towards both its spatial and social internal marginalisation using decolonial perspectives. More precisely, this session targets two symbolic figures of marginality: 1) refugees coming to Europe and; 2) the peripheries of Europe. We will focus on the policies directed at them (such as for instance the Common European Asylum System, the Enlargement and Neighbourhood policy, national policies, etc). The goal of the session is not to evaluate these policies per se, but to discuss how cultural producers –researchers, journalists, political leaders (Wacquant, 2007)– analyse these issues. How is policy conceived, set in words, put in practice, discussed and researched? To what extent do European policies, and the ways these policies are framed and analysed, participate in the reproduction of the stereotypes on the marginalised people and territories? In particular, which figures of modernity (Tlostanova and Mignolo, 2012) are invoked in order to justify, validitate and legitimise European interventions? How do marginalised populations (refugees) and territories (peripheries) either accept, endure or contest these policies? Finally, are there any alternative voices emerging from the borderlands or marginalised people questioning these policies?
Linked Sessions Europe and marginality: Decolonising policy on refugees and peripheries (2)
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: ac2019@rgs.org
Transgressing the EU´s colonial border epistemology
Martin Lemberg Pedersen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
This paper offers reflections on the colonial trajectories in EU border externalization policies to Maghreb and the Sahel by calling for post/decolonizing moves against prevailing assumptions guiding the epistemological representation of border control and displacement by European actors and institutions. First, I perform a critical analysis of the border politics of EU externalization, examining how this multifaceted policy is underpinned by specific assemblages of geospatial imaginations, strategies and practices being disseminated by cultural producers. More specifically, I examine how externalization is framed in EU policy documents relating to on the European Neighborhood Policy, and financial instruments like Aeneas, ENPI, TPMA and SOLID. These represent non-European mobility as risky, disruptive and linked to assumptions about demographic flooding, which in turn is used to justify externalized EU interventionism depicted as capacity-building and assisted modernity. In a second, decolonizing, move, I explore how these representations can be traced back to colonial grammars of displacement developed during Atlantic and Caribbean colonization, and counter the prevailing logic of EU border politics, using political philosophy to re-cast questions about the violence, agency and potentiality of displacement.
Dispersal policy of migrants in Morocco under European influence: migrants between marginality and struggle for recognition
Sofia El Arabi (Paris-Sorbonne University / ENeC Research Laboratory, France)
Under the pressure of the European Neighborhood Policy emerged dispersal as a preventive migration policy aimed at regulating immigration in response to the European focus on the fight against illegal immigration. We will question the role played by Morocco in the expansion of European migration policies by adopting fluctuating and ephemeral political modalities, adapted to their legal normativity. The empirical studies we developed, through an epistemological approach, and the critical analysis of the dispersal allows us to detect its complexity by explaining the phases of its spatio-temporal anchoring, its concrete realization. Dispersed migrants are actors of struggles to claim visibility and challenge boundaries (physical, social) for recognition. They are confined to marginalization devices, as the norm of a "society of contempt" (Axel Honneth) that tends to neutralize their action potential. It is from this condition of marginality, invisibility that new forms of irruption into the public space appear (strategies of self-regulation, civility of transit, spatial reconfiguration). We will analyze the impact of dispersal policy on migrants, its eventual sustainability, its effectiveness and its limits in the absence of an inclusive development paradigm.

Questioning dispersal leads to the re-evaluation of the hospitality process and the transformation of the relations (informal or organized within an institutional framework) of resident populations to newcomers.
WITHDRAWN - Protection against what? The fallacy of protection in ‘international protection’
Lex Rue (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain)
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How can we approach peripheralisation without peripheralising? Decolonising (our) discourses on socio-spatial polarisation in Europe
Cyril Blondel (University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg)
n this paper, I focus my attention on what appears to me as a blind spot of sociospatial polarisation research (peripheralisation / marginalisation / metropolisation) in Europe, that is to say its discursive dimension. I argue that not enough attention is granted to our participation as researchers in the making and reproduction of images and discourses that associate development, modernity, goodness to certain territories classified as cores (the labelled West, the fantasised metropoles) and confine badness, poverty, exotism to territories classified as peripheries (the labelled East and South, the fantasised countryside, the suburbs). Because our perception of the World we seek to analyse both shapes and is modeled by the dominant western capitalist understanding of modernity, we do contribute to, often unconsciously and unreflexively, reify certain people, places and times. On the basis of feminist and decolonial reflexions, I argue in favour of decolonising our knowledge and being. It implies here (1) distancing ourselves from the reifying and dichotomous conceptualisation and labellisation of territories and their inhabitants; (2) changing our methodological approach (and case study selection): avoiding to reproduce handy clichés by deconstructing performative territorialized discourses and accepting blurred spatial realities; (3) elaborating radical analyses that expose and challenge power effects associated to the mythologisation of territorial margins / peripheries / remote areas in the public action, mostly detrimentally (and likewise for praised metropolis). Indeed, the supposedly neutral/expert territorial discourses often hide exclusionary and prophetical agendas regarding marginal social groups that are thus governed and dominated (the poor, the Eastern and Southern European, the non-White-Christian, etc.).