Of Bastions and Bulwarks: A Multi-Scalar Understanding of Local Bordering Practices in Europe
In recent years, local authorities in Europe have increasingly developed bordering practices that hinder or further migrant rights, such as the freedom of movement. They bypass national borders by facilitating refugee resettlement, they claim local space to welcome or shun certain migrants, and they develop or break down local impediments to migrant mobility. These local practices, we argue, can best be understood from a multiscalar perspective, which considers processes of placemaking as reproductive of power dynamics. Applying such a perspective to local bordering practices in Greece, Turkey, the Netherlands, Italy, and Germany, we point out the importance of the multitude of the actors involved; legal pluralism; and the contextual role of social, economic, and spatial factors. This offers a theoretical foothold for understanding the power dynamics at play when local authorities become bastions or bulwarks, in which some migrants are welcomed, and others are not.
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