17: Migration, Solidarity and the Limits of Europe

The editors of a recent special edition of Citizenship Studies draw attention to the proliferation of grassroots migration political movements as a feature of migration politics today: ‘Over the past decade, we have witnessed an upsurge of political mobilisation by refugees, irregularised migrants, and migrant solidarity activists in the countries of the European Union, at its external borders … and in other parts of the world …’ (Ataç et al, 2016: 527–528). In this essay we propose to examine aspects of this movement from the angle of one of its key political concepts: solidarity. The idea of solidarity offers a promising entry point for a critical analysis of the limits of EUrope precisely because it is hotly contested, both as a political value and a practice. From grassroots activists to EU officials, actors on many sides of Europe’s migration struggles act in the name of solidarity. But what do they mean by solidarity and how does it bring the question of limits into focus?

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