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The last chapter provides a summary of the study’s main findings and highlights their theoretical significance. By including the input of migrant, non-migrating relatives, and migration and health service providers, the chapter addresses the relevance of taking this research into account for health and migration policymaking, and migrant advocacy and assistance transnationally. While acknowledging the study limitations, the chapter provides practical recommendations and emphasizes the urgency to advance migrant rights, collective health, and social justice across borders.

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This chapter focuses on the 11 psycho-sociocultural mechanisms that migrants and non-migrating relatives utilized to cope with the effects of outward and return migration that were identified and conceptualized in the study of the Ecuadorean case in the context of other similar Latin American migratory processes. Disillusion adjustment, paralyzing nostalgia, motivating nostalgia, denied migrant health, normalization of malaise, pain encapsulation, well-being ideal, transgenerational goals, strategic return, settling readjustment, and involuntary return rebound are explained including significant portions of stories of health and migration shared by research participants in individual and group interviews and community workshops. The psycho-sociocultural coping mechanisms are explained in relation to one another and health processes, and tied to underlying economic, migration, health, and sociocultural policies and politics in countries of origin, transit, and destination.

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This chapter introduces the research project by explaining the relationship between migration and health, the particularities of the Ecuadorean case, and the unique interdisciplinary and critical theoretical and methodological angle of the study. Moreover, it maps the conceptual framework that emerged from the transnational investigation of migration from Ecuador to the United States, Spain, and back, and highlights its contribution to the body of literature on health and migration. Finally, it provides a detailed account of the sample of migrants, non-migrating relatives, and health and migration service providers from which the research was developed, a reflection on activist research and ethics, and outlines the rest of the book.

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Critical Activist Research across Ecuadorean Borders

Drawing from an activist research project spanning Loja, Santo Domingo, New York, New Jersey, and Barcelona, this book offers a feminist intersectional analysis of the impact of migration on health and well-being.

It assesses how social inequalities and migration and health policies, in Ecuador and destination countries, shape the experiences of migrants. The author also explores how individual and collective action challenges health, geopolitical, gender, sexual, ethnoracial, and economic disparities, and empowers communities.

This is a thorough analysis of interpersonal, institutional, and structural mechanisms of marginalization and resistance. It will inform policy and research for better responses to migration’s negative effects on health, and progress towards greater equality and social justice.

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This chapter focuses on the seven health processes triggered by migration that were identified and conceptualized in the study of the Ecuadorean case in the context of other similar Latin American migratory processes. Reflective mourning, active migrant trauma, passive migrant trauma, migratory stress, migrant crises triggers, return shock, and unrecognized migratory resilience are explained through excerpts from stories of health and migration shared by migrants and non-migrating relatives in individual and group interviews and community workshops as well as quantitative and qualitative data collected through surveys. The health processes are explained in relation to one another and psycho-sociocultural coping mechanisms, and tied to underlying economic, migration, health, and sociocultural policies and politics in countries of origin, transit, and destination.

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This chapter explains how migrants and non-migrating relatives dealt with the relational effects generated by outward and return migratory processes, which included novel family dynamics, members, ties, and conflicts. The psycho-sociocultural mechanism of family de/re-construction, at the core of migrants’ and relatives’ ability to cope with their altered family realities, is analyzed together with the set of five complementary mechanisms of communication distortion, subordination to concealment and deception, unspoken pacts, resentment and detachment, and sensible comprehension. This chapter incorporates significant portions of stories of health and migration from individual and group interviews and community workshops held during the transnational research. Post-migration family coping mechanisms are explained in relation to other mechanisms and health processes, and tied to underlying economic, migration, health and sociocultural policies and politics in countries of origin, transit, and destination.

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This chapter explores how migrants and non-migrating relatives interact with formal border politics, including geographical boundaries between countries; national and international policies regarding migration, residency, and citizenship; and racial/ethnic, gender/sexual, class, and other intersecting social structures and practices of inequality in places of origin, transit, and destination. Migrants and non-migrating relatives learn how to navigate formal border politics and can maintain, recreate, contest, and change them. In doing so, they enact their own informal border politics. When these informal border politics result in challenging and dismantling formal border politics, a transformative border politics is unearthed. By including significant portions of stories of health and migration from individual and group interviews and community workshops held during the transnational research, this chapter shows how migrants and non-migrating relatives traverse, rework, and transcend geopolitical, gender/sexual, ethnoracial, and socioeconomic borders.

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Author: Anna Wyss

Given the mutual interrelatedness of migrants’ journeys and state control practices, the concluding chapter revisits the question of how we can theorise migrants’ agency in the face of an increasingly repressive migration regime. It asks what we can conclude from the incompleteness of migration control for its effects on individual migrants. It is argued that a long-term perspective on border struggles, on the one hand, reveals how migrants’ endurance causes disruptions to the smooth implementation of laws. On the other hand, states react to this endurance by installing new measures, attempting to turn migrants’ endurance into exhaustion by continuously interrupting their journeys and above all, their aspirations. Rather than celebrating migrants’ resistance and their ability to navigate a repressive migration regime, the chapter concludes that the long-term precarity suffered by migrants is often normalised and rendered invisible. Therefore, we need to find new ways to identify and account for the hidden and silent forms of state violence that result from neglect and indifference to the precarious living conditions that marginalised migrants must endure.

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Author: Anna Wyss

This chapter follows Walid, one of my principal interlocutors, as he navigates Europe’s legal maze and is repeatedly deported within Europe according to the Dublin Regulation. Readers are introduced to migrants’ cyclic experiences of legal procedures and the exhaustion the latter generate for marginalised migrants. The chapter introduces relevant information on migration policies and the context in which contestations and encounters among migrants, state and non-state actors take place. It demonstrates the relevance of supranational laws (such as the Dublin Regulation or the Geneva Refugee Convention) as well as national and regional law implementation (such as regularisation schemes or reception conditions). The chapter further highlights how migrants both seek the support of the state and keep it at arm’s length. Along their trajectories, individuals move in and out of the visibility of the state as they enter legal procedures, such as asylum or regularisation procedures, or as they go into hiding to avoid detention or deportation. Thus, the chapter provides a first account of the dialectic of migrant agency and the migration regime, which this book is all about.

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Author: Anna Wyss

This chapter introduces the themes and concepts presented and discussed in this book. In order to capture migrants’ complex journeys through Europe that are the focus of this study, it is helpful to build on a migration regime perspective that goes beyond a state-centred approach and understands migrants, state actors and non-state actors as intertwined forces and as co-constitutive of migration governance. Focusing on migrants’ navigation of the migration regime, the chapter provides an initial conceptualisation of migrants’ agency and proposes to focus on the tactics used by individuals to appropriate or circumvent states’ repressive control attempts. Finally, the chapter offers information and a reflection on how multi-sited ethnography, considering both moments of mobility and immobility in the lives of the book’s protagonists, has informed the research.

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