LIVES PASSING BORDERSA FIELD STUDY IN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE WINTER SCHOOL ‘MIGRATION IN THE MARGINS OF EUROPE’ NETHERLANDS INSTITUTE ATHENS, JANUARY 2013 By Esra, Meltem and Swantje
Research Topics Life Trajectories of asylum seekers, refugees and undocumented migrants Routes Motives (the evolution of such motives?) Perceptions of security and legality Future expectations
Research Questions How is the act of mobility experienced by asylum seekers, refugees and undocumented migrants in the city of Athens in the process of migration? Which routes do they take? What are the motives to leave their country? What are the motives to stay or not to stay in Greece? How do they perceive the changes in their legal status in the process of migration? What is the link between legal/illegal status and perception of ”security”? What are their future expectations?
Research Methodology Participant Observation Unstructured and semi-structured interviews (30 minutes to 3 hours) No audio record Field & Interview Notes Subsequent discussion meetings
Research Sites Exarhia (NGO & cafes) Omonia (bus station, market, NGO‘s, Hellenic Ministry) Victoria Square (surrounding shops) Attiki Square
Research Sample 9 Interviews with asylum seekers, refugees and undocumented migrants Between 15 and 35 years old Predominately male Countries of origin: Turkey, Syria, Ghana, Bangladesh, Afghanistan 2 Interviews with NGO representatives
Methodological Issues Time limitation Language barrier Unequal representation of gender Awareness of our position Pros and cons of group work
Main Findings Which routes do they take? Depends on the country of origin, financial situation, luck, smuggler Turkey is the transit country to Greece
Main FindingsWhat role does Greece play in this planned orunplanned choice of route? Greece as a: Transit country Final destination Temporary destination
Main FindingsWhat are the motives to leave their country? Search for a “better life” Money, work, education, living standards “The European Dream” Protection Threat of life and libertyWhat are the motives to stay or not to stay in Greece? Fulfilment of their previous motives Role of the recent crisis The initial perception of Greece Changes in the country of origin
Main FindingsHow do they perceive the changes in their legal statusin the process of migration? What is the link betweenlegal/illegal status and perception of ”security”? Lack of information/ misinformation/ ignorance towards their (il)legal status Linkage between the possession of “document” and feeling of security
Main FindingsWhat are their future plans and expectations? Returning to their home country Going to their desired European country Staying in Greece Issue of family formation Dependence on their perception of security.
Conclusions Overlapping categories Different interpretation/usage of these categories from legal and migrant perspectives Structure vs. social agency Securitization of migration from state perspective vs. migrant perspective Continuous calculation of costs and benefits, risks and securities by the migrants ongoing process
Future Research Mobility Topic Linkages between physical mobility and social mobility Coping strategies with various uncertainty issues Comparative research Criteria: by ethnicity, country of origin, age, gender, social class Conceptualization of stigmatization and self- perception of those stigmatized