Stuck in Mobility? Fragmented Journeys of Migrants without Chances of Admission in Europe

Wyss, Anna; Borrelli, Lisa Marie (20 November 2014). Stuck in Mobility? Fragmented Journeys of Migrants without Chances of Admission in Europe (Unpublished). In: MiReKoc 10th Year Symposium - Borders, Mobility and Diversity: 
Old Questions, New Challenges. Istanbul, Turkey. 20.11.-21.11.2014.

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This paper is about young migrants without chance of being granted legal residence status in the Schengen zone. Previous observations suggest that some migrants, whose country of origin leaves them with low chances of receiving asylum or in fact any type of residence permit, exhibit a highly complex migration pattern that is characterised by 1) durable “transit” across Europe, which is a multi-linear movement according to opportunities that open up along the journey; 2) a high degree of flexibility, as they have to respond to suddenly changing conditions, such as work opportunities, rejection of asylum claims, detention or deportation, and 3) switching between different legal statuses, such as asylum seeker, sans papiers or detainee. The experiences of these young adults thus show a deep ambivalence between a sense of autonomy, on the one hand, and of profound hope and powerlessness, on the other. The Dublin Convention intends to limit such a hypermobility of migrants but seems to fail in many cases. Simultaneously it provokes some of the movements by sending asylum seekers and irregular migrants back to their first country of arrivals. Given the fact that little is known about these fragmented journeys inside of the Schengen area, this ethnographic study produces novel data on a highly pertinent migration pattern, the impact of the European migration management on individual migrants as well as the inter-relatedness of the asylum regime and irregular migration in Europe. At the same time these fragmented journeys are an excellent example to discuss mobility as a resource on the one hand (since it enables this specific migrant group to extend their presence in Europe) and as a handicap on the other (since it impedes the building of stable social networks, the planning of the future, etc.).

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Sociology

UniBE Contributor:

Wyss, Anna, Borrelli, Lisa Marie


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Anna Wyss

Date Deposited:

30 Apr 2015 12:27

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:45

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Irregular migration; asylum; fragmented journeys; mobility


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