Meeting room 229, Psychologicum (Siltavuorenpenger 1 A, 00170 Helsinki)
Elisa Pascucci (University of Helsinki): Hybrid and mobile protections: migration and humanitarianism across North-East Africa and the Central Mediterranean.
The migration route from the Horn of Africa to the central Mediterranean is described one of the most dangerous in the world, due to violent forms of smuggling and trafficking. States and international organizations have promoted securitized protection policies for migrants travelling across the route, in which scant assistance is associated with the repression of the networks facilitating unwanted mobility. Literature on migration infrastructures and emerging landscapes and practices of refugee protection, however, highlights the need for more nuanced accounts of the actual experiences of safety, violence, risk and aid along this and other routes. Drawing on fieldwork in Egypt, this paper proposes the notion of hybrid and mobile protections. Such notion foregrounds: 1) the unstable character of ‘destinations’ and ‘transit hubs’ like Cairo, Libya, Southern Italy and Northern Europe, and the associated shifting imaginaries of violence and safety; 2) hybrid practices of protection that incorporate elements of humanitarian aid, community, familial lives, and market relations. The article argues that, amidst international law and policy failures, the little protection actually available to migrants is carved out through hybrid practices and by displaced subjectivities, which transfigure, rather than transcending, humanitarianism.