Migrations in Latin America and the Mediterranean compared: Violence, State cruelty and (Un-)Institutional Resistance

This conference partly stems from an international exchange programme led between researchers in France and in Chile on Migrants and National Construction: Embodiment / Incorporation, Reproduction and Deconstruction of the Legacies and Historical Traumas of Coloniality at the levels of the State, the Individual and the Nation (Ecos-Sud project C17H01 – 2018-2021). Over the past year, Ecos-Sud researchers have been investigating and reflecting on issues of categorization, representation and (de)politicization of and around migrants. The focus paticularly lay on the displacement of representations seen through the management of bodies and the attendant use of categories. This approach led to a colloquium held at the EHESS in Paris last September (18th and 19th September 2018). It was followed with an international seminar on migrations and interculturality in Santiago, Chile two months later (22nd November 2018).

The present conference draws on these Franco-Chilean collaborative exchanges as well as on those initiated during the same period with the Maison Française in Oxford, especially through the research programme on Politics, International Relations and Migration Studies. It also articulates with research interests developed at the Latin American Centre and the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies on issues of migration and borders. Here we interrogate the variegated ways in which, following a world increase in population movement across territories and nation-states in recent years migration and migrants have become an object of renewed institutional attention with resulting (un)intended effects. In particular, we are interested in how the legacies and historical traumas of coloniality may manifest themselves as the State delegates -and even subcontracts to a glut of non-governmental outfits- the procedures of symbolic and practical violence inherent to its prerogatives and yet at the same time seeks to retain control over the selection, identification, integration and/or rejection of migrants within/outside of its borders. We also aim to investigate the various registers of cruelty –whether intended or unintended– towards migrants that some of these processes carry with them and ask the extent to which such cruelty is structural. Conversely we are interested in documenting the niches wherein all kinds of institutional actors, state, non-governmental and belonging to civil society at large may collaborate to build and provide migrants with spaces of resistance towards such violence and cruelty.

In sum, this event is aimed at promoting interdisciplinary exchange and discussion on the part of researchers involved in migrations studies. Although the main geographical focus is Latin America, it is hoped that research pertaining to other parts of the world, especially the Mediterranean will furnish insightful comparative perspectives.


12th November 2019 (Latin American Centre)

2.45pm Welcome – tea/coffee

3.00pm-3.30pm: Welcome

Véronique Bénéï (CNRS), Thomas Lacroix (MFO) and Eduardo Posada-Carbo (LAC)

3.30pm-5pm: Migratory trends and critical shifts in the Mediterranean

‘Presentation of the English version of the Atlas of Migrations 2019, coordinated by the European and African Migreurop network’, by Filippo Furri (University of Montreal, Canada, Ecos-Sud member) and Yasha Maccanico (School of Policy Studies, University of Bristol).

Chair: Benoit Hazard

5.00pm-7.00pm Round table – Latin American perspectives on migration

. ‘The Central American migrants caravans: contesting borders and their governmentalities’, by Pascaline Chappart (URMIS/IRD, Paris):

. The Impact of Haitian Migration in Brazil by Carlos Vargas-Silva (COMPAS, Oxford University)

. ‘The Venezuelan Migration in Context: Barriers to movement and integration’, by Esteban Devis-Amaya (Oxford Brookes)

Chair: Andreza de Souza Santos (LAC, Oxford University)

Followed with Opening cocktail /Inauguration at LAC

13th November 2019 (Maison Française d’Oxford)

9.15am-9.30am – Arrival and coffee/tea

9.30am-11.00am: Of State’s violence: between waiting and silencing

. ‘Migration and education: Voices and silencing of Haitian immigration in Chile’, by Claudia Carrillo (Universidad de Chile, Ecos-Sud member)

. ‘A migration of no return? Reflections on Greek migrants in Chile’, by Maria Kokkinou (EHESS-IIAC, Ecos-Sud member)

Chair: Véronique Bénéï (CNRS, IIAC/LAIOS, Paris, Ecos-Sud member)

11am-11.15am: Coffee break

11.15am-12.45pm: From the local to the global: Institutional scales and stakes

. ‘The story of a municipal migrants’ and refugees’ office in a Santiago de Chile’s suburb’, by Charlotte Gregoreski (EHESS-IIAC/Universidad de Chile, Ecos-Sud member)

. The State Control of Identity: Ramifications for DACA recipients, by Marie Mallet (COMPAS, Oxford University)

Chair: Juan Luis Ossa (LAC, Oxford University)

12.45pm-2pm: Lunch break

2pm-3.30pm: At the borders of humanity: Bodies and moralities.

. ‘Hosting the dead by migration. The treatment of lifeless bodies in Catania (Sicily)’, by Carolina Kobelinsky (CNRS-LESC, Université de Nanterre, Ecos-Sud member) & Filippo Furri (Université de Montréal, Ecos-Sud member)

. ‘Representations of displacement in Colombia: Humanity, bodies, moralities’, by Véronique Benei (IIAC/LAIOS, CNRS-EHESS, Ecos-Sud)

. ‘The political self-organization of deportees in the shadow of State politics’, Clara Lecadet (IIAC, CNRS-EHESS)

Chair: Juanita Leon (St Antony’s College, Oxford)

3.30pm-4.30pm: Conclusions and assessment: Thomas Lacroix, Véronique Benei, Carlos Varga