Seminar: BA: The Anthropology of Migrant Smuggling and Informal Border Economies - Details
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General information

Course name Seminar: BA: The Anthropology of Migrant Smuggling and Informal Border Economies
Course number BA_SE:W/T
Semester WiSe 2023/24
Current number of participants 32
Home institute Ethnologie/Kulturvergleichende Soziologie
Courses type Seminar in category Offizielle Lehrveranstaltungen
First date Wednesday, 18.10.2023 16:15 - 17:45, Room: Seminarraum Ethnologie
Learning organisation Besonderheiten:
Der Kurs wird auf Englisch unterrichtet. Modulleistungen werden auf Englisch erbracht.
Performance record Essay


Border smugglers are among of the most vilified, yet little understood, political figures of our times. The media and politicians often depict them as cruel and greedy underground criminal gangs who thrive on migrant vulnerability and deceive them into dangerous jour-neys. The growing criminalization of migration and asylum is increasingly justified as a way to protect migrants from smugglers/traffickers. Yet such policies only seem to enhance the smuggling border economy, with more than 90 percent of those who cross the EU's ex-ternal borders rely on the assistance of migrant smugglers. This undergraduate course takes an anthropological approach to explore the figure of the smuggler and the economies of informal border crossings, drawing upon case studies from Europe and around the world. Through a critical lens, students will examine the intricate social, cultural, economic, and political aspects associated with the movement of migrants and the informal networks that facilitate their journeys. The course provides an overview of the anthropology of migrant smuggling, exploring its historical roots, contemporary manifestations, the various actors involved, and the evolving discourses surrounding it. The course places particular emphasis on comprehending the social networks, power relations, economic structures, and state pol-icies that sustain and incentivize informal border economies.

Chu, Julie Y. 2010. Cosmologies of Credit: Transnational Mobility
and the Politics of Destination in China. Durham, NC: Duke
University Press.
Feldman, Gregory (2019). The gray zone: Sovereignty, human smuggling, and undercover police investigation in Europe. Stanford University Press.
Khosravi, Shahram. 2011. ‘Illegal’ Traveller : An Auto-Ethnography
of Borders. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Keshavarz, Mahmoud, and Shahram Khosravi. Seeing Like a Smuggler: Borders from Below. Pluto Press, 2022.