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Beyond the 'Jungle': Exploring the ephemerality of encampment in Calais

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The Cambridge Migration Society is pleased to present the Easter 2019 Graduate Migration Research Seminar Series.

Seminar II: Beyond the ‘Jungle’: Exploring the ephemerality of encampment in Calais Speaker: Maria Hagan, PhD candidate, Geography, University of Cambridge Discussant: Dr Irit Katz, Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge

Abstract: Since the demolition of the notorious Calais ‘Jungle’ in October 2016, the French state has hardened its policies against informal encampments. A complex institutional system of official processing centres has been established, marking a shift towards greater securitisation and the violent policing of those living beyond the system. This is most visible in post-camp Calais, where several hundred displaced people have continued to settle at the border zone in scattered encampments which authorities systematically seek to destroy. Drawing on interview extracts, field notes, photographs and video extracts collected during six months of ethnographic fieldwork in Calais in 2017-2018, Maria will discuss the implications of this new form of governance. She will reveal how the displaced have altered their survival strategies in response to the hostile reality, laying claim to border spaces by tirelessly rebuilding shelter and weaving protective social relations and practices with one another and the humanitarians who assist them. Significantly, aid provision has been adapted and made mobile in response to ephemeral forms of encampment: humanitarians perform the criminalised displaced as deserving aid recipients while bearing witness to the escalation of violent policing practices. To work through this dynamic Maria proposes the concept of the ‘contingent camp’, which understands the camp as a contested process rather than a fixed place. It is a spatial manifestation of the encroachment of securitisation on the humanitarian in reaction to the displaced in France.

About Maria: Maria Hagan is a PhD candidate in the Geography department at the University of Cambridge. Her current research explores the spatial and regulatory regimes impacting migrant encampment in European border zones through ethnography. Maria holds a first class Master’s degree in international development studies from the University of Amsterdam, for which she wrote a dissertation on the policing of asylum seekers and their informal settlements in Calais, France since the destruction of the notorious ‘Jungle’ in late 2016. For this purpose, she spent 6 months conducting ethnographic research with asylum seekers and grassroots humanitarian organisations in Calais through 2017-2018. Maria graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a first class BA degree in English Studies in 2014.

— The GMRSS offers PhD, MPhil, and Masters students currently engaged in research on migration an opportunity to present their work, get feedback and meet other graduate colleagues working on similar issues. Presenters are from various fields, disciplines, and universities, and similarly, and we welcome attendees from across the University.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Migration Society series.

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