LOGISTIFICATION OF MIGRATION: CORRIDORS OF CIRCULATION, BORDERING, AND REBELLION

Somayeh Chitchian

The colonial and racial project of capitalism, since its emergence in the 16th century up until the present moment, has relied on a deadly logistical landscape for its expansion, accumulation, and management of circulation. Thus, the field of logistics is not only concerned with the circulation of commodities and the accumulation of capital, it is simultaneously entangled with the strategic—often violent—channeling of human bodies as well. Since the 1960s, however, supply chain capitalism has taken on a different scale and has resulted in the so-called “logistical reorientation of the economy” based on the military logic of efficiency of movement and the maximization of profit.

This doctoral project centralizes the question of logistics / migration and focuses on the extended corridors and infrastructures of circulation of Fortress “Europe” as complex (post)colonial and racialized (a) (new) bordered spaces of controlled and preselected circulation of bodies and commodities, on the one level, while simultaneously opening up grounds for (b) fugitive, migratory spatialities from below. By using logistics as both a material and theoretical lens, this doctoral project aims at respatializing migration studies’ inherent methodological nationalism and to challenge the object, scale, and spatialities that have been more conventional in migration research.

Planned outcome: doctoral dissertation, Harvard GSD

A tent sits among containers at the Greek port of Piraeus. © Angelos Tzortzinis/Magnum Foundation/Time Magazine.
Greek-Macedonia border near Gevgelija. © ekathimerini.com.
Serbia-Hungary border station near Horgoš, Serbia, 16 September, 2015. © Istvan Ruzsa/MTI/AP Photo.
Ferry arriving from Turkey at the port of Mytiline in Lesbos, 8 December 2015. © AFP/Getty Images.
EuroTunnel, a prime example of the violent contestation between logistics and migration. © Denis Charlet/AFP.
"Danger of Death" sign displayed at the Calais end of the EuroTunnel. © EPA.
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