‘How did you get in?’ Research access and sovereign power during the ‘migration crisis’ in Greece. By K. ROZAKOU

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Tuesday, July 30, 2019
‘How did you get in?’ Research access and sovereign power during the ‘migration crisis’ in Greece. By K. ROZAKOU
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Cite as: Rozakou, K., 2019, "‘How did you get in?’ Research access and sovereign power during the ‘migration crisis’ in Greece", Social Anthropology, https://doi.org/10.1111/1469-8676.12620

Abstract

The ‘migration crisis’ has turned migration governance in Greece into a popular research field. At the same time, it has triggered the reconfiguration of sovereign powers with an assemblage of disparate actors engaging in addressing the ‘crisis’. This excess of sovereign power has contributed to a migration maze. In this article I use access to the migration field and in particular the Moria camp in Lesbos, as the lens for an exploration of these fragmented and emergent sovereign powers. In particular, I reflect on the materiality of my research permit and the figure of the humanitarian gatekeeper. As I show, any research access attempt encounters different spheres and agents of jurisdiction and responsibility. This fragmentation provides opportunities for research access, but it also poses methodological and epistemological questions. I finally interrogate the question of research access and knowledge production itself. In particular, I argue that the abundance of accounts does not necessarily produce a more thorough and in‐depth picture, but only a limited one, like the access that enables it. As researchers of a blossoming crisis scholarship, we are often complicit in epistemologically reproducing the very border we seek to scrutinise through our critical work.

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