Urban Social Movements and Refugees in Greece. A New Relation? Emerging Common Spaces in Mytilene and Idomeni. By X. ALEXIOU, C. TSAVDAROGLOU & C. PETROPOULOU

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Monday, July 4, 2016
Urban Social Movements and Refugees in Greece. A New Relation? Emerging Common Spaces in Mytilene and Idomeni. By X. ALEXIOU, C. TSAVDAROGLOU & C. PETROPOULOU

Cite as:  Alexiou, X., Tsavdaroglou C. & C. Petropoulou, 2016, "Urban social movements and refugees in Greece. A new relation? Emerging common spaces in Mytilene and Idomeni". Paper presented in Contested Cities “From Contested Cities to Global Urban Justice - Critical Dialogues”, Autonomous University of Madrid, 04-07/7/2016, Stream 5, Article No5-019, 1-13.

Abstract

The ongoing refugee streams that derive from the recent conflict in the MiddleEast are a central issue to the growing socio-political debate about the differentfacets of contemporary crisis. While borders, in the era of globalization,constitute porous passages for capital goods and labor market, at the same timethey function as new enclosures for migrant and refugee populations.Nevertheless, these human flows contest border regimes and exclusionarypolicies and create a nexus of emerging common spaces.Our basic argument is that despite the vivid and increasingly popular discussionon commons and urban social movements, there have been few attempts to think it together with the ongoing migrants and refugees’ crisis. During thecurrent migrants’ crisis, the newcomers do not just claim the urban space but they occupy and tend to transform it to common space. Moreover, the movingpopulations try to challenge cityscapes and border regimes, as well as they seekto negotiate and go beyond cultural, class, gender, religious and politicalidentities. At the same time the newcomers produce hybrid spaces andcollectively reinvent a culture of coexistence, sharing and commoning.Consequently, the newcomers produce unique and porous common spaces,spaces in movement and threshold spaces. In parallel, neoliberal exclusionarypolicies tend to appropriate the migrants’ common spaces, with several methods like closing borders, forced evictions, detention centers-camps and hot spots. Based on the above context, this paper attempts to elaborate a criticalmethodological framework that examines the emerging migrants’ common space focusing on the case of Greece, a country that is in the epicentre of thecurrent refugee crisis. We pinpoint in the cases of Greek borderscapes inMytilene and Idomeni; the former is the main entrance point in the East and thelater is the exit point in the North. Based on this context, we explore how thenewcomers challenge the existing socio-spatial power relations and produceunique, unpredictable and misfitting common spaces.

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