Working to ‘Wait Well’ : Exploring the temporalities of irregular migration in Germany
MetadataShow full item record
During the past two decades migration and border scholars have increasingly recognised the role of time and temporality in the European states’ governing of migration and in the production of migrant irregularity. This article-based thesis forms part of this growing, yet still incipient field of research. It provides an ethnographic exploration of the temporalities of governing and control of migration in Germany. Through three published papers, the study contributes to knowledges about the temporal dimensions of migration governing by centring on the peculiar German status of the Duldung (toleration permit) and by mobilising a framework of feminist temporalities. By bringing together rarely juxtaposed works by feminist scholars on bordering, migration and time, the thesis also contributes to feminist scholarship that seeks to trace the power relations shaping the uneven (chrono)politics of today’s border regimes. The empirical basis and spatial context for the study is eleven months of ethnographic fieldwork amongst irregularised migrants in Hamburg in Germany (August 2017 until June 2018). Furthermore, the study is shaped by legal and political developments in German migration governing since what has become known as the long summer of migration in 2015. In the years following the increase of asylum seekers to Germany in 2015, German asylum regulation was tightened. At the same time, however, there were political developments towards a reframing of asylum seekers and tolerated migrants as potential labour power, evident in an opening of labour market access to these categories of people. The thesis investigates the temporal dimensions of German border practices in this specific historical, spatial and socio-political context. It does so by exploring two variations of the German toleration permit, which is a legal status that prescribes a temporary suspension of deportation. The two variations of the toleration permit explored include a toleration permit for vocational training (Ausbildungsduldung) and a regional variant of the toleration permit that the Hamburg government gave to a group of West-African migrants in 2013. Both of these toleration permits open for future regularisation based on successfully completed vocational training and/or labour market contributions. The ethnographic study is guided by two research questions: what role do temporal rationalities and techniques play in the social and legal production of migrant irregularity through the German Duldung regulation? And, as part of that: how are unequal conditions of waiting produced and sustained through the Duldung? Through these questions the three papers explore how migrant irregularity is produced through temporal techniques of suspension, periodisation, temporal bracketing, tenuous future promises and deportability. I argue that the toleration permits studied in this thesis function to bracket the violence of border regimes by carving up time in homogenous periods in relation to a conditional promise of future regularisation. Waiting and suspension become narratively configured in political discourses in terms of ‘movement’ and as ‘worth it’. I argue, furthermore, that the German border regime embeds an expectation on migrants to orient to the future and endure suspension and deportability in specific and productive ways. They are expected to ‘wait well’. Exploring how migrants navigate their conditions in Hamburg, the thesis shows how people are unevenly positioned in relation to this expectation to ‘wait well’. A growing literature deploys waiting as an analytical lens on questions of bordering and migration. This thesis explores the temporal assumptions and normativities attached to waiting as a socio-political condition and as an analytical optic. As part of this, it investigates how assumptions about temporal linearity might make the analytical optic of waiting susceptible to methodological nationalism. In its critical engagements with the spatiotemporal imaginary of waiting, the thesis formulates a third research question: how might a theoretical framework of feminist temporality be mobilised to enhance the use and value of waiting as an optic for analysis and critique of present regimes of bordering? Guided by this question, the thesis explores how waiting time might be conceptualised in ways that make relational subjectivity and located embodiment core to the analytical optic of waiting. I argue that from this vantage point the value of waiting as an analytical optic is strengthened when it comes to tracing and exploring the relations of power shaping present practices of bordering.
Has partsPaper 1: Drangsland, KA. (2020) Bordering through recalibration: Exploring the temporality of the German “Ausbildungsduldung”. EPC: Politics and Space 38(6): 1128-1145. The article is available in the thesis file. The article is also available at: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F2399654420915611
Paper 2: Drangsland, KA. (2020) Waiting as a redemptive state: The ‘Lampedusa in Hamburg’ and the offer from the Hamburg government. Time and Society 29(2): 318-339. The article is not available in the thesis file due to publisher restrictions. The accepted version is available at: https://hdl.handle.net/1956/21705
Paper 3: Drangsland, KA. (2020) Mo’s challenge. Waiting and the question of methodological nationalism, in Jacobsen, C.M, Karlsen, M-A and Khosravi, S. (eds) Waiting and the temporalities of irregular migration. London: Routledge. The article is available in the thesis file. The article is also available at: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429351730