Waiting as a redemptive state - The ‘Lampedusa in Hamburg’ and the offer from the Hamburg government
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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This paper explores an offer of possible legalization that the Hamburg government gave to a group of 350 illegalized West-African migrants in 2013. Based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in 2017, when the majority of the migrants who accepted the offer were still awaiting its redeeming, I explore the offer as an instrument of governing and as a lived timespace. Taking this route, this article seeks to contribute to the debates around waiting and the relationship between time, space and government in present border regimes. In particular, I argue for the need to pay attention to how waiting, as a technique of governing migrants, works through linear and periodized temporal frameworks. Drawing on feminist critiques of temporal linearity and periodization, and on Povinelli’s work on techniques of ‘temporal bracketing’, I investigate how violence and redeeming are coordinated spatially and temporally in the offer. I argue that temporal frameworks intertwine with territorial imaginaries in ways that allow waiting to appear as a redemptive state. Moreover, I suggest that by attending to multiple and relational temporalities, the coordinates of suffering and redeeming in the offer might be redrawn.