Mobility, Belonging, Citizenship

Over the last decades, the number of people moving within and across borders has grown substantially, as fueled by increasing levels of migration, humanitarianism, and tourism, among other kinds of mobility. The rise of various mobilities has also produced its opposite trend: an urge to close off borders, secure autochthons, exclude foreigners, and anchor power closer to home in various national, regional, ethnic, and religious groupings. The desire to reclaim sovereignty and seal off certain local polities is accompanied by attempts to securitize morality, cultural values, and social reproduction. At the same time, conspicuous legal restrictions on mobility—whether associated with Covid-19, Brexit, or the EU bordering regime—have profoundly politicized the movement of certain groups of people, rendering mobility both a locus and a vehicle of inequality, exclusion, and social stratification. 

The intersection between rising forms of migration and mobility and intensified struggles over belonging and citizenship has generated new dynamics of—and dilemmas over—money, wealth, and wellbeing; personhood, morality, and respectability; youth, aging, and generation; gender, marriage, and kinship; immobility, detachment, loneliness; ritual and religion; nationalism and terrorism. With this research agenda, we pursue ethnographic questions pertaining to how the proliferating intersections of mobility, belonging, and citizenship affect social phenomena and give rise to various unexpected arrangements. We ask: What forms of subjecthood, value, or social and political organization have emerged in these contexts? And what do such emergent phenomena reveal about the contemporary world order?