The interdependency of border bureaucracies and mobility intermediaries : a street level view of migration infrastructuring
Comparative migration studies, 2023, Vol. 11, Art. 1, OnlineOnly[Migration Policy Centre]
INFANTINO, Federica, The interdependency of border bureaucracies and mobility intermediaries : a street level view of migration infrastructuring, Comparative migration studies, 2023, Vol. 11, Art. 1, OnlineOnly[Migration Policy Centre] - http://hdl.handle.net/1814/75250
Retrieved from Cadmus, EUI Research Repository
Building on the case of visa procedures, this article analyses the relationship between border bureaucracies and intermediaries understood as actors, organisations and knowledge that facilitate, shape, and enable human mobility. I take the street-level view to shed light on the interplay of multiple dimensions and logics, which affects how people are mobile. I argue that the analytical lens of interdependency between dimensions and logics that characterize bureaucracies and intermediaries makes sense of migration infrastructuring processes at the street-level. The case of visa policies and practices, which are characterized by the twofold objective of stemming and spurring mobility, is particularly apt to put forward that intermediaries’ socio-economic activities, which bridge borders, by facilitating, shaping, and sustaining mobility, respond not just to the policies and practices that build and reinforce borders but also to those soliciting certain kinds of mobility. The analysis builds on the comparison of ethnographic literature to put forward three empirical situations that exemplify the dynamics of interdependency: Local guides and experts who develop in response to the opacity of bureaucratic procedures and to the distance between visa applicants and state actors; The providers of pieces of documentation, whether counterfeit or ‘real-but-fake’, who respond to the impossibility of complying with bureaucratic requirements and to restrictive border regimes; Authorized administrative agencies, tour operators, travel agencies, and agencies that facilitate the supplying of specific kinds of workforce, who respond to the objective of soliciting the mobility of tourists, businessmen and workers. The street-level view of migration infrastructuring processes connects the microperspective of the trajectory of individuals to macro structures such as policies and drivers of international mobility. The investigation of the effectiveness of these actors and activities in obtaining visas, on which further research could systematically focus, shows that they might produce immobility as well. In a nutshell, (im)mobility also results from the interplay between border bureaucracies and mobility intermediaries.
Published online: 20 January 2023
Cadmus permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/1814/75250
Full-text via DOI: 10.1186/s40878-022-00324-x
Series/Number: [Migration Policy Centre]
Grant number: H2020/895716/EU
Sponsorship and Funder information:
This work was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 895716.
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