anthropology of migration, border regimes, bureaucracy, humanitarianism, ethnography of migration experience
Greece, Turkey, European Union
Margarita Lipatova is a PhD candidate in the research group “Technicisation of Exclusionary Practices in the Context of Migration” in the Law and Anthropology Department at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle. She obtained a BSc in Asian and African Studies at the Lomonosov Moscow State University (Russia) and an MA in Medical Anthropology and South Asian Studies from the University of Heidelberg (Germany). After serving as a humanitarian worker in the health sector in refugee camps in northern Greece, Lipatova started working on her doctoral project, which aims to ethnographically examine the workings of the European border regime between Turkey and Greece. Her project analyses how the technologies of mobility control along Europe’s border are mobilized and enacted, as well as responded to and contested by the asylum seekers.
Why Law & Anthropology?
Migration control cannot be analysed without an understanding of the legal and administrative frameworks that are designed to regulate it. Particularly in the border regions – the sites of ultimate sovereign power that separate citizens from “outsiders” – it is essential to analyse the procedures that aim to exclude “unwanted migrants” but welcome “genuine refugees”. At the same time, the daily implementation of law enforcement diverges from its normative frames and can often be irregular and even unpredictable. Multiple actors, including migrants, bureaucrats, security officers, representatives of international organizations, and activists engage in translating the law into actual practice, which turns legal practice into a site of constant negotiation, albeit an asymmetrical one. Anthropology contributes to the analysis of the disparity between the representation of the law and its concrete practice, as well as to the contextual understanding of the struggles over power and belonging that occur in the enactment and enforcement of migration regimes.