Geography Reference
In-Depth Information
andarrows represent migration flows without inanywayreflecting the heterogeneity of
those who move, without reflecting on the possibly active role of the “receiving” coun-
tries, and without adequately reflecting possible shuttle or circular movement migrants
may have already made. What defines undocumented migration processes is invisibil-
ity,asmost migrants without papers obviously fear getting caught—hence their strategy
is to stay invisible and intractable for the biopolitical gaze of the border control. For,
in the EU border machine, the life as a migrant is controlled as in a Foucauldian pan-
opticon. The controlling eye of the Camera we live in is omnipresent and internalised
on the penalty of being considered an outlaw, an illegal. The watching connects to the
double function of the word border guard . They guard the border, the entrance to their
domain, their law, but they also stand guard; they wait for your coming and watch your
moves to check for possible threats to the sustenance of the law. This also implies that
how what is undocumented, irregular, and out of sight is made visible can be a determ-
ining factor in shaping the public opinion. Many of the current maps present migration
as massive, unaffected, unidirectional, and unstoppable flows towards imaginatively re-
activeandvulnerablestates(see,forinstance, Figure7.2 , madebyFRONTEXthataims
to identify and map the routes).
Maps like this do not only represent moral panics; they also coconstruct them (van
Schendel 2005). As Denis Wood (1993) has famously argued, the map's effectiveness
lies in the selectivity with which it is produced. The fear of undocumented immigrants
migration developments. The maps suggesting invasions of people omit that a very
small minority of the global population flees or migrates and that the EU is only “re-
ceiving” a fraction of this total number of refugees and migrants (Walters 2007). And
the majority of migrants is staying in the geographical proximity of their regions of ori-
What is more, the reality of undocumented migration is often more dispersed, dynam-
ic, fluid, and more of a transitory and zig-zag nature. The often taken for granted no-
tion of migration as one of linear movement leading to a final destination—and often
illustrated by the use of straight arrows, lines, and dots—is flawed (van Houtum 2012).
A few inspiring, although still fragmented, attempts to alternatively represent migration
into the EU have been made already, mainly by NGOs (e.g., Migmap, IndyMedia, and
Migreurop). Until now, these detailed accounts of when and why migrants migrate as
well as these alternative representations of migration are washed away in the highly in-
fluential mediated image of the “invasion” of unwanted migrants.
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