Impossible protest: noborders in Calais

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Since the closure of the Red Cross ‘ refugee reception centre ' in Sangatte, undocumented migrants in Calais hoping to cross the border to Britain have been forced to take refuge in a number of squatted migrant camps, locally known by all as ‘the jungles.' Unauthorised shanty-like residences built by the migrants themselves, living conditions in the camps are very poor. In June 2009 European ‘noborder' activists set up a week long protest ‘ camp ' in the area with the intention of confronting the authorities over their treatment of undocumented migrants. In this article, we analyze the June 2009 noborder camp as an instance of ‘immigrant protest.' D rawing on ethnographic materials and Ja cques Rancière's work on politics and aesthetics we construct a typology of forms of border control through which to analyze the different ways in which the politics of the noborder camp were staged, performed and policed. Developing a critique of policing practices which threatened to make immigrant protest ‘ impossible, ' we highlight moments of protest which, through the affirmation of an ‘ axiom atic' equality, disrupted and disarticulated the borders between citizens and noncitizens, the political and non-political.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-172
Number of pages16
JournalCitizenship Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2013


  • protest
  • policing
  • Franco-British border
  • camps
  • Ranciere


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