Tangier heat: On migrant vulnerability and social thermology

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  • Tangier Heat

    Accepted author manuscript, 258 KB, PDF document

This article investigates a particular moment of political tension and intimidation of sub-Saharan migrants in Northern Morocco. Drawing on insights gained from collective fieldwork in Tangier, as well as from individual, longstanding ethnographic engagements with migrants from Guinea-Bissau and Mali, it describes the way West African migrants are policed, used as political capital and made the unwilling pawns of large-scale geopolitical negotiations. Targeted and intimidated as part of a diplomatic performance related to the bilateral dealings between Morocco and the European Union, their hardship is orchestrated to communicate the Moroccan state’s control of migration flows into the EU. The article clarifies the existential and social consequences of such staged persecution among migrants and elucidates how it is made sense of and managed through vernacular notions of ‘heat’, a metaphor for nonviable existence. As we shall see, such metaphors provide a window to a larger ‘social thermological’ register prevalent in making sense of precarious circumstance in both social life, social science and politics.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - hot spots, West Africa, North Africa, migration, ethnographic criminology, social thermology

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