The winner of the 2014 IMISCOE - Maria Ioannis Baganha Dissertation Award is Dr. Ruben Andersson. His dissertation entitled “Clandestine Migration and the Business of Bordering Europe”, was defended at The London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London in March 2013. The award ceremony is to take place during the opening plenary of the upcoming IMISCOE conference in Madrid, on Thursday August 28th.
This dissertation is an ambitious and multifaceted ethnographic study of the “industry of illegality” at the Spanish-Moroccan border. It’s main contribution and originality lies in the fact that it paints a vivid image of the roles and workings of a wide array of stakeholders in the context of irregular arrivals from sub-Saharan Africa to Spain, including migrants, different types of governmental actors, civil society stakeholders and others, which Andersson describes as a “migration industry”.
Particular strengths are its coverage, multidimensionality, quality, originality and the engaging way it’s written. The author uses hundreds of interviews and the results of more than 14 months of participant observation as the basis of this thesis. One reviewer particularly praised how interesting the study is, “It is extremely interesting to learn the operational details of such different fields as the Frontex headquarters in Warsaw and the rundown external affiliates in Africa, the thriving business in Melilla and the futureless emptiness in Senegal.” Readers are invited to look at the everyday life of the illegality business in Senegal, Mali, Morocco, Southern Spain, and Poland through the eyes of an ethnographer-journalist. Another reviewer considered that this thesis would have a considerable impact on migration scholars: “His special focus on the ‘spectacle of the border’ at Ceuta and Melilla will certainly contribute to a better understanding of the contradictory and ambiguous logics of clandestine migration and the involved actors”.
The 2014 Maria Ioannis Baganha Dissertation Award Jury extends an honorable mention to Dr. Sorana Toma. Her dissertation entitled “Ties that bind? Networks and gender in international migration: The case of Senegal”, was defended at University of Oxford, Department of Sociology in October 2012.