Pursuing Stability and a Shared Development in Euro–Mediterranean Migrations

BY TRANSCEND MEMBERS, REVIEWS, 26 June 2017

Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra, PhD – TRANSCEND Media Service

Pursuing Stability and a Shared Development in Euro–Mediterranean Migrations, Emanuela C. Del Re and Ricardo R. Larémont (eds.), Rome: Aracne (2017)

26 Jun 2017 – The book, edited by two well-known scholars in the field, and with contributions of experts working in the Euro-Mediterranean area, sets forth a broader and ambitious agenda. Emanuela C. Del Re elaborates this agenda in the Introduction to the book: “This book, which is the result of a collaboration among different authors, provides a vivid, realistic, profound assessment of the current situation and has the ambition of suggesting innovative approaches and solutions, in a wide and inclusive perspective aiming at promoting a shared future and a concrete internalization of the concept of inter-dependence between all actors involved.” (p. 71)

The ambitious agenda as outlined in the Introduction is supported by rigorous analysis and crucial information, which are scarcely available. Many of the contributors stayed in the field, conducted extensive qualitative research, and teased out many hidden aspects of migration in one of the most happening places of the world – the Euro-Mediterranean region. Take any global issue of relevance – ethnic conflict, religious fundamentalism, migration and refugee crisis, political violence, the play of geopolitics, and the resource debate – all are starkly visible in this area and are addressed well in the chapters of the book. As if, this area – particularly the European region, which was basking in the era of stability and development, suddenly lapsed into the post-Cold War lurch, drawing attention of many serious scholars, including the editors of this highly relevant volume. The book has 16 chapters including chapters on recommendations and executive summary. It also has a rich compilation of bibliography and glossary of keywords in the concluding part.

The book makes deep inroads from a theoretical as well as a policymaking point of view. It brings forth many theoretical dimensions of the migration in the Euro-Mediterranean zone, and offers many nuanced perspectives. It aims to draw “a comprehensive study while using a multi-faceted analysis of the migration issue, taking into account the expertise, knowledge, background, and experiences of the authors. (p. 21) As promised by the editors, it deals with multiple issues, some of which include geopolitical dynamics of migration, European neighbourhood policy and its intersection with migration, immigration controls and human rights, gender and migration. It transcends the traditional perspectives on migration and makes a strong case to explore alternative approaches. It emphasises that “The causal and impact model of todays’ migrations is more complex and implies a number of motivations that cause people to migrate” (p. 35). It rightly argues, “An innovative approach is needed because migration have undergone changes in typology, numbers, risks for the migrants, impact on transit and destination countries” (p. 13). While elaborating these issues, Del Re deals with various factors propelling migration, various migration routes, and how Europe is dealing with this issue. The book also focuses on various case studies such as Libya and the Balkans. It also has focused on issues such as Turkish perceptions and policies, Syrian refugee crisis, and the issue of Macedonia and migration.

The editors’ passion towards the migration issue is not only revealing, but also their commitment to this issue appears striking from this book. The dedication page itself reflects the commitment of the editors, as they dedicate the book to “all those children, women and men who are looking beyond the horizon from all sides of the Mediterranean Sea.” Their passion is also reflected in the recommendations they offer to policymakers as to how to address this complex issue. Some of the useful recommendations the book makes include shared development and unpacking the ‘crisis’. It also focuses on how to reduce conflicts, how to address the issues of trafficking and criminal nexus. It emphasizes on the right to choose, to engage the migrant communities and the diaspora, and to adopt inclusive policies to protect human rights.

It is difficult to focus on every single contribution, though it might appear tempting. The editors have carefully chosen the research pieces to highlight both micro and macro, both case studies and issues of general and global relevance. Migration is a global phenomenon, and the book offers many useful perspectives on the understanding of this issue. Padraig O’Malley in his chapter brought forth how migration and conflict are interlinked, and how the conflicts are no more confined to the borders of the states, but also within the states. He rightly argues, “…conflict and migration have been inextricably intertwined, beginning with conflict over resources to survive, later for control of territory” (p. 156). He extensively drew from the cases in Africa and Europe, and dealt with issues like religious extremism, right wing politics, and technological innovation, and their linkages to migration and conflicts.  While Leila Hudson brought into focus various dynamics of the Syrian refugees, Marxiano Melotti examined the intersection of heritage, tourism and migration by focusing on Lampedusa, a site known for contested migration. Maria Immacolata Macioti and Nicolamaria Coppola examine complex interplays between gender and migration, and argue that migration can have enabling impact on women, and also can make them vulnerable. They argue, “Migration can be empowering for women, allowing women to obtain access employment and education…Conversely, migration may also exacerbate vulnerabilities, including abuse and trafficking…(p. 185). In their chapter on ‘Migrations in between Hollow Walls and Cosmopolitanism: the Balkans’, Hedvig Morvai and Dragan Djokovic analyze the effects of the closing of the Balkan migratory routes and emphasize on alternative solutions to the migration crisis. Their optimism is at its highest when they write, “A globalized world requires a re-examination of national borders and their practicality. Envisioning a different, fairer world, built upon principles of equality, may seem naïvely philanthropic and humanistic, but it is already happening on a global and important level on social networks” (281).

The book is a must for all – academicians, policymakers, civil society activists, UN, EU, and other agencies – who are concerned with issues of migration and its fallouts in Europe and other parts of the world. From a disciplinary perspective, the book belongs to multiple disciples including sociology, political science, economics, gender studies, migration studies, and public policy. The book certainly brings new perspectives to the study of migration issues, and offers valuable suggestions to address them. Its emphasis to develop an inclusive policy towards migration crisis in the Euro-Mediterranean region is need of the hour, and all who are interested to address the migration crises in this region need to benefit from this book.

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Dr Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra is a member of the TRANSCEND Network, Director of the Mahatma Gandhi Center for Non-Violence, Human Rights and World Peace at Hindu University of America in Florida, and a Fellow at the Center for Peace, Democracy and Development, University of Massachusetts Boston. He is an Indian commentator and his areas of interest include conflict transformation and peacebuilding in South and Central Asia. His edited book Conflict and Peace in Eurasia was published by Routledge in 2013.

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 26 June 2017.

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