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Arrival at the


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Narratives that represent migrants as interlopers into threatened national communities are fueling anti-immigrant rhetoric and policy around the world. Yet the socio-spatial forms of contemporary mobility fundamentally challenge this representation. Migration has never been a matter of homogenous hosts welcoming or rejecting new arrivals. Instead, it is often ethnic, political, or religious minorities who receive migrants in sites on the socio-spatial margins of economic and social centers. This special issue of Migration Studies, edited with Loren Landau (Oxford), explores the politics of these encounters.


Departures and arrivals can create possibilities for novel forms of solidarity and membership and can open new avenues for political mobilization. As migration routes and destinations diversify, so does the scope for social experimentation: new forms of social belonging, new economic practices, and the invention of rights that borrow from both formal and informal legal frameworks. But the margins can also disguise or legitimize forms of social and economic exclusion and marginalization. Heightened heterogeneity offers the possibilities to foster divisions readily exploited by power brokers and politicians. In its focus on dynamics at the margins, this special issue examines the ways in which responses to migration at the periphery may entrench patterns of privilege and create cleavages that reinforce, reconfigure, or respatialize social divisions.

Iskander, N. and L. Landau. The Centre Cannot Hold: Arrival, Margins, and the Politics of Ambivalence.  Introduction to ‘Arrival at the Margins’ a special issue of Migration Studies.10, no. 2 (2022): 97-111.

List of contributors and contributions – Migration Studies, Volume 10, Issue 2, June 2022

  • Kristen Sarah Biehl. “Spectrums of in/formality and il/legality: Negotiating business and migration-related statuses in arrival spaces.” pp 112–129

  • Sealing Cheng. “The poetics of togetherness: Conviviality of asylum-seekers in the shadow of Hong Kong.”  pp 130–151

  • Mary Boatemaa Setrana, Justice Richard Kwabena Owusu Kyei, Daniel Nyarko. “Beyond the binary debates in migration: Experiences of Fulani nomads, sedentary Fulani, and autochthone farmers in Agogo, Ghana.” pp 152–171

  • Susanne Wessendorf. “‘The library is like a mother’: Arrival infrastructures and migrant newcomers in East London.” pp 172–189

  • Ilana Feldman. “Conflicted presence: The many arrivals of Palestinians in Lebanon.” Pp 190–213

  • Diana Zacca Thomaz. “Urban citizenship for all? Exploring the limits of an agenda in São Paulo’s squats.” pp 214–234

  • Nicole Constable. “Continual arrival and the longue durée: Emplacement as activism among migrant workers in Hong Kong.” pp 235–252,

  • May Al-Dabbagh. “Serial migrant mothers and permanent temporariness in Dubai.” pp 253–273

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