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What the authorities pejoratively call “abuses”, for example, relating to the asylum or visa system, from the perspective of the autonomy of migration is recognized as the appropriation of elements of the asylum system (accommodation facilities, corresponding administrative status, etc.) or employment or study visas for the purposes of realizing movement. In addition to the appropriation of places and means of transport, such as public or abandoned areas and buildings, mountain and forest roads, or protection systems, the already mentioned asylum system or concepts such as vulnerability and the institution of marriage, work and the like, we can also talk about the appropriation of means of migration control.

Stephan Scheel (2019) analyzed the notion of appropriation in detail, ethnographically relating it to the embodied practices of appropriation of the visa system and the related technological solutions and frameworks. Appropriation practices, according to Scheel (2019: 92-96 et passim), arise both in reaction to and in support of control systems and the security apparatus in general. In reaction, because the security apparatus limits mobility and thus emboldens practices that oppose it, but also in support, because this apparatus, due to its heterogeneity and complexity, depends precisely on the actions of those whose mobility it tries to control. More importantly, they can use its heterogeneity and complexity to their advantage and migrate, despite the fact that this is precisely the action that it is designed to prevent. In other words, appropriation is inextricably connected to migration control and implies a clandestine, as imperceptible as possible, recoding of means and practices of control through apparent compliance. As such, it is necessarily ambivalent. Furthermore, it is also political, as it directly questions the efficacy and legitimacy of institutionalized forms of authority.

Appropriation and mobile commons are also at the center of contemporary literary representations of migration, especially when it comes to texts that criticize the repressive migration control regime and practices such as detention and deportation through irony and sarcasm, as is the case in the novels Two Blankets, Three Sheets by Rodaan Al Galidi (2016) or Sangue giusto by Francesca Melandri (2017).



Papadopoulos, Dimitris and Vassilis S. Tsianos. 2013. „After Citizenship. Autonomy of Migration, Organisational Ontology and Mobile Commons“. Citizenship Studies 17/2: 178-196.

Scheel, Stephan. 2019. Autonomy of Migration? Appropriating Mobility within Biometric Border Regimes. London and New York: Routledge.

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