After the closure of the formalized migration corridor in 2016, a non-linear, fragmented, often circular movement has become a dominant characteristic of migration movements in the Balkans. The movement is founded on constant attempts to continue the journey or to stay anchored at a certain location, despite efforts from the border regime to prevent such actions with its system of pushbacks, pullbacks, readmissions, the Dublin regulation, etc. In contrast to the stereotypical representation of the Balkan route as unidirectional, the phrase the Balkan circuit or circle emphasizes the existence of much more complex forms of movement across the Western Balkan states to the European Union and back. The Western Balkan borderscape is crisscrossed by amenable, multidirectional and often capillary migration routes. These routes, which in many different ways cut through the territories of national states and the borders between them, are the product of increasingly intensive securitarian practices.
The concept does not refer to the circulation of people on the move exclusively, but also to the circulation of other actors in the migration processes, police officers, humanitarian organizations, activists, which are traversing from one location to another in accordance with the dynamics of migration movements and the political responses to them. Beside people, knowledge, solidarity practices, techniques and technologies of surveillance and movement control, protocols of reception, diverse narratives, etc. also go round the Balkan circuit, contributing to the complex picture of the peripheral, Western Balkan borderscape (Stojić Mitrović and Vilenica 2019).
Stojić Mitrović, Marta and Ana Vilenica. 2019. “Enforcing and Disrupting Circular Movement in an EU Borderscape. Housingscaping in Serbia”. Citizenship Studies 23/6: 540-558.