Advocacy for Migrants in European Transit Zones. Analysing Innovative Strategies for Political Change.

01 January 2023 → 31 December 2025
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Ethnicity and migration studies
    • Political and legal anthropology
    • Social movements and collective action
    • Voluntary associations, participation and civil society
    • Immigration
critical border studies migrant solidarity politics of humanitarianism
Project description

A rising number of migrants are ‘stranded’ in so-called ‘transit zones’ across Europe. Most governments try to deter migrants from dwelling in these transit zones, by putting in place a series of repressive policies, e.g. by destroying tents and shelters. This does not deter migrants, but pushes them into ever more destitute living conditions. In response, citizen collectives and established NGOs try to put pressure on their governments, to change migrants’ living conditions within these transit zones. This project investigates the impact of these advocacy initiatives within three such transit zones, and the policies leading up to them: Brussels, Calais, and the Aegean islands. We examine which advocacy strategies have been successful, and why this has been the case. We also draw particular attention to how the appearance of citizen collectives has changed the overall landscape of humanitarian aid within these transit zones: to what extent have they led to fruitful collaborations between NGOs and citizens collectives? And have they pushed NGOs into taking a more openly critical stance towards their governments? Through a combination of document analysis, interviews and case studies, this project will contribute to scholarly debates on the innovative nature of advocacy strategies used by citizen collectives, and on the effectiveness of advocacy in contributing to political change in migration policies.