47 / 2018
Laura Boucsein

Book Review - Gabriella Lazaridis, International Migration to Europe: From Subjects to Abjects: Migration, Diasporas and Citizenship Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, pp. 199.

In the context of the growing stigmatization of migrants in Europe and other parts of the world, Gabriella Lazaridis’ book International Migration to Europe: From Subjects to Abjects, published in 2015 by Palgrave Macmillan, is a very timely contribution to the literature. The book examines processes of inclusion and exclusion of migrants in Europe and is explicitly placed in the context of a discourse which increasingly links migration to security concerns.
With the aim of examining and increasing people’s awareness of the exclusion and the “othering” of migrants in Europe, Lazaridis chooses a rights-based approach, theoretically grounded in Arendt’s notion of citizenship as the right to have rights. From this starting point, the author develops four different categories of migrant subjectivities, shaped by the migrants’ respective legal statuses and representing the inclusion-exclusion continuum: subjects, éjectés, injects, and abjects. In her definition, subjects have access to full citizenship rights, whereas éjectés are of a “quasidocumented status”. Injects, having been purposefully “injected” into the receiving country, enjoy a special legal status, and abjects, as irregular migrants, are in the most vulnerable and marginalized situation. Adopting the concept of plastic citizenship as a citizenship which is “fluid, flexible and easily altered by public authorities”, Lazaridis emphasizes that states and supranational entities have the power to grant and deprive migrants of their rights, and thereby contribute to a process of abjectification. In addition to the legal status, Lazaridis examines how different forms of “othering” contribute to the marginalization of migrants, attributing special importance to a new form of racism in shaping migrants’ situations and subjectivities.

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