Strategic Interactions between Migrant and Non-migrant Actors within the Struggles for the Rights of Immigrants

Mr. Youri Lou Vertongen

In response to restrictions imposed upon human mobility, and the tensions associated, social movements for migrants’ rights have significantly increased in the EU Member States. Wherever social movements mobilize for welcoming migrants and promoting a different view of migration, they take the shape of collaborations. These collaborations are often conflictual between migrants gathered in ephemeral collectives and NGOs composed of national citizens who engage in solidarity acts with those migrants (logistical aid, actions to raise public awareness, intermediation with public powers).

This paper aims to compare the dynamic interactions between migrant actors and non-migrant actors in collective mobilisation for migrants’ rights, wich emerged between 2015 and 2017, in Paris (France) and in Brussels (Belgium). It will also analyses collaborations between the different actors who are engaged in the cause that can operate following other lines of tension than those opposing migrants and non-migrants (for example, the one that differentiates between “asylum seekers”, who aim at the recognition of the rights provided by the Geneva Convention of 1951, and “economic migrants”).

At the intersection between a sociology of collective mobilisations and a sociology of migrations, this paper builds on ethnographic material (participant observation and around thirty interviews) collected in the context of a one-year research conducted with ten organizations (five are composed of migrants, five of national citizens) engaged for the rights of migrants in Paris and Brussels.