Journal Article

Beyond conditionality versus cooperation: Power and resistance in the case of EU mobility partnerships and Swiss migration partnerships

Rahel Kunz and Julia Maisenbacher

in Migration Studies

Volume 1, issue 2, pages 196-220
Published in print July 2013 | ISSN: 2049-5838
Published online June 2013 | e-ISSN: 2049-5846 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/migration/mnt011
Beyond conditionality versus cooperation: Power and resistance in the case of EU mobility partnerships and Swiss migration partnerships

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  • Labour and Demographic Economics
  • Human Geography
  • International Relations
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Migration partnerships (MPs) have become a key instrument in global migration governance. In contrast to traditional unilateral approaches, MPs emphasize a more comprehensive and inclusive tackling of migration issues between countries of origin, transit, and destination. Due to this cooperation-oriented concept, most of the existing studies on MPs neglect power questions within partnerships in line with the official discourse, reflecting a broader trend in the international migration governance literature. Others take an instrumentalist view in analysing the power of partnerships or focus on soft power. Illustrated with the examples of the European Mobility Partnerships (EU MPs) and the Swiss Migration Partnerships (CH MPs), we conduct an analysis based on a concept of productive power drawing on post-structural and post-colonial insights. Our main argument is that in contrast to their seemingly consent-oriented and technical character, MPs are sites of intense (discursive) struggles, and (re-)produce meanings, subjects, and resistances. A productive power analysis allows us to move beyond the dichotomy in the literature between coercion and cooperation, as well as between power and resistance more broadly.

Keywords: international migration governance; migration partnerships; productive power; ‘othering’; resistance

Journal Article.  11247 words. 

Subjects: Labour and Demographic Economics ; Human Geography ; International Relations ; Migration Studies

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