The continued fortification of borders has become a constitutive element of global migration governance. As a result, reports on violence against migrants at the borders of their desired destination countries have sadly become part of everyday newspaper reporting. This raises substantive questions about the concept of migration governance itself: Is migration a problem to be solved by governance, or is migration governance a problem in itself?
Over the last years, the focal policy field global migration, convened by Volker Heins, has brought together a regular flow of research fellows who have joined Volker and several of our core staff in exploring the potentials and downsides of global cooperation in the global migration field. Important scientific and policy contributions have resulted, including special journal issues, books in our Routledge Global Cooperation Series and with other publishers.
As Volker Heins’ term as policy field convener is coming to end, this Special Issue of the Centre’s Global Cooperation Research – A Quarterly Magazine brings together his own critical reflections and a number of provocative essays on ‘Brutalism – The Violence at the Core of “Migration Governance”’. Contributions discuss how migration governance turns against migrants (Heins, Álvarez Velasco (see also recent KHK lecture)), reflect on what a deserted migration camp can tell us about the brutality of border governance (Bird); how perspectives of migration groups differentiate over time (Chipato) and how re-imagining historical paths of migration can open avenues for alternative approaches to global cooperation on migration. With this Special Issue we would also like to thank Volker Heins for his leadership and contributions to the Centre’s global migration policy field.
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Sigrid Quack is the Managing Director of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg/Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21) and Professor of Sociology at the University of Duisburg-Essen. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.