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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:55619
Doc. No:TL25573
Call number:‭3212412‬
Main Entry:Sarah Shana Willen
Title & Author:“No person is illegal”? Configurations and experiences of “illegality” among undocumented West African and Filipino migrant workers in Tel Aviv, IsraelSarah Shana Willen
College:Emory University
Date:2006
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2006
Page No:465
Abstract:Between the late 1980s and early 2000s, an estimated 300,000 transnational migrant workers from locales as diverse as Nigeria and the Philippines, Ghana and Ecuador, Romania and Mongolia arrived in Israel, thereby radically transforming the urban ethnoscape of metropolitan Tel Aviv. About half of these new arrivals are classified by the Israeli state as "legal" and half as "illegal." All, however, are categorically excluded from the Israeli imagined community on the basis of their lack of Jewish heritage. During this brief period of mass non-Jewish immigration, Israeli government attitudes evolved from benign neglect (late 1980s--early 2000s) to deep-seated economic and demographic anxiety, resulting in a vigorous and resource-intensive policy of criminalization and expulsion beginning in mid-2002. This study, which draws upon 26 nonconsecutive months of ethnographic fieldwork (spanning these two periods) in the heavily migrant-populated neighborhoods of South Tel Aviv, takes the rapidly changing condition of migrant "illegality" in Israel as object of ethnographic investigation. More specifically, the study aims to develop a "critical phenomenological" approach (Desjarlais 1997) to the study of migrant "illegality" designed to illuminate how "illegal" migration status is both configured (in ideological, rhetorical, bureaucratic, and sociological terms) and how it is experienced for Filipino and West African (primarily Nigerian and Ghanaian) migrants in the Israeli host society context. The dissertation thus addresses a fundamental limitation within contemporary research on undocumented transnational migration. Migrant "illegality" is becoming an increasingly significant object of ethnographic analysis in terms of both its political and its sociological impact on migrants' lives. Yet a crucial third dimension remains largely neglected: its phenomenological impact on migrants' lived, embodied experiences of "being-in-the-world." By addressing this theoretical and empirical lacuna while simultaneously attending to multiple layers of global, regional, and local political economic process, this study infuses current scholarship on undocumented migration with a phenomenological sensitivity to how "being illegal" shapes migrants' experiences of time, space, embodiment, intersubjectivity, agency, and self, as well as their encounters with liminal and stressful moments including pregnancy and reproduction, illness and injury, crisis and tragedy. Overall, the study creates innovative linkages among otherwise disparate fields of anthropological scholarship including, in particular, the fields of legal and phenomenological/medical anthropology.
Subject:Health and environmental sciences; Social sciences; Filipino; Illegality; Israel; Migrant workers; Tel Aviv; Undocumented; West African; Cultural anthropology; Sociology; Public health; Aliens; Studies; 0326:Cultural anthropology; 0573:Public health; 0626:Sociology
Added Entry:P. J. Brown
Added Entry:Emory University