Essay on The Movement Of People Across Borders
The movement of people across borders can result in contested notions of places and their meanings. The movement of refugees, and their occupation in camps, brings these issues to the forefront as they physically and discursively contest the normative places of where they are. Refugees have been gathering in the port city of Calais since 1999 in hopes of reaching the UK (Kern, 2016). The refugee camps in Calais are collectively known as a ‘Jungle,’ a vocabulary that is reproduced by the media and politicians as a way to dehumanize the refugee. Through the theoretical framework of sense of place, place making and place names the refugee camps in the French city of Calais will be analyzed. Place names are a significant factor in determining how a place is viewed and thought of, and are reflective of broader power relations. Place-making as resistance will also be explored as a way to counter hegemonic discourses of who and what is allowed to belong in certain spaces. The citizens of Calais and the French government are engaged in place-making politics with refugees who have informally settled in the port city. Although the name ‘Jungle’ was first used by migrants in Calais, the name now represents the contested meanings and power relations between refugees and the wider population. The refugees in Calais, by transforming camps into meaningful places, are resisting and reshaping the normative views of the spaces they are occupying.