Temporal Intersections of Mobility and Informality: Simsars as (Im)moral Agents in the Trajectories of Syrian Refugees in Turkey and Germany
Keywords:Syrian migration, human smuggling, brokerage, temporality
During the Syrian conflict that sparked after the insurgency in 2011, 5,6 million Syrians sought refuge in other countries. This article looks into the informal practices that have significance in the trajectories of refugees who fled first to Turkey and then to Germany. These informal practices are directed at the facilitation of spatial and social mobilities between and within these two countries: a) cross-border migrant smuggling and, b) employment and real estate brokerage. The accounts of the research participants point to a differential moral worth attached to these two modalities of informal facilitation: they value the work of smuggling and detest the idea of other types of brokerage. These views are in direct contrast to the views by the respective states, and the article discusses the reasons behind the asymmetry of moral assessments between the refugees’ accounts and the perspective of the two states. It is argued that refugees’ differential assessment is related to how their experiences of time changed between their flight and settlement in their new homes, as well as their perception of borders.
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