The problematic decentring of migration policy studies

Segnaliamo l’articolo di Ferruccio Pastore  “The problematic decentring of migration policy studies” (DOI: 10.1080/21622671.2022.2052948) che conclude la special issue curata da Lorena Gazzotti, Melissa Mouthaan & Katharina Natter dal titolo “Governing migration beyond ‘Fortress Europe’. Embracing complexity in ‘Southern’ migration governance” (10.1080/21622671.2022.2039277) della rivista Territory, Politics, Governance.

A call for epistemic decentring as a strategy to overcome Western/Eurocentrism has been growing in many fields of social sciences. Migration policy studies have been late in joining this trend that, however, is particularly needed to catch up with the operational decentring that migration policies themselves have undergone in the last years. The concept of externalization, while still pertinent, is insufficient to make sense of the rapid expansion of migration-related policies (and associated politics) in non-Western polities. Even in Mediterranean and African countries, where the impact of externalization is undeniably heavy, there is a risk of distortion in explaining all migration policy change through external (European) pressures and conditionalities. Such methodological exogenism is itself paradoxically Eurocentric, however critical in its tone and intentions. The essays in this special issue give us important empirical and analytical tools to correct such fallacy and to bring the decentring agenda to life. This is an important pioneer move in what will necessarily be a long-term endeavour fraught with structural difficulties ranging from persisting North–South asymmetries in research capacity to the growing obstacles posed to fieldwork by hyper-securitization and policy informalization trends, now compounded by health-motivated restrictions to mobility.