Comparing the protests of undocumented migrants beyond contexts: collective actions as acts of emancipation
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2016, 15:02 by Pierre Monforte, P. Dufour
In this article, we demonstrate that the collective actions of undocumented migrants possess similar symbolic dimensions, even if the contexts of their actions differ. We explain this finding by focusing on the power relations that undocumented migrants face. Given that they occupy a very specific position in society (i.e., they are neither included in nor completely excluded from citizenship), they experience similar forms of power relations vis-à-vis public authorities in different countries. We argue that this leads them to participate in collective actions as acts of emancipation. Our analysis illustrates this argument by comparing marches by undocumented migrants in three countries: France, Germany and Canada-Quebec. Through an in-depth analysis, we demonstrate that these marches redefine the legal order and politicize the presence of undocumented migrants in the public sphere. By highlighting the cognitive, emotional and relational dimensions of collective actions, we show that the symbolic dimension of these three marches relates to the empowerment, pride and solidarity of undocumented migrants.