Temporal bordering in the space of the camp: producing and contesting abandonment in Skaramagas and Elaionas camps in Athens

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This paper focuses on the temporalities of camps and the ways in which abandonment is produced within them through the deployment of temporal bordering practices. It presents empirical ethnographic evidence, gathered between January and June 2017, from Skaramagas and Elaionas camps in Athens. Although intended as temporary humanitarian solutions, many migrants have remained in them for long periods, stuck in a state of temporariness. Camps have been studied extensively through the lens of biopolitics as spaces of abandonment and abjectification. More recently, a growing body of literature is highlighting the everyday micro-politics and tactics of belonging that take place within them. Drawing on the latter, I shed light on the temporal aspects of border control involved in camps, arguing that camps provide a temporal, rather than only spatial, technology that governs encamped migrants through the administration of their time. Thus, the camp governs the critical moment between reception and in/exclusion from the polity. Yet, as I show, within this condition of semi-permanence and semi-presence, camp residents, through the practice of everyday life, being present and visible, create places and give new meanings to existing ones. If the border is enacted through the imposed temporalities of the camp, then its subversion can be found in these everyday place-making tactics. Looking into these micro-practices, this paper contributes to the above debates by exploring camps as temporal technologies of control.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102423
Number of pages10
JournalPolitical Geography
Early online date18 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Everyday bordering
  • Border temporalities
  • Borders
  • EU border regime
  • Camps
  • Resistance
  • Ethnography
  • Camp geographies
  • Athens
  • Abandonment
  • Subversion
  • Skaramagas
  • Elaionas
  • Place-making
  • Micro-practices
  • Governance


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