I employed CNA[1] to analyze words and worlds (Freire 1970)[2]” (cit. in Souto-Manning, 2014, p. 171).

Firstly, I adopted the discursive analysis of the textual corpus made up of the main EU and Italian laws on the right of asylum [Political discourses] and the parliamentary debates on the ddl. Security and immigration 840/2018; the most recent act amending the Italian asylum system [Parliamentary discourses]. This was included in the PASS project because both legal texts and parliamentary debates have strong and concrete territorial effects (Mezzadra, 2007). Focusing on the “law-spatial-nexus” (Bennett & Layard, 2015, cited p. 418, see Blomley and Clark) allows us to move “from the visual and political order of representation to the spatial transformations they generate” (Tazzioli, 2015, p. 6). Laws and policies implemented by the Member States provide the basis for the establishment of specific subjects’ categories (eg. asylum-seekers/irregular/refugees) as well as for the structure of asylum procedures, by defining temporal and spatial structures (different types of centres and their location).

In order to understand the socio-spatial impact of asylum legislation and policies in the EU, I deliberately used several different research tools.

Secondly, I carried out different ethnographic fieldworks – in Italy and in the Netherlands – with the aim of more closely understanding the socio-territorial impact of the legislation and, above all, its implementation on the ground. To this end, I interviewed both migrants and individuals involved in the asylum and reception system in Italy and in the Netherlands, including NGO workers, public officials, and political representatives. During the fieldwork research, I tried to understand – in connection with the previous discursive analysis – the impact of the law and the reception system on migrants with different legal status, as well as the autonomous actions carried out by migrants in (more or less stark) contrast with policies at EU and/or national level [e.g. secondary movements].


[1] Critical narrative analysis

[2] Freire, P. 1970. Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York, NY: Continuum


Bennett, L., & Layard, A. (2015). Legal geography: Becoming spatial detectives. Geography Compass, 9(7), pp. 406-422.

Mezzadra, S. (2007). Confini, migrazioni, cittadinanza. Papers: revista de sociologia, (85), pp. 31-41.

Souto-Manning, M. (2014). Critical narrative analysis: The interplay of critical discourse and narrative analyses. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 27(2), pp. 159-180.

Tazzioli, M. (2015). Which Europe? Migrants’ uneven geographies and counter-mapping at the limits of representation. movements. Journal for Critical Migration and Border Regime Studies, 1(2), https://movements-journal.org/issues/02.kaempfe/04.tazzioli–europe-migrants-geographies-counter-mapping-representation.html.