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  "Doing the Game": The Moral Economy of Coming to Europe

Pool, H. (2021). "Doing the Game": The Moral Economy of Coming to Europe. PhD Thesis, University of Cologne, Cologne.

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Pool, Hannah1, Author           
1International Max Planck Research School on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society, ou_1214550              


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 Abstract: For more than four decades, war and insecurity have forced people from Afghanistan to
move within the country and to neighboring Iran and Pakistan. Since 2014, however,
there has been a sharp increase in Afghans expanding their migration trajectories and
taking the dangerous and expensive route to the EU to seek asylum. This dissertation
seeks to explain what enables and hinders undocumented migration routes across international
borders over thousands of kilometers. Based on a ten-month multi-sited ethnography
from Iran to Germany, this research project examines how social relationships
and economic interactions enable, shape, and reinforce each other to facilitate or impede
undocumented migration.
Therefore, the research draws on the concept of the moral economy and examines
what I call a moral economy of coming to Europe. Thereby, the research develops a
dynamic and emic explanation of how migrants’ relationships with various actors facilitate
economic interactions necessary for exerting mobility.
On the one hand, the concept of the moral economy is deployed to analyze how mobility
arises and is sustained through informal loans from families in the country of origin,
smuggling services provided by community-based smugglers, and financial exchanges
with fellow migrants. On the other hand, the concept of the moral economy is applied
to explain phases of externally imposed immobility. By broadening the focus to include
border guards and humanitarian actors, the moral economy of violence and neglect as
well as control and care is examined.
In its five empirical chapters, the dissertation focuses on each of the trajectories’ sites
in Iran, Turkey, Greece, the so-called Balkan route, and Germany to locate and situate
the recorded interviews with 66 Afghan migrants and 10 NGOs.
The research contributes to an understanding of how social relationships and economic interactions are intertwined in undocumented migration in marginalized and insecure environments.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-07-132021
 Publication Status: Issued
 Pages: xii, 259
 Publishing info: Cologne : University of Cologne
 Table of Contents: Abstract
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
List of Tables

1 Introduction
1.1 The Moral Economy of Undocumented Migration
1.2 Literature Review: Migration, Mobility and Money
1.3 The Economic Shift in Afghan Migration to Europe
1.4 Terminology and Methodological Reflection: Migrants’ Agency
1.5 Outline

2 Methodology
2.1 Ethnography
2.1.1 Multi-Sited Ethnography
2.1.2 Field Sites
2.2 Recorded Interviews
2.3 Data Analysis
2.4 Privacy and Data Protection
2.5 Research Ethics
2.5.1 Access to the Field
2.5.2 Positionality of the Researcher
2.5.3 Dangers and Safety Concerns in the Field
2.5.4 Reciprocity in Research: A Moral Economy of Research?

3 Iran
3.1 Being an Afghan in Iran
3.2 Individual Income and Savings for Migration from Iran
3.3 Moral Economy of Family Loans for Migration
3.3.1 Receiving an Informal Loan from Family Members
3.3.2 Being Indebted to Family Members
3.3.3 Paying off Debts to Family Members

Crossing the Iranian-Turkish Border
4 Turkey
4.1 Afghan Undocumented Migrants in Turkey
4.2 Defining Human Smuggling and Qajaqbar
4.3 Moral Economy of Human Smuggling
4.3.1 Finding and Trusting a Qajaqbar
4.3.2 Negotiating Terms
4.3.3 Expecting a “Good” Qajaqbar
4.3.4 Smuggling Actors outside the Moral Economy

Crossing the Turkish-Greek Border
5 Greece
5.1 Encampment and Hot Spot Centers at the Greek EU Border
5.2 Defining Ham-Game Groups
5.3 Moral Economy of Ham-Game in Camps
5.3.1 Householding
5.3.2 Providing Goods and Services
5.3.3 Money Lending
5.4 Onward Migration from the Greek Islands

Crossing the Balkan Borders
6 Balkan Route
6.1 The Balkan Route: From Clandestine to Open to Expensive
6.2 Moral Economy of Violence and Abandonment
6.2.1 Border Enforcement through Violence
6.2.2 Abandonment
6.3 Moral Economy of Care and Control
6.3.1 Humanitarian Assistance in Cooperation with the State
6.3.2 Humanitarian Assistance without State Cooperation
6.3.3 Moral Economy of Humanitarian Giving

Crossing the Border to Germany
7 Germany
7.1 Asylum for Afghans in Germany: Duldung and Isolation
7.2 Moral Economy of Remittances
7.2.1 Social Remittances: Communicating a New Life
7.2.2 Financial Remittances: Paying off Debt and Sending Money
7.2.3 Returning to Iran or Afghanistan

8 Conclusion
8.1 The Trajectory of the ‘Moral Economy of Coming to Europe’
8.2 Theoretical, Conceptual, and Methodological Contributions
8.3 Avenues for Future Research

Annex A: Overview Interview Partners
Annex B: Codes in MaxQDA
Annex C: Interview Consent
Eidesstattliche Erklärung
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: -
 Degree: PhD



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