“Cyprus Is a Big Prison”: Reflections on Mobility and Racialization in a Border Society

Leandros Fischer

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An increasing number of people around the world live in precarity (Neilson 2015). Those most affected by precarity include people forcefully displaced by conditions of wars and poverty. Though precarity seems not a directly globally organized process, critical studies associate precarious conditions with pre-vailing global hegemonic neoliberal systems (Harris and Scully 2015). Some regions, countries and people suffer more than others. For instance, in lesser democratic countries in the Middle East and Africa precarity have historically operated under authoritarian organisations from colonial to post-colonial periods.Over the past two decades, the notion of precarity has become an important concept to explore and articulate the nature of uncertainty faced by millions of people in all aspects of social, political, and economic life (Allen 2009; Casas-Cortes 2014; Standing 2011; Schierup and Jørgensen 2016). Etymological-ly, according to Casas Cortes (2014: 207), The term precarity is derived “(...) from the Latin root prex or precis, meaning “to pray, to plead,” and it commonly implies risky or uncertain situations.” The conceptual origin of precarity can be traced back to Pierre Bourdieu’s (1963) work on colonial Algeria and later in France in which he described it as a new system of class dominance resulting from the restructuring of the global economy producing new forms of vulner-abilities. In its more recent iteration, the concept gained momentum in Guy Standing’s (2011) proposition The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class. Standing explains the ‘precariat’ as a potentially emerging global class that could be-come a ‘dangerous class’ following recent intense political populist polarisa-tions often exploiting ethnic cleavages.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCoercive Geographies : Historicizing Mobility, Labor and Confinement
Publication date2020
ISBN (Electronic)9789004443204
Publication statusPublished - 2020
SeriesStudies in Critical Social Sciences


  • Transnationalism
  • Transnational connections
  • Precarity
  • Strategies
  • Nation-State
  • Transnational communities

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