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Centre of Development Studies


Dr Marthe Achtnich has recently published a book with Cambridge University Press: ‘Mobility Economies in Europe’s Borderlands: Migrants’ Journeys through Libya and the Mediterranean.’

The arrival of unauthorized migrants at the shores of southern Europe has been sensationalized into a migration ‘crisis’ in recent years. Yet these depictions fail to grasp migrants’ experiences and fall short of addressing a more complex phenomenon. In this original ethnography, Marthe Achtnich examines migrants’ journeys and economic practices underpinning mobility to recast how we think of migration. Bringing the perspectives and voices of migrants to the fore, she traces sub-Saharan migrants’ journeys along one of the world’s most dangerous migration routes: through the Sahara Desert, Libya, and then by boat to Malta in Europe. Examining what she calls ‘mobility economies’, Achtnich demonstrates how these migrant journeys become sources of profit for various actors. By focusing on migrants’ long and difficult journeys, the book prompts a necessary rethinking of mobile life and economic practices under contemporary capitalism, and the complex relationship between the two.

The book: