„Europe’s Waiting Room for Refugees: Negotiating Borders and Performing Resilience in Serbia“

This post is based on fieldwork I conducted in Serbia between July-August 2017. I conducted thirty semi-structured interviews and five weeks of participant observation with male Afghan refugees in order to understand how they are coping with their limited mobility due to closed borders along the Balkan route and restrictive asylum procedures. Despite the precarious state of limbo that these men are living in while they attempt clandestine border crossings, many of them claimed that life in Serbia was better than in Afghanistan. The men I met invariably used the term ‘refugees’ to describe themselves, despite not having been granted this status. To respect their self-identification, I will use this word to refer to them in this post. The accompanying photographs were taken by photographer Jenny Brover and are used with her permission. All names in this piece have been changed to respect the privacy of those I interviewed.

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