ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Is COVID-19 a Critical Juncture in International Migration Governance?

Europe (Central and Eastern)
Governance
Latin America
Migration
Policy Change
Tamirace Fakhoury
Aalborg Universitet
Marianne Marchand
Universidad de las Américas Puebla
Maria Koinova
University of Warwick
Tamirace Fakhoury
Aalborg Universitet

Abstract

Covid-19 has triggered an unprecedented global health crisis in 2020, compared in magnitude only to the Spanish flu a century earlier. While the pandemic is still ongoing, from its very beginning public discourses in various global locations have reiterated that there is no return to what was known as “normal,” that the “new normal” is abnormality and that the world will evolve as a completely different place after COVID-19. Such discourses allude to what historical institutionalists have long considered a “critical juncture,” a crucial period of time of extreme uncertainty that profoundly changes political, social and economic structures and sets political relationships on paths they have not been before (Collier and Collier 1991, Pierson 2004, Capoccia and Kelemen 2007). This paper explores whether COVID-19 is indeed such a critical juncture in the international governance of migration, refugees and diasporas. Migration has been seriously affected by the swift retraction of sovereign power of states and drastic imposition of mobility restrictions. Yet, how profound have been such changes in discourses and practices regarding migration governance? And how profound have they been in different parts of the world? Drawing empirical evidence from Bulgaria, Mexico and Lebanon prior to and after the pandemic onset in March 2020, we examine in cross-comparative perspective political discourses and practices of securitization of migration through threat and risk, considered expected responses during uncertain periods, as well as additional policy responses made during the pandemic. We argue that while COVID-19 has indeed contributed to securitizing migration responses, such a ‘critical juncture’ as a “rupture in time and place” needs to be contextualized within longer-term temporalities and continuities of securitization.