Author: Guest Post

Leros, Greece: refugees’ daily life on the island, a reportage

Leros, a sleepy island in the Aegean, harbors one of Greece’s five refugee hotspots. The island is famous for its volcanic topography, rationalist architecture, and fascist Italian occupation – and it’s only miles from Turkey. The refugee camp sits on the ocean’s edge- an otherwise picturesque coastline that draws tourists from around Europe during sweeter summer months. The camp opened in March 2016 with the capacity to hold up to 980 residents. Today, the camp is dangerously overcrowded. There are nearly 3,200 refugees on the island, over 1,000 of which are homeless. To protect themselves from bitter temperatures and days of unrelenting rain, they’ve inhabited a sprawl of abandoned buildings surrounding the fenced camp. These dilapidated buildings once operated as a mental asylum, until the asylum was exposed for embezzlement and human rights abuses in 1989. The buildings are still littered with rusty bedframes and faded Greek medical documents. The roof is caving and the floor is covered in broken glass. There is no electricity – nor toilets, showers or garbage bins. The police regularly …

Liaising Mauritania: Creating Bridges across Cultures

Flying in to Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, Renan Bourdeau looked down at the endless stretches of desert below and wondered how people survived. As a communications company executive who specialised in writing country reports to promote national economies and attract foreign investors, Bourdeau was no stranger to exotic lands. Experienced as he was in working with different cultural approaches to business, he knew nothing of Mauritania, one of Africa’s poorest countries. According to his company’s guide book – a “bible” which contained details of its previous assignments in the region and the insights gained – the country was controlled by the Moors who held office in Nouakchott while their extended families lived a more nomadic way of life in the desert. Social customs to bridge cultural chasms The pace and style of business in the capital was based on Bedouin social courtesies and traditions which Bourdeau was keen to respect. Hospitality was a requirement of a decent Mauritanian and Bourdeau was prepared to indulge in a great deal of tea-drinking during the course of …

London Boaters Mobilities in Today’s Society

Within London, it exists a community of nomadic people, which unfolds along and concurrently coexists with all the hustle and plurality of the vibrant urban life. London’s intricate architecture disguises the presence of a widespread network of canals and rivers that crisscross it, and it is within such intricate loom that boaters slowly and silently carry on their lives. It is a “secret town” (Cullen in Braithwaite 1976:8), that of boaters, a world on its own that, ever since the construction of the first narrowboat, has concealed a character of marginality and of partial separation from State’s institutions. While allowing a higher degree of freedom and independence, the freedom to be wherever you choose, to move wherever you want, the boat has also always gifted boaters with the self-sufficiency of resources. However, many are the implications as well as the contradictions that spring from the coexistence of such flexible nomadic lives within the bounded spaces and sharp structures of contemporary society. Narrowboats where first built as means for the transportations of industrial goods, and where …