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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Risk as Mobility: Undocumented Vietnamese Migrants in a Transnational Legal Limbo

  • Author(s): Glassey-Tranguyen, Trangdai
  • Advisor(s): Schwenkel, Christina
  • et al.
Abstract

This thesis looks at the Vietnamese undocumented immigrants in Berlin and their choice of risk as mobility through their perception of risk, their migration experiences, and their recollection and retrospective evaluation of risk. Risk here refers to the dangers and challenges the immigrants perceive and face in preparation for migration, en route to, and in Berlin. These three distinct moments unfold in three locations: Vietnam, the Eastern European countries they traverse, and Berlin, but flow in an integral continuum and not as separate or independent intervals. The three moments show the fluidity of migration and the transnational nature of risk through the linkage between temporality and spatiality, and between perception, experiences, and memories. In each of the three main sections of the thesis, I juxtapose theories with ethnographic accounts and oral history narratives to illuminate how these theories play out in the experiences of the Vietnamese immigrants. I follow the call to pay attention to and to integrate the non-humans in research on urban spaces. I embrace the departure from the sacrosanct separation of nature and society as seen in various bodies of sc¬holarship of late, including political ecology and urban studies.

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