The JungleCalais's Camps and Migrants
The Jungle
Calais's Camps and Migrants
Translated by David Fernbach
For nearly two decades, the area surrounding the French port of Calais has been a temporary staging post for thousands of migrants and refugees hoping to cross the channel to Britain. It achieved global attention when, at the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, all those living there were transferred to a single camp that became known as ‘the Jungle’. Until its dismantling in October 2016, this precarious site, intended to make its inhabitants as invisible as possible, was instead the focal point of international concern about the plight of migrants and refugees.

This new book is the first full account of life inside the Jungle and its relation to the global migration crisis. Anthropologist Michel Agier and his colleagues use the particular circumstances of the Jungle, localized in space and time, to analyse broader changes underway in our societies, both locally and globally. Starting from the camp’s architecture, the authors describe the transformation of its spaces into an embryonic shantytown, encouraging a wider reflection on urbanism in the context of increasingly mobile populations. They investigate how everyday life and routine operated in the Jungle, raising broader questions about how marginalised communities are perceived and represented. Finally, addressing the mixed reactions to the camp - from hostile government policies to movements of solidarity - the authors show our relationship with the Other as part of a wider struggle in the formation of local, national and transnational identities.

This comprehensive account of the life and death of Europe’s most infamous camp for migrants and refugees demonstrates that, far from being an isolated case, the Jungle of Calais brings into sharp relief the issues that confront us all today, in a world where the large-scale movement of people has become, and is likely to remain, a central feature of social and political life.
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  • December 2018
  • 200 pages
  • 138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $64.95
  • 9781509530601
  • Paperback $22.95
  • 9781509530618
  • Open eBook $22.95
  • 9781509530632
Table of Contents
  • List of illustrations
  • Introduction: For a better understanding
  • A longer history of the Jungle
  • Europe and the migration question
  • Calais as metonym for European crisisÉ and solidarity
  • Chapter 1. Movement To and Fro: The Calais Region from 1986 to 2016
  • 1986 – 1997: the indifference of the French authorities
  • 1997 – 999: a growing attention
  • 1999–2000: the Sangatte moment
  • 2002: British control at the port of Calais
  • The long years of eviction
  • 2009 – ‘the closing of the Calais jungle’ : a new media sequence
  • The network of voluntary organizations
  • A brief ray of light
  • The rise of the far right
  • September 2014 onward: concentrate, disperse, control
  • Chapter 2. From Sangatte to Calais: inhabiting the ‘Jungles’
  • Sangatte, 1999-2002
  • March 2015: Jungles, camps, squats
  • April 2015 to October 2016: The Jungle or ‘The Art of Building Towns’
  • Chapter 3. A Sociology of the Jungle: Everyday Life in a Precarious Space
  • Society under precarious conditions
  • Settling in the shantytown
  • Economic and social life
  • Making a community
  • Chapter 4. A Jungle of Solidarities
  • Calais as a cosmopolitan crossroads of solidarities
  • The situation in other encampments
  • Mobilization networks: from local to national
  • Chapter 5. Destruction, Dispersal, Returns
  • ‘The biggest shantytown in Europe’
  • The sheltering operation as spectacle
  • Dispersal
  • After the demolition: returns and rejections
  • Conclusion: The Calais Event
  • The camp as hypertrophy of the border
  • Cosmopolitics of the Jungle
  • Postscript: How this Book was Written
  • The Authors
  • Notes
  • Index
About the Author
Michel Agier is Senior Researcher at the French Institute of Research for Development (IRD) and Professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris, France. He is a leading authority on migration and refugees and his previous books in English include Borderlands, Managing the Undesirables and On the Margins of the World.

Translated by David Fernbach. 
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‘In this detailed depiction of life in “the Jungle”, Michel Agier and colleagues offer a powerful, poetic argument about the power and value of place. Taking seriously the lives of those in the camp, this work is a much-needed recognition of their experience and acknowledgement of their humanity.’
Michael Collyer, University of Sussex

In this work, Michel Agier brings his formidable intellect to bear on how we should understand the Calais “Jungle”. The result is a notable contribution to contemporary discussions of mobility, solidarity, precarity and, most importantly, how we think about Europe itself.’
Matthew J. Gibney, University of Oxford

“An outstanding historical, sociological and political analysis of the Calais camp. This book is a major contribution that will inform broader debates on refugees and migration."
Marie-Laurence Flahaux, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement and University of Oxford

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