This article argues that vehicles, roads and routes merit a much more central place in theorizations of migration politics. This argument is developed in terms of three theses. First, the study of migration politics should examine how vehicles feature in the public mediation of migration and border controversies. Second, it is important to analyze vehicles as mobile sites of power and contestation in their own right. Third, an understanding of the materiality of transportation helps to explain how the vehicle can sometimes become a site of strategic political action. These arguments are in turn used to develop a concept of viapolitics as a contribution to literatures on migration, mobilities and power. Viapolitics orients us to see migration from the middle, that is, from the angle of the vehicle and not just the state. It also seeks to connect migration studies to the history of problematizations, cultural types and the mythopoetics of the road.

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European Journal of Social Theory
Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Walters, W. (2015). Migration, vehicles, and politics: Three theses on viapolitics. European Journal of Social Theory, 18(4), 469–488. doi:10.1177/1368431014554859