We don't remember the O‐Platz protest camp for the sake of it. Collective memories and visibility of migrant activism in Berlin

Perolini, Marco. 2022. We don't remember the O‐Platz protest camp for the sake of it. Collective memories and visibility of migrant activism in Berlin. Sociology Compass, 16(12), e13009. ISSN 1751-9020 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The activists opposing border regimes in Berlin still vividly remember the migrant protest camp on Oranienplatz (O-Platz), a square in the neighborhood of Kreuzberg, a decade after its establishment in 2012. For them, the protest camp is the ideal type of mobilization against border regimes; the opportunity for racialized migrants to engage in politics and formulate grievances based on their own experiences of border regimes. O-Platz is remembered as a visible migrant grassroots protest in the backdrop of a history of invisibility of migrant struggles in Germany. In contrast, activists frame their mobilization after O-Platz as invisible and fragmented, despite the emergence of new networks and alliances, which, however, are not led by migrant activists. Collective memory bridges different movement phases and emphasizes the importance of visibility achieved by collective action centered around the experiences of subaltern groups, specifically racialized migrants with precarious legal status. I argue that memory work is crucial for countering the invisibility and erasure of grassroots migrant struggles in Germany. Memory work has an aspirational function as it transforms characteristics of past mobilization into aspirations for the present, especially in a phase where new players emerge, and the role of grassroots migrant activism seems fading.

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aspirations, collective memory, invisibility, migrant struggles, politics, refugees

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21 June 2022Accepted
15 July 2022Published Online
December 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

26 Jul 2022 12:55

Last Modified:

09 Dec 2022 10:33

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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