The ongoing refugee streams that derive from the recent conflict in the Middle East are a central issue to the growing socio-political debate about the different facets of contemporary crisis. While borders, in the era of globalization, constitute porous passages for capital goods and labor market, at the same time they function as new enclosures for migrant and refugee populations. Nevertheless, these human flows contest border regimes and exclusionary policies and create a nexus of emerging common spaces.
Our basic argument is that despite the vivid and increasingly popular discussion on commons and urban social movements, there have been few attempts to think it together with the ongoing migrants and refugees’ crisis. During the current migrants’ crisis, the newcomers do not just claim the urban space but they occupy and tend to transform it to common space. Moreover, the moving populations try to challenge cityscapes and border regimes, as well as they seek to negotiate and go beyond cultural, class, gender, religious and political identities. At the same time the newcomers produce hybrid spaces and collectively reinvent a culture of coexistence, sharing and commoning. Consequently, the newcomers produce unique and porous common spaces, spaces in movement and threshold spaces. In parallel, neoliberal exclusionary policies tend to appropriate the migrants’ common spaces, with several methods like closing borders, forced evictions, detention centers-camps and hot spots.
Based on the above context, this paper attempts to elaborate a critical methodological framework that examines the emerging migrants’ common space focusing on the case of Greece, a country that is in the epicentre of the current refugee crisis. We pinpoint in the cases of Greek borderscapes in Mytilene and Idomeni; the former is the main entrance point in the East and the later is the exit point in the North. Based on this context, we explore how the newcomers challenge the existing socio-spatial power relations and produce unique, unpredictable and misfitting common spaces.