New publication: "Techniques to be respected as a human being!": moving beyond the binary of strategies and tactics"

Institute of Communication and Public Policy

New study challenges conventional views of migrant adaptation: Eritrean refugees in Switzerland navigate a complex continuum of strategies and tactics in pursuit of integration, reveals research by Wegahta B. Sereke and Jolanta A. Drzewiecka, just published in the Ethnic and Racial Studies journal.



Migrants’ actions of embedding in new ethnonational contexts have been interpreted as de Certeau’s “tactics of the weak” forging new lives according to their own visions of integration in the territory of the powerful. While the concept of tactics offers a useful tool for understanding migrants as agentic, applications of tactics and strategies as a binary of contrary forms of power simplify our conceptions of how the marginalized navigate everyday life. We argue that understanding actions as tactical and/or strategic should be based in de Certeau’s original distinction between lieu propre and espace, and not subjectivity. Based on our analysis of modes of action by Eritrean refugees in Switzerland, we show that they use both tactical and strategic forms of power, sometimes simultaneously and deploy power by proxy. We argue that it is more productive to see strategies and tactics as forming a continuum of modes of action.