Governing Migration
October 9, 2007 2:07 PM   Subscribe

A Virtual Cartography of European Migration Policies MigMap conveys a picture of how and where the production of knowledge is currently taking place in the field of migration – and of who is participating in and has access to it. It investigates precisely how the new forms of supranational governance that can be observed in the European migration regime function. It looks, for example, at how European standards in politics and civil society are implemented, and at the authorities, persons and institutions taking part in this process. It examines how the various key players in the public and private spheres are interrelated and funded, as well as at the ways in which these spheres overlap or differ in terms of focus, location or personnel. Finally, it analyzes how responsibilities are allocated and legitimized – and explores the theories, data and discourses upon which current paradigms in migration are based.

The four maps “Key Players”, “Discourses”, “Europeanisation” and “Places + Practices” provide access to a broad range of information on players, debates, processes and events that together comprise Europe’s present day migration policies.

MigMap was proposed as an artistic project in the context of TRANSIT MIGRATION and as contribution to the exhibition "Projekt Migration". and is supported by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and Pro Helvetia, Arts Council of Switzerland and the Aargauer Kuratorium.
posted by psmealey (12 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
One sentance summary of what this is for thickies?
posted by Artw at 2:30 PM on October 9, 2007

Expansive social movements + complicated bureaucratic processes + hundreds of thousands of meeting hours + reams of research + new-fangled data visualization techniques -> pretty pictures
posted by psmealey at 2:39 PM on October 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Summary from the website:

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I think it may be a little premature to announce this as Best of the Web.
posted by gum at 2:39 PM on October 9, 2007

First of all, aesthetically as well as functionally, those maps are crap. In other words, they are ugly and illegible. Text too small, no understanding whatsoever of what the graphic conventions in a map mean (crossing level lines? come ON!), and no relation whasoever between symbols and content.

Secondly, what little content can be gleaned from that useless interface is utterly ridiculous.

Look for instance at the "actors" map: I see a myriad virtually unknown, but very left-wing NGOs ("frassanito"?), but no mention whatsoever of those lovely folks at the Front National, BNP, Vlaamse Blok, Danish People's Party, etc. that arguably, if unfortunately, play a much bigger role in the public discourse about immigration these days. Same for the media: one would think that the "Monde Diplomatique" (weekly of choice of the French intellectual hard left: not a very big constituency, as we saw in the last French elections) is the most relevant media in Europe. And not a single even moderately right-wing medium (with the possible exception of CNN) is mentioned: where are the tabloids?!

Likewise in the "discourses" map: the "neoliberal platforms" (bad!) are set against the "counterhegemonic spaces" (good!). "Racism" is only cited as an afterthought.

This is purely hard-left mental masturbation, badly done, as usual. I can't hardly bear the thought that this shit was supported with public funds. Congratulations guys, you just gave another talking point to the xenophobes.
posted by Skeptic at 3:11 PM on October 9, 2007

I can't get past level 1.
posted by oh pollo! at 4:48 PM on October 9, 2007

oh polio!, keeping trying. It's not Tufte at all.
posted by dhartung at 5:23 PM on October 9, 2007

Don't knock hard-left masturbation, mental or otherwise. It's the only vigorous exercise some of us get.
posted by psmealey at 7:04 PM on October 9, 2007

Psmealey, the data behind all this stinking visual shit looks very interesting, and I would love to hard-left-masturbate or otherwise to it if the website went away and were replaced by a text file of tabular data.

Can you convince your contacts in this project to at least provide the raw data on a page next to this abortion?
posted by gum at 11:39 PM on October 9, 2007

The idea is that the data is so complex or enormous, it would be too complex and extensive in a spreadsheet ("tabular data"? Really. Most of what's here is polydimensional and would require several data cubes to properly understand). Data visualization projects attempt to put a visual structure around, explain and make sense of complex research. Doesn't work for you, that's great, I at least thought it was compelling and it got me to think about how to present such data in new and different ways even if it's imperfect.
posted by psmealey at 3:37 AM on October 10, 2007

psmealey: What complex and extensive data? What complex research? To me, these maps appear to be merely an arbitrary collection of names and concepts arbitrarily thrown together following no particular guidance beyond that of a fringeish political agenda. To give an example, neither the choice of "actors" nor the size of their representation in the actor map appear to correspond to any recognizable set of objective quantitative data.

At least the site is correctly labelled. It's called an "art project", not a science project, and that's exactly what it is. I also think it is crap art, but that is a matter of personal taste.
posted by Skeptic at 4:35 AM on October 10, 2007

You established that earlier, we're now covering old ground here. I agree with you somewhat as to its execution (and that it's more art than science), but still found it provocative, as did you, otherwise you might not have been otherwise moved to register your contempt twice in the same thread.
posted by psmealey at 4:42 AM on October 10, 2007

Psmealey, aside from question-marks on the data (already raised) and purely on the means of expression, I thought it was an interesting take on a very difficult thing to depict. I'd have liked to have seen the nodes of decision-making power and their extent mapped onto one or other of the maps (or did I miss something?). The "Europeanisation" map would have better to have been kept at "policy processes", so they could include national processes. The Places and Practices map had no value at all.
posted by YouRebelScum at 5:43 AM on October 10, 2007

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