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‘Not Knowing When It's Going to Happen and What's Going to Happen’: The Time Politics of Applying for a Residence Permit in the Czech Republic

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Rok publikování 2023
Druh Článek v odborném periodiku
Časopis / Zdroj Sociologický časopis
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Přírodovědecká fakulta

Klíčová slova time politics; waiting; chrononormativity; bureaucracy; migration
Popis This study focuses on the time politics involved in applying for a residence permit in the Czech Republic, with a focus on non-European Union (EU) applicants. It examines how governmentality and state superiority are represented and performed within the bureaucratic procedure of the application process. Based on the results, I argue that the application process bureaucracy is tied to time politics - practices that govern others through time. The paper is based on research realised in Brno, the second-largest city in the Czech Republic, and uses qualitative, ethnographic observations and semi-structured interviews with immigrants from non-EU countries who applied for a long-term residence permit. The paper examines time politics within this process, highlighting its unpredictability, disrupted temporal linearity and chrononormativity. In this context, the respondents describe the waiting period as a moment of being in between - temporally, spatially and socially. Therefore, I argue that the time politics experienced throughout the application process significantly influences the lives of applicants. The interviews revealed that the applicants were caught in a liminal position with an uncertain ending, exemplified by the impossibility of moving (temporally, spatially and socially) - a feeling often described as stuckedness. Consequently, this time politics and the temporal inequality and disadvantages experienced during the process contribute to exclusion from mainstream Czech society and produce structural invisibility.
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