In Greece, Italy, and Spain, austerity policies combined with the structural density of migration flows have had concrete social and material manifestations in the delivery of public health care. Through our ethnographic case studies in Lampedusa and southeastern Sicily, Melilla, and Athens, we examine the maternity care offered to migrant patients in the midst and the aftermath of the so-called “migration crisis” in state and non-state structures. Research was conducted in Athens and southeastern Sicily from August 2016 to August 2017; in Melilla from August 2016 to October 2016 and in January 2017; and in Lampedusa from August 2016 to January 2017. Data collected consist in semi-structured interviews and long-term ethnographic observations. The article explores whether and how the understanding or the labeling of the maternity care of migrants as an emergency within a context of professed crisis generates new norms of care within health-care delivery. Our findings suggest a) the adoption of solutions or practices that in the past might have been considered urgent, ad hoc, or creative; b) their normalization, deeply connected to the wider social landscape of these European peripheries and c) the institutionalization of humanitarianism in the context of these practices. Our research points out temporalities of emergency against the background of a professed migration crisis. In the context of austerity-driven underfunding, temporary solutions become entrenched, producing a lasting emergency. Yet, we argue that “emergency” can, at some point, generate practices of resistance that undermine, subtly yet significantly, its own normalization.
Grotti Vanessa, Malakasis Cynthia, Quagliariello Chiara, Sahraoui Nina. Temporalities of emergency: Migrant pregnancy and healthcare networks in Southern European borderlands, Social Science & Medicine, Volume 222, 2019, pp. 11-19.