The limited literature on the social activities irregular migrants undertake in their leisure time is dichotomised around two positions. The dominant view holds that irregular migrants are busy surviving and have neither time nor opportunity to engage in recreational activities or to be geographically mobile. Challenged by this one-sided perspective, a few scholars oppose this image and describe the various social activities which their respondents engage in. Drawing on participant observation and 164 interviews with irregular migrants, this article demonstrates that there is more variety in the social activities of irregular migrants than is suggested by this dichotomised debate. In addition, it shows that an approach that takes the aspirations of irregular migrants as the central focus of analysis provides understanding of this diversity in their social lives. Future research on the lives of irregular migrants should therefore take their aspirations into account.

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CIMIC: Citizenship, Migration & the City
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Department of Sociology

van Meeteren, M.J. (2012). Living Different Dreams: Aspirations and Social Activities of Irregular Migrants in the Low Countries. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38(10), 1643–1659. doi:10.1080/1369183X.2012.711063