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Schengen sin esfuerzo / Schengen with ease
compilado por Vahida Ramujkic
Beograd / Barcelona / Bruxelles / 2006

365pag, 170x244, paperback covers

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“Extra-comunitarios,” or citizens of non-European countries, have the extra bureaucratic task of changing their status to one that will allow them to move and work “freely” within the European Union. The length and complexity of this process can vary depending on the type of “extra-comunitario” in question.

Almost everyone agrees that bureaucracy is the most boring thing in the world. Time spent in waiting rooms and lines is not considered a part of living, but an interference, daily life put on hold with the hope that, when it’s all over, it will be possible to take up “real” life again as though nothing ever happened. It is wasted, meaningless time that has to be erased as soon as the new status is achieved—in the case the process was successful.

A card with a number becomes the key to freedom and the desire for it grows stronger as the bureaucratic process, transition, irresolution, or legislative limbo becomes longer and more convoluted.

If it’s true that we learn from life by living it, what teaches us this most boring experience? Queue better? Be more severe, obedient, or lie to the authorities better? And how did we come to this: that a piece of paper can provide us freedom?

"Schengen with ease" is a compilation of material from a variety of official and non-official sources, brought together to explain how daily practices are affected by the application of the EU Foreign Legislation and the Schengen Agreement in the territory of the European Union.

Adopting the Assimil method (Alphonse Chérel, Paris, 1929) this book provides a systematic study of all the bureaucratic steps a "non-EU" citizen might face while trying to obtain EU status. All the required steps are taught through lessons similar to those found in foreign language skill books, comparing the administrative language of European immigration legislation to an unknown language that has to be mastered in order to assimilate in a new environment and receive a determined status.

By organizing the structure of each lesson into Narration, Grammar and Exercise, different approaches to this legal-bureaucratic situation are given.While in Narrative one is exposed laic-experiential relation to the law, law as it is experienced by those who have to fulfill it (that recollects some 30 personal experiences that run through the book and could be followed in independent way), Grammar puts together the legal-normative approximation, law as it is written (information recollected from legal sources from different EU countries and administrative levels). Finally Exercise mix up of different bureaucratic forms that have to be completed, press cuttings, and parts of original documents…

An innovative part of Alphonse Chérel’s Assimil original method was to demonstrate that learning is not based on understanding the grammatical dynamics of language but on the memorization of complete phrases. In this way one adopts knowledge in an unconscious, automatic way through mechanical repetition, listening to records, reading, etc. A similar thing happens in the “bureaucratic method”: mechanical repetition of proceedings, filling forms again and again, day by day, without daring to ask – “why?”, (this law lacks of understanding and logic) until one day we assimilate (to the new environment).

chapters
map

index of chapters

index of charcters


How is this legislative language written? How is it applied? And how can it be mastered?

The laws governing immigration function as exceptional laws dictated by an “economic community,” applied from the top to different inferior levels, national legislations, and local administrations, creating robust bureaucratic architectures, which in practice prevent the resolution of the legal status of new arrivals, forcing them to wander around in this labyrinth without exit or the possibility of looking for other solutions on another side of the law.

The word “assimil” comes from “assimilation,” a term that Chérel observed existed in most languages. But if in middle of last century, with the popularization of traveling and tourism, Chérel conceived “assimil” as a process of adopting the knowledge* of new cultures and languages, the word “assimil” is being revived here again in relation to displacements and intercultural meetings, but through its other meaning - the adoption of the customs and behaviors of dominant cultures by minority ones* (*as in wikipedia).

And it raises a series of doubts in a society in continuous transition: who has to assimilate and to what? Is it only those who have arrived or also those who were already there who have to assimilate to new and constantly evolving situations of contemporary society?

Vahida Ramujkic Foundation Marcel Hicter · Ittaca Project · rotorrr.org