Undocumented migration, informal economic work and peripheral multilingualism: challenges to neoliberal regimes?
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This article investigates the intersections of spatial immobility and informal work among homeless Ghanaian migrants and how these interplay with their multilingual practices. By analysing personal-life narratives and conversations recorded over a two-year ethnography in a bench in Catalonia, it shows that informants practice immobility to gatekeep subsistence resources. They present themselves as dispossessed of welfare rights and belie unregistered economic tasks. They establish non-legitimised translinguistic normativities for intercultural communication yet engage in linguistic regimes demanding 'integration' through the nation-state language. This reveals how undocumented migrants challenge but simultaneously perpetuate the neoliberal work/legality conditions and sociolinguistic orders to which they are subjected, which positions them as 'illegal', 'de-skilled' and 'languageless' non-citizens.