European border regime(s) between humanitarian reason and security imperative

April 18, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Mānoa Campus, 443b Saunders Hall

Seminar Talk by Anna Casaglia, University of Trento

Borders have become a debated topic inside and outside the academia in the European context, especially as a consequence of the apparent increase of migration fluxes in the so-called “refugee crisis”. The bordering spaces of the European Union, portrayed at the same time as fragile and impassable, have become a symbol of migration and they have been charged with discourses and politics regarding their control directed to avoid “illegal” crossing and terrorism. The institutional and social response to this has been deeply polarised between humanitarianism on one hand, and securitisation on the other.

Focusing on the Mediterranean frontier, this presentation will outline the transformation of the European border regime by analysing two distinct but related processes, that are the humanitarian border and its de-legitimisation. From one side, we will present projects and actors trying to help people on the move and avoiding their suffering or death during the journey: specifically, we will discuss the cases of NGOs involved in SAR activities and of human corridors, outlining the related risk of de-politicisation of the border and of migration, but also the opportunities for re- politicisation.

On the other side, we will analyse the securitarian shift in the institutional management of borders and migration, in relation to the two cases previously presented. Threat scenarios have proliferated in which asylum-seekers and migrants are seen to challenge not only the political bases of European Union but the very foundations of European civilization itself. The presentation will be based on research conducted since 2017 including analysis of media and official political statements (specifically in Italy), as well as interviews with actors involved in humanitarian projects at and across the Mediterranean frontier.

Event Sponsor
Geography & Environment, Mānoa Campus

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