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The border as hotspot: Politics of dispersal and migration containment beyond control

  • Martina Tazzioli
Monday 6 February 2017
Borders: Life On the Fringes of Area Studies
Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 2
2311 BZ Leiden

Martina Tazzioli deals with migrants’ spaces of transit across Europe - with a focus on the French-Italian and the Swiss-Italian borders - and on the EU fight against “secondary movements”, exploring one of the main states’ strategies for regaining control over unruly mobility, what she calls “politics of dispersal”, which consists in scattering across space and dividing up migrant multiplicities. She shows that a look into the modes in which migrant mutiplicities are disciplined in critical border-zones, such as the cities of Ventimiglia and Como, represents a fruitful analytical angle for grasping the functioning of (some) borders as hotspots. The border as hotspot refers to the representation of borders and, at once, to the governmental strategies deployed for capturing, invisibilizing and disciplining migrants' presence and practices of spatial disobedience.

With her insight into the effective ways in which migrants’ presence is managed, Martina Tazzioli engages in a reformulation of the meaning and functioning of a politics of control via the notion of containment, pointing to the captures of humanitarianism - deployed when migrants ask to be hosted or protected. Starting from such an analysis, she concludes by reflecting on the need to rethink asylum beyond the disjunctive opposition between refugees and autonomy of choice.

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