SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Drowning as Deterrent: EU Migration Control and its Contestation at Sea

Maurice Stierl

Date: 12 June 2017Time: 3:00 PM

Finishes: 12 June 2017Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Room: 4426

Type of Event: Talk

Drowning as Deterrent: EU Migration Control and its Contestation at Sea

Played out year after year at Europe’s maritime borders, mass shipwrecks and migrant death have become an increasingly normalised spectacle. In the Mediterranean Sea, the EU governs its borders and human movements both through selective humanitarian interventions and a politics of abandonment.

Since 2011, the year when the Arab Uprisings began, more than 16,000 lives have been lost in this space, turning it into the world’s deadliest borderzone. And yet, this space is not merely one of harrowing violence and suffering, but also one of resistance and enactments of the freedom of movement. In 2015, more than one million people successfully traversed the sea without authorisation and reached EU territories.

In support of their unruly movements, a range of non-state actors and activists have entered the sea, seeking to counter its necropolitical condition. While some portray their engagement primarily as humanitarian, aiming to save lives at risk, others understand their practices in terms of solidarity activism, connected to global justice concerns.

In this talk, Maurice Stierl will unpack Europe’s violent border practices in the Mediterranean and show how they are being contested through the intervention of non-state actors, leading to a transformation, and democratisation, of this maritime space. 

Speaker: Maurice Stierl, Visiting Assistant Professor, University of California, Davis

Chair: Dr. Rahul Rao, Senior Lecturer in Politics, SOAS, University of London

All welcome. No booking required.

Organiser: Rahul Rao

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