Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN35_04c: Borders and Boundaries
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Margit Fauser, Bielefeld
Location: BS.G.33
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Ground Floor Oxford Road

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The Concomitant Construction Of Boundaries And Borders As Means Of In/Exclusion: The Example Of Europe’s Tightening Legislation Against Cross-Border Marriages

Janine Dahinden

University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland

In this paper we bring together the two concepts of ‘bordering’ and ‘boundary making’ with the aim of addressing questions of migrant exclusion. We argue that there is a two-way relationship between bordering practices and boundary making. Articulating these two fields of study, allows to understand how European nation states and the EU are continuously re-made in a globalised world by producing particular ‘outsiders’. We illustrate these ideas using the example of cross-border marriages. Most European countries restricted this kind of family reunification by simultaneously internalizing and externalizing their borders and by mobilizing a particular symbolic boundary constructed upon “gender (in)equality”. Combining border and boundary perspectives reveals new forms of differentiated processes of ex/inclusion which reinforce global inequalities and postcolonial governmentalities.

In the Need of Borders? A Sociological Case against Open Borders

Stefan Immerfall

University of Education at Schwaebisch Gmuend, Germany

The nation-states of Europe have been constructed around borders. Until most recently, the relevance of borders seemed in decline: European integration has bridged the nations to the European space, globalization undermined the premise of a national closure of cultures, and the universalization of social rights did render national citizenship less valuable. With the massive influx of refugees, however, the borders of Europe have dramatically reasserted their relevance as barriers against migration.

National borders usually do not have a good name within the sociological discourse. Rightly so, since restricting rights of access undeservedly privileges the native population at the expense of others. Borders contribute to upholding blatant injustice. Still, this presentation argues there is a lot to be said in favour of borders.

The first section discusses well known topics. Both liberal democracies and welfare societies are said to need border restrictions because of the collective good and the moral hazard-problem. This argument can be extended to the European integration with regard to the Hayek-Keynes-controversy. The presentation concludes that these arguments may hold in principle but need to be qualified.

A second, rather new string of arguments, concern the historical embeddedness of institutions. The degree to which they are effective is subject to varying circumstances. Contrary to historical tendency for political systems to evolve in a way that does not support prosperity for many, many European institutions evolved in a way to perpetuate order and safety within a market. The question then is, whether massive and rapid immigration impinges on the balance of beliefs and institutions that promote sustainable growth.

In a nutshell: while borders are unjust, they may be justifiable.

Bordering and Debordering the Alpine Chain: Local Responses to Policies of Migrants “Push-Back” at the Northern Italian Frontiers

Cecilia Vergnano

University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, The

The erection of barriers against migrants increasingly characterizes not only external boundaries of Europe, but also internal relations between EU states. Indeed, critical scholars highlighted that European "migration crisis" can be better defined as an internal European governance crisis. This is especially visible at the internal borders of the Schengen area, where countries of destination of asylum seekers’ secondary movements (such as France, German, Austria, among others) have recently re-established border controls and systematic push-backs of undocumented migrants. In particular, push-backs and rejections at northern Italian borders by French, Swiss and Austrian police are making border-crossings of asylum seekers more deadly on the whole Alpine chain. Which impacts does the “push-back regime” produce on the local dimension of these border areas, and how local actors, in turn, shape the border and try to prevent its deadly effects? By focusing on three strategic internal border areas (Ventimiglia and Col du Montgenevre, at the French/Italian border, and the Brenner Pass, at the Austrian/Italian border), the proposed paper comparatively addresses the aforementioned questions through ethnographic methods (a seven-month fieldwork in selected border areas and in-depth interviews to different categories of social actors: migrants, themselves, local residents, border workers, local administrators, police officers). It shows that the effectiveness of border enforcement depends on several factors, such as different kind of political responses at the national and local level, pre-existence of local networks of supportive citizens or smuggling organizations, greater or lesser cooperation between police forces.

Postmodern borders. The European externalization policy to stop migration

Stefania Tusini

University for Foreigners of Perugia, Italy

The global governance of migration is driven by a main idea: externalizing borders; namely a significant transition from a country's direct control on borders, to their virtual displacement in a third country, entrusting their control to it.

This process involves both to define the borders in a postmodern perspective and a profound reflection on state sovereignty. Borders have become more “liquid”, but they have not disappeared or become more permeable.

Until now, the main steps in the process of externalizing borders have been: the Khartoum Process, the Spain-Morocco agreement, the EU-UA Summit on migration held in Valletta, the EU-Turkey agreement, the Italian Migration Compact, the Italy-Libya agreement and, outside Europe, the Pacific Solution.

The general underlying logic is always the same: to use European cooperation funds for the dual objective of "helping them at home" and forcing African states to collaborate in closing their borders.

According to the agreements, African States must repress their citizens or refugees in transit on their countries, and readmit their nationals unwelcome by the EU. In return they receive money and political recognition. The latter is really important especially for authoritarian or dictatorial governments. All without a real concern for the protection of fundamental human rights, defended only on paper.

My aim is to illustrate each agreement to show their similar underlying pattern. It will be interesting to dwell on the Pacific Solution Act adopted by Australia. Here, the logic of externalization has gone beyond imagination: Australia has externalized its entire national territory from itself.