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Defining Borders on Land and Sea: Italy, the European Union and Mediterranean Refugees, 2011–2015

  • Djordje Sredanovic
Chapter

Abstract

Sredanovic analyzes the case of refugees who crossed the Channel of Sicily to reach Italy between 2011 and 2015, first from Tunisia and Libya and then from other African and Middle Eastern countries. He shows the ways in which the borders of Italy and the European Union (EU) were redefined in answer to these arrivals. He shows how sea borders are disciplinary areas on which states both exercise control and hold the responsibility for rescue operations and how the activities of border management can be concentrated in limited areas or extended to a larger portion of sea and land. The period considered further saw a Europeanization of the Channel of Sicily, with direct interventions of the EU in border management and asylum operations, but also repeated crises of the Schengen Agreement limiting border controls within Europe. The symbolic importance given to arrivals by sea in Italy in the last 25 years contributed to a rapid politicization of the asylum issue in the country. While refugees had almost no public image in Italy before 2011, their identification with the figure of the irregular migrant arriving by sea brought a rapid emergence of xenophobia directed specifically at refugees.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Djordje Sredanovic
    • 1
  1. 1.Group for Research on Ethnic Relations, Migration & Equality/Migration Asylum MulticulturalismUniversité Libre de BruxellesBruxellesBelgium

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