“Half Devil and Half Child”: An Ethnographic Perspective on the Treatment of Migrants on their Arrival in Lampedusa



Based on a long-term fieldwork started in 2005, this essay will discuss the biopolitical management of migrants intercepted in the Mediterranean Sea by the Italian authorities. The direct ethnographic experience of the author on the harbour dock of Lampedusa will permit to focus on the “body” of migrants as well as on the “bodies” of the other actors involved in the dynamics at work during the “landing” phase. The disciplining, caring and observation practices by guards, humanitarian actors, media and locals will be examined, as well as the presentation of the self performed by migrants, the practices of negotiating pain, the management of space during the “landing” procedures, the active role of border guards in evoking or directly producing a specific image of the “arrivals”.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AMM - Archive of migrant memoriesRomeItaly

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