EASA, 2010: EASA2010: Crisis and imagination

Maynooth, 24/08/2010 – 27/08/2010


Immigration, security and surveillance

Location JHT10
Date and Start Time 27 Aug, 2010 at 11:30


Catarina Frois (Centre for Research in Anthropology) email
Nils Zurawski (Universität Hamburg) email
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Long Abstract

Immigration has become an increasing field of study in anthropology over the past few years. Looking at Europe, immigration is an important political aspect when considering the absence of frontiers between countries, mobility of persons, politics of inclusion and/or exclusion of - as Robert Castel puts it - definitions of "citizens" or "indigenous".

Some of the most prominent questions that have been gaining interest regarding immigration are those related to security and surveillance policies and practices. Who is being surveilled and for what matters? How are borders being monitored, either by the state (i.e. police), NGOs's or vigilante groups? What is the status of immigrants in refugee camps or in deportation centers? What are the features surveillance assumes as the basis for monitoring, tracking and recording people when considering migrant populations and the equation security-protection-care-danger?

In this workshop we seek contributions that discuss issues of migration, state ,security and surveillance from an anthropological perspective. Thus we will focus on the cultural and human aspects of modern discourses of crisis and emergency. Both are relevant narratives concerning the exclusion of immigrants from the fortress Europe. An exclusion that is increasingly being monitored by modern means of technology, from cameras to DNA, from satellites to radio tracking devices. Along with such technologies come new classifications and categories that serve as the backing argument for those strategies. The workshop sets out to address these issues.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.


For an anthropology of the frontier: the walls of Ceuta and Melilla

Author: Patrick Figueiredo (Institute of Social Science, University of Lisbon)  email
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Long Abstract

The propose of this paper is to analyse, in anthropological terms, some material cases that shape the frontiers between E.U and Africa. More precisely, I will consider some theoretical approaches to the walls that are being built in the territorial boundaries between Ceuta and Melilla's enclaves, distancing the European fortress from the rest of Moroccan territory. This tendency to separate nation-states with walls can be observed in every continent. Despite commercial liberalization and an increasing flow of political speeches that prioritize the freedom of circulation, developed countries are also engaged in this movement of barrier proliferation that checks and controls the circulation of social agents. To better understand the Ceuta and Melilla's walls, I seek to compare it with other vigilance centers, such as those that separate the USA from Mexico. I will then ask in what way are these walls the symptom of a particular political transformation.

Fortress Austria: why the Army still guards a Schengen internal border

Author: Alexandra Schwell (Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt/Celovec)  email
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Long Abstract

Since 1990, draftees of the Austrian army have been stationed at the country's Eastern border as a reaction to the opening of borders with Eastern Europe and the expected increase in cross-border crime. This "support deployment" was initially planned to last no longer than ten weeks, but soon it appeared that the military's border security deployment could also serve other ends than mere security factors and has since then been prolonged over and over again. In scrutinising the strategies of the various actors involved, the paper shows that the support deployment can be considered an act of securitisation and is as such entirely decoupled from the actual policing of the Schengen internal border. It argues that the support deployment does not relate to an actual threat, but that the construction of an (imagined) Eastern threat is instrumentalised by different actors who prefer (electoral) success over law and good neighbourly relations.

When 'imagination' fails and 'crisis' demands: evidence of torture in European asylum proceedings

Author: Monika Weissensteiner (University of Kent)  email
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Long Abstract

As response to a "crisis" of asylum in Europe - its reconfiguration through the intersection of migration management and security issues - human rights organizations have strongly argued for the need to improve safeguards for asylum applicants. Currently, within the development of a Common European Asylum System, the identification of victim-survivors of torture has emerged as important for enabling access to health care, as well as better information for the asylum procedure. In this paper I address medico-legal and psychological documentation of torture as a particular technology that seeks to make the aftermath of violence susceptible to administrative control. I will discuss some ambiguities that emerge when NGO and state representatives negotiate the inclusion or exclusion of different categories of migrants and I will relate multisited ethnography (Ireland and Spain) to perspectives from governmentality studies.

Blood ties and relatedness: family reunification in Finland through DNA testing

Author: Anna-Maria Tapaninen (University of Eastern Finland)  email
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Long Abstract

The problem of uncontrolled migration flows is managed with new legal and technical means in Europe. While family reunification is generally accepted as a legitimate and even preferred way of migration, it is also accepted that notion the idea of family is unavoidably dubious. This paper deals with the case of Finland, the first European country to officially establish the procedure of DNA testing in family reunification, in particular for the first major group of refugees, Somalis. From an anthropological perspective, the familial relationships emphasized in legislation cannot be divorced from the arguable yet fruitful idea of kinship in the era of crises and uncertainties. While the dichotomies biological/social or real/faked are quite easily applied in this setting, they may not be as self-evident - and hence measurable- labels as presumed.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.