‘Borderizing’ the Island Setting and Narratives of the Lampedusa ‘Border Play’

Paolo Cuttitta

Abstract


The island of Lampedusa is known as an EU border hotspot. Its high degree of ‘borderness’, though, is less the result of its geographical location than the product of a ‘borderization’ process carried out through specific policies, practices and discourses. The introduction explains what Lampedusa’s ‘borderness’ consists in: irregular landings and the changed anthropic and human landscape have turned the island into an ideal observatory for all major issues of the current debate on migration-related border controls. The first section analyses the main factors of the ‘borderization’ process. Specific political choices (establishing a detention centre, concentrating migrants, dispatching border guards, employing patrol boats, involving humanitarian workers etc.) suggest that borders are the result of the placing and interaction of ‘spatial bodies’, as well as of legislative measures and international relations. The paper also regards Italian immigration control policies as a ‘political spectacle’, and Lampedusa as the theatre of the ‘border play’. The second section therefore analyses the two narratives (the securitarian one of the ‘tough’ and the humanitarian one of the ‘humane’ border) prevailing in five different acts of the play, and shows that both are strictly connected and serve the same purpose of governing and managing human mobility.

Keywords


Lampedusa; border hotspot; borderness; migration; spatial bodies; law; Italian immigration control policies; political spectacle; human mobility

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ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies - ISSN: 1492-9732