Clandestine migration facilitation and border spectacle: criminalisation, solidarity, contestations

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The article analyses a case of prosecution for human smuggling. Three film crew members accompanied a Syrian refugee boy from Greece to Sweden, while recording the journey in a documentary that was screened on Swedish public television in 2015. Despite widespread recognition, they were prosecuted and found guilty of human smuggling by all the levels of the Swedish judiciary. Using a variety of materials – text and visual data, observations and interviews – we follow the case as it moves across different arenas: the media, the court and in activism. The analysis is inspired by and further develops de Genova’s notion of the border as spectacle. What conditions for acting and speaking structure the arenas, and how and from which positions can the border spectacle be contested? The motion across these arenas offers an opportunity to disclose the operation of the borders as a regime that controls people’s mobility and solidarity in unequal ways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-596
Issue number4
Early online date2021 Mar 8
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Gender Studies
  • International Migration and Ethnic Relations


  • Clandestine migration facilitation
  • human smuggling
  • Sweden
  • border spectacle
  • critical border theory


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