Biopolitical Borders and the State of Exception in the European Migration 'Crisis'

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In this article I examine the current European refugee ‘crisis’ by challenging, from a theoretical perspective, the way in which the European Union (EU) has used the increased number of deaths in the Mediterranean as an opportunity to frame recent migration flows as an emergency which, by definition, can only be addressed through the adoption of exceptional measures. Throughout the article, I engage with the work of Giorgio Agamben on biopolitics and state of exception to illustrate, first, the need to rethink the way in which borders are defined and used (e.g. externalised) within the context of the European refugee ‘crisis’. Second, Agamben’s work is useful to understand what moves the externalisation and privatisation of migration, and to ascertain how international law has enabled the emergence of this ‘crisis’ framing, whilst at the same time partly losing its ability to challenge EU policies. I argue that the posture of humanitarianism adopted by the EU masks the fact that the appalling situation in which refugees are abandoned is not accidental but inherent to the enhanced measures adopted by the EU and its member states as part of the European Agenda.


Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • University of Nottingham

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Juridik


  • Folkrätt, Mänskliga rättigheter
Sidor (från-till)1173-1196
TidskriftEuropean Journal of International Law
StatusPublished - 2019 dec 1
Peer review utfördJa