Biopolitical Borderscapes: A Critical Analysis of the EU´s Response to Refugee Arrivals in 2015 in Implementation of Externalized Mechanisms of Border Control

Emilie Alrø Hem & Marie Kuderova

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis examines The EU’s contemporary practices of border control in response to the current European ‘refugee crisis’. To this end, the thesis analyses how dynamics of inclusion/exclusion of refugees have been informed by a neoliberal governmentality framework observed in the EU’s regulatory basis facilitating the redrawing of the boundaries between good and bad mobilities. Further, building on the field of biopolitics we employ Giorgio Agamben and Michel Foucault’s writings to investigate the EU’s simultaneous and seemingly contradictory political deployments and narrations of individual liberty and humanitarianism versus security and control by normalizing the appearance of ‘measures of exception.’ On this basis this thesis examines and challenges unquestioned certainties in the EU’s current border control practices by applying the method of problematization in scrutiny of the consequences and premises of border control. We find that the EU’s intensification of pre-border control in the Mediterranean through the employment of Operation Sophia and Frontex and externalized border control implementations in transit hubs in Africa and the African Sahel region, challenges typical conceptions of an interrelation between jurisdiction, citizenship and territoriality. Ultimately highlighting, that to ensure the sufficient control and use of bodies, this relation can be breached by wielding normativity and reality together.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages134
SupervisorsMaximilian Schellmann