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Mogiani, Marco (2018) Borders as Meeting Points : Neoliberalism, Securitisation and Migrants' Autonomy in the Port/Border area of Patras. PhD thesis. SOAS, University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00032790

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Restricted to Repository staff only until 28 July 2022.

[img] Text - Submitted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 28 July 2022.

Abstract

The resurgence in border studies over the last 20 years has generated a passionate and animated debate among scholars attempting to conceptualise how borders originate, where they are located, and what their implications are for the mobilities crossing them. Whether privileging structural over agential forces, horizontal connections over power relations, social networks over dichotomous struggles, each of the various epistemological approaches employed for the study of borders provides a particular point of view and captures specific processes or relations, yet omitting, overlooking, or failing to explain others. However, the boundaries between such approaches appear more blurred and indistinct than what they actually claim or pretend to be from the outside, leaving some room for theoretical dialogue. By looking at the border from the border, the research aims not only to theoretically reconcile the different epistemological positions, but also to empirically grasp the multiplicity and complexity of social processes intersecting across borders. Critically drawing from the contrasting epistemological standpoints of Harvey, Lefebvre, and Massey, the research will adopt a different gaze to look at/from the border, in order to provide a more situated and nuanced analysis of borders, remaining attentive to the political-economic framework under which they unfold. Built around a space-time-everyday prism, this renovated gaze allows to grasp, I contend, the structural and agential forces underlying borders, as well as the multiple and grounded interconnections, networks, and conflicts between and within them. The research will eventually argue that borders can be better conceived as “meeting points”, where the various theories and practices of borders come to the fore and are reassessed on the ground. The case study is the port/border area of Patras (Greece), conceptualised as a point of encounter and clash between intertwining and sometimes conflictual processes: neoliberalism, securitisation, and migrants’ autonomy. In Patras, neoliberalism has tended to demolish borders and guarantee the unbounded circulation of capital, goods, and people through the development of a multimodal logistical network, generating uneven and conflictual outcomes. Security measures and border controls have operated to safeguard such logistical network, erecting visible and less visible barriers to restrict access to potential threats. In line with the development of a common market, controversial migration and asylum policies have progressively limited the legal entrance and permanence of migrants, creating an exploitable reserve army of undocumented labour force while favouring its circulation at European level. Although with internal contradictions and conflicts, migrant mobilities have continuously disrupted and defied the dominant spaces and times of capitalism and security, creating alternative places of refuge and transit in abandoned industrial complexes in the proximity of the new port. Far from being predetermined and homogeneous, these processes have constantly negotiated their presence on the ground, generating socio-spatial connections, contestations, and struggles. The port/border area of Patras, I argue, emerges as a privileged “meeting point” from which to examine in a nuanced and situated manner how the manifold and complex social processes unfold and intersect across borders, drawing multifarious and at times contrasting spatio-temporal patterns.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Paolo Novak
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00032790
Date Deposited: 11 May 2020 15:50
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/32790

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