Beyond the Border Spectacle: Migration Across the Mediterranean Sea

  • Pierluigi Musarò
Part of the Transnational Crime, Crime Control and Security book series (TCCCS)


Focusing on the fight against irregular migration and its compassionate spectacularization, this chapter aims to bridge some of the gaps between media and migration research, investigating the crisis narrative depicted by different actors in the context of Mediterranean migrant tragedies. Through a critical analysis of discursive practices enacted by the European border control agency Frontex, the Italian Navy and the Italian Coast Guard, during the military–humanitarian operation Mare Nostrum, the chapter explores the contrasting, yet at times mutually influencing, representations of migrants, within the context of both humanitarian aid and border control. Drawing upon the ‘military–humanitarian border spectacle’ as a dispositif that is physically and symbolically enacted to legitimize the narrative of cosmopolitan solidarity—and to manage the moral panic surrounding migration—light is shed on how it contributes towards creating a ‘moral geography of the world’. The chapter concludes with remarks on how the dynamics between humanitarian protection and border control are central in legitimizing policies that filter human mobility, by categorizing humanitarian subjects as worthy or unworthy, desirable or undesirable, deserving or undeserving.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierluigi Musarò
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Business LawUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly

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