top of page

The Borders of "Europe":

Autonomy of Migration, Tactics of Bordering

(Duke University Press,  2017)

“This compelling, illuminating book puts matters of migration and borders at the center of debates regarding what (and where) Europe is and should be, while raising powerful questions on associated issues of race and the colonial-like relations that scar the contemporary world. Myriad forms of violence, particularly the growing global death toll among illegalized people ‘on the move’—with Europe at its grisly epicenter—make The Borders of "Europe" necessary and timely. In deeply interrogating mobility, increasing state efforts to exclude those officially deemed as unwanted, and the refusal of so many to submit to them, the volume speaks to matters and an audience far beyond Europe. This is a book of truly global importance.”

        — Joseph Nevins, author of

          Operation Gatekeeper and Beyond: The War on “Illegals” and the           Remaking  of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary

“Developing an original and innovative approach to the study of migration to Europe, this volume promises to be a key text in the fields of refugee and migration studies, border studies, European studies, as well as studies of technology and governmentality. A brilliant and timely book.”

        — Yael Navaro, author of

          The Make-Believe Space: Affective Geography in a Postwar Polity

The Borders of ‘Europe’ casts a critically reversed gaze on an exclusionary political and cultural construct and on the constricting artificiality of national borders as well as on the challenge posed to them by the evasive autonomy of migration.  

De Genova, the architect of a project here instantiated in the work of former students and associates, has developed an approach that ‘unsettles and destabilizes “Europe” as an object of knowledge’….  Offering a critical response to the metastatic racism that conflates migrants and refugees with terrorists, the book challenges the affectation of injured innocence ... that often accompan[ies] the denial of inherited complicity in the violence of colonialism.”

       — Michael Herzfeld

       past president of the Society for the Anthropology of Europe, and 

       author of  Anthropology through the Looking-Glass: Critical                        Ethnography in the Margins of Europe

“This collection of original research provides a rich and valuable addition to the literature on migration and borders in contemporary Europe. It will be of interest to scholars and students working on migration issues in Europe and beyond.

        — John Solomos, co-editor of

            the journal Ethnic and Racial Studies 


“The contributions … give ‘flesh and blood’ to the ‘European Question’ through political, legal, social and economic analyses that are emboldened by careful anthropological and/or sociological research. Overall, the contributions put forward insightful arguments into how ‘Europe’ and ‘European-ness’ are (re)imagined, de/stabilised, challenged and reinforced by the ‘European’ and ‘non-European’ peoples inside, outside and on the border of ‘Europe’. Therefore, the book does not comfort the reader by providing convenient answers to the challenging questions of the time; instead, it demonstrates how ‘fractured’‘Europe’ and ‘European- ness’ are, and this in contrast to the efforts of ‘sovereign European institutions’ to convince us of the opposite….  De Genova’s edited collection is an impeccable addition to migration literature in a transdisciplinary and critical way.

        — Ali Bilgic, author of

          Rethinking Security in the Age of Migration

In recent years, the borders of Europe have been perceived as being besieged by a staggering refugee and migration crisis. The contributors to The Borders of "Europe" see this crisis less as an incursion into Europe by external conflicts than as the result of migrants exercising their freedom of movement.  Addressing the new technologies and technical forms European states use to curb, control, and constrain what contributors to the volume call the autonomy of migration, this book shows how the continent's amorphous borders present a premier site for the enactment and disputation of the very idea of Europe.  They also outline how from Istanbul to London, Sweden to Mali, and Tunisia to Latvia, migrants are finding ways to subvert visa policies and asylum procedures while negotiating increasingly militarized and surveilled borders.  Situating the migration crisis within a global frame and attending to migrant and refugee supporters as well as those who stoke nativist fears, this timely volume demonstrates how the enforcement of Europe’s borders is an important element of the worldwide regulation of human mobility.




The Borders of "Europe" and the European Question

Nicholas De Genova       1


1.  "The Secret Is to Look Good on Paper": 

Appropriating Mobility within and against a Machine of Illegalization

Stephan Scheel       37


2.  Rescued and Caught: 

The Humanitarian-Security Nexus at Europe’s Frontiers

Ruben Andersson       64


3.  Liquid Traces: 

Investigating Deaths of Migrants at the EU's Maritime Frontier

Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani       95


4.  The Mediterranean Question: 

Europe and Its Predicament in the Southern Peripheries

Laia Soto Bermant       120


5.  Europe Confronted by Its Expelled Migrants: 

The Politics of Expelled Migrants' Associations in Africa

Clara Lecadet       141


6.  Choucha beyond the Camp: 

Challenging the Border of Migration Studies

Glenda Garelli and Martina Tazzioli       165


7.  "Europe" from "Here": 

Syrian Migrants/Refugees in Istanbul and Imagined Migrations into and within “Europe"

Souad Osseiran       185


8.  Excessive Migration, Excessive Governance: 

Border Entanglements in Greek EU-rope

Maurice Stierl       210


9.  Dubliners: 

Unthinking Displacement, Illegality and Refugeeness within Europe's Geographies of Asylum

Fiorenza Picozza       233


10.  The "Gran Ghettò: 

Migrant Labor and Militant Research in Southern Italy

Evelina Gambino       255


11.  "We Want to Hear from You": 

Reporting as Bordering in the Political Space of Europe 

Dace Dzenovska       283


Nicholas De Genova's Introduction:

The Borders of 'Europe' and the European Question

bottom of page