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Borders, Mobilities and Migrations

Perspectives from the Mediterranean, 19–21st Century


Edited By Lisa Anteby-Yemini, Virginie Baby-Collin and Sylvie Mazzella

This book explores changes in the social, economic and political processes underpinning the mechanisms for the management of human mobility and cohabitation in the Mediterranean region, while suggesting comparisons with the situation in the Americas.
It considers the public policies that introduce such mechanisms at state, region or city level, and also explores the way that populations adapt to, breach or find ways of working around these systems.
The volume also attempts to evaluate the extent to which the reactions of the populations concerned can influence such systems. Relying on a historical perspective and covering a broad period of time from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century, this book questions the increasing influence of processes born out of globalization upon present readjustments of mobility and territorial configurations.
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Introduction (Sylvie Mazzella, Céline Regnard)


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Frontiers are not natural barriers, but historical constructions, institutional and political issues that give birth to a specified space (Nordman, 1999). The four chapters in this first section examine the internal and external mechanisms for the political construction of border controls, from the first appearance of the nation-state and of the concept of national identity, in the late 19th century and early 20th century in Europe until now, in the early 21st century, when European identity is being redefined and controls redeployed in the Mediterranean.

Inevitably, the history of changing frontiers includes that of migrants, who are now required to produce identity papers and other documents that will justify the legitimacy of their passage. The installation of frontiers, and their later evolution, not only draws lines around territories but also divides legal travellers from illegal migrants.

The period covered here has been marked by two important changes: the installation of intra- and extra-European frontiers and of the attendant checkpoints; and growth in migratory flows, first of Europeans and later of other nationalities (Withol de Wenden, 2005). These four articles seek therefore to establish connections linking legislation that defines national and territorial affiliations, tighter frontier controls, and the assignation of specific status to migrants that definitively marks them as legal or illegal. Human mobility, a phenomenon much feared by nation-states in the past, has always represented a challenge, but particularly when political frontiers are transformed...

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