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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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Border Economies. A Nascent Migration Industry Around Lampedusa (Heidrun Friese)


← 112 | 113 → Border Economies

A Nascent Migration Industry Around Lampedusa

Heidrun FRIESE

Situated between Tunisia and Sicily, the tiny island of Lampedusa has become a highly visible symbol for Mediterranean borderlands, EU migration policies and cross-border governance.1 Although the right to mobility is included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, undocumented people encounter – not least following the introduction of the Schengen Treaty and a visa system in 1986 – legal systems and border regimes that limit their freedom of movement and capacity to stay. Under pressure from the EU, several countries have signed bilateral accords which have led to the crossing of borders without legal documents becoming a legal offence: Morocco in 2003, Algeria in 2008 and Tunisia in 2004 (Ben Cheïkh and Chekir, 2008: 6-8; Fargues, 2009). However, externalization of European borders to former colonies has not stopped undocumented migration. Since the Tunisian Revolution for Freedom and Dignity (Thawrat al hurriyya wa al-karâma) and the fall of the Gaddafi regime in Libya in 2011, around 60,000 people have protested against this refusal of their right to mobility and crossed the Mediterranean to land at Lampedusa.

A multitude of local and supranational actors are involved in undocumented migration and the border regime. Their practices are similar but not dictated by any central logic or rationality. The notion ‘regime’:

allows rooms for gaps, ambiguities and outright strains: the life of a regime is a result of continuous repair...

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