Lecture: Activist-humanitarian interventions in the Mediterranean borderzone by Maurice Stierl (Warwick University)

28-02-2020 from 11:30 to 13:00
Academieraadzaal, Volderstraat 9, 9000 Gent
Department of Conflict and Development Studies
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Debates in Conflict & Development - Bordering Europe: The securitization of the Europe's migration and development policies.

Abstract of this lecture

About 18,000 people are officially recorded as having lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea over the past five years. The real figure is considerably higher – many people disappear without ever being accounted for. Despite this continuous mass drowning, EU institutions and member states have not eased their restrictive migration policies. Quite the opposite is the case: The Mediterranean region has been increasingly securitised and militarised over recent years in order to ‘protect’ European borders while rescue capacities have been decreased. In particular off the coast of Libya, we have seen the emergence of an interception and refoulement ‘industry’ where European forces in collaboration with north African allies have prevented tens of thousands from escaping to a place of perceived safety. And yet, the Mediterranean is not merely a deadly borderzone but also a contested political space where a range of actors, including those ‘on the move’, activists and humanitarians struggle against death at sea and for the freedom to move and to arrive.


Dr Maurice Stierl is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Warwick. Before, he was an Assistant Professor in Comparative Border Studies at the University of California, Davis. His research focuses on migration struggles in contemporary Europe and (northern) Africa and is broadly situated in the fields of International Political Sociology, Political Geography, and Migration, Citizenship & Border Studies. His book ‘Migrant Resistance in Contemporary Europe’ was published by Routledge in 2019. His other work has appeared in the journals Antipode, Globalizations, Citizenship Studies, South Atlantic Quarterly, Movements, Global Society, American Behavioral Scientist, Spheres, and elsewhere. He is a member of the activist network WatchTheMed Alarm Phone.