Lecture: 'No Go World': how fear is redrawing our maps and our politics by Ruben Andersson (University of Oxford) followed by panel with Ludo De Brabander (Vrede) and Mark Akkerman (Stop Wapenhandel)

27-02-2020 from 17:30 to 19:30
Filmplateau, Paddenhoek 3, 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

Drawing on his new book, No Go World, Ruben Andersson will in this talk argue that international security interventions in global crisis zones need an urgent rethink. Since the onset of the war on terror, we have seen the spread of ever-larger 'no-go zones' across the world map, seen as constituting a danger especially to Western states and citizens. One such zone is the conflict-hit West African Sahel, now in the crosshairs of various European counterterror and migration control operations. Visiting the bunkered-up field offices of the United Nations and border security operatives working remotely on the Sahel, the talk will show how a short-sighted political focus on containing distant dangers has led to more dangers for us all, creating a negative spiral from which it is becoming increasingly hard to extricate ourselves.

Ruben Andersson is Associate Professor of Migration and Development at the Oxford Department of International Development (ODID) at the University of Oxford. Andersson is an anthropologist working on migration, borders and security with a focus on the West African Sahel and southern Europe. He is the author of Illegality, Inc.: Clandestine migration and the business of bordering Europe (University of California Press 2014), an ethnographic account of European efforts to halt irregular migration, accompanies border agencies, aid organisations and migrants along the Spanish-African borders. The book shows how the ‘fight against irregular migration’ has fuelled distress and drama at the borders, which in turns has led to the expansion of a self-reinforcing industry of controls. Andersson’s latest book No Go World: How fear is redrawing our maps and infecting our politics (University of California Press 2019) looks comparatively at remote-controlled interventions and the selective withdrawal of international actors from global 'crisis zones'. Taking as its starting point the conflict in Mali in the West African Sahel, it explores how the mapping of danger, the perception of risk and the politics of fear have all contributed to framing and fuelling security, aid and border interventions in the Sahel as well as in other settings such as Somalia, Libya and Afghanistan. Prior to joining ODID, Ruben worked at the London School of Economics and at Stockholm University, where he remains an associated researcher.