Thinking Lampedusa: border construction, the spectacle of bare life and the productivity of migrants

Dines, Nick and Montagna, Nicola and Ruggiero, Vincenzo (2015) Thinking Lampedusa: border construction, the spectacle of bare life and the productivity of migrants. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 38 (3). pp. 430-445. ISSN 0141-9870

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This article interrogates the relationship between the Italian island of Lampedusa and trans-Mediterranean migration. It explores how the construction of Lampedusa as a border zone has been implicated in the rise and fall in numbers of migrants reaching the island’s shores over the last two decades. It proceeds to consider the appropriateness of interpreting death and detention on Lampedusa in terms of ‘bare life’. While acknowledging how Giorgio Agamben’s formulation of bare life has been problematized in relation to irregular migration and taking into account the frequent acts of migrants’ political agency on the island itself, it is argued that the transformation of Lampedusa by the media and political establishment into a spectacle of bare life is not only instrumental to the functioning of migration management at Europe’s southern border but is also constitutive of the subordinate position of migrants in Italian society and its labour market.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
Item ID: 16113
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Ethnic and Racial Studies on 14 Aug 2014, available online:
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Depositing User: Nicola Montagna
Date Deposited: 19 May 2015 11:00
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2017 08:46

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