This book explores contemporary migration by boat through the intertwined, and under-explored, elements of empirical data, governance and geopolitics, and discourses.
While the migration of people by boat is a long-standing phenomenon, journeys have become more frequent and precarious as states illegalise entry. As migration at sea becomes more common, it has gained attention from a range of actors, including enforcement authorities, political elites, media, and non/inter-governmental organizations. The sea has thus become a space of hope/desperation for migrants as well as conflict over territory and sovereignty, representing wider social debates in and beyond Australia, Canada, the European Union, and the United States. Current literature on migration by boat reflects these debates, primarily concentrating on the humanitarian and legal realities of migration by boat and border enforcement at sea , however, few studies have analysed their empirical relationship. This edited volume aims to fill this gap and thereby address three important, overlapping aspects of these debates.
The first theme will explore data and methods on migration by boat, its discourse, and its enforcement, and in addition identifying appropriate research methodologies and sources to gather these data. The second theme will build upon the first by focusing on the relationship between data on migration by boat and governance and geopolitics of the “border”. Building upon the two themes already outlined, the third theme will identify and analyse how elite discourses represent migration at sea.
1. Introduction: Challenging Migration Studies through Addressing Critical Gaps in Studying Migration by Boat / i. Introduction to Section One: Data and Methodology / 2. Methodological Approaches to Researching Boat Migration: Moving Vessels and Emotional Landscapes (Mountz) / 3. Review of and Research Proposal for Methodologies Studying Migrant Interdiction at Sea (Williams) / i. Introduction to Section Two: Geopolitics and Legal Regimes / 4. Italy and the Militarization of Euro-Mediterranean Border Control Policies (Campesi) / 5. Inclusion and Exclusion in the Fragmented Space of the Sea: Actors, Territories and Legal Regimes between Libya and Italy (Cuttitta) / 6. On Choppy Waters: the Shifting Borders of Protection in Europe (van Selm) / i. Introduction to Section Three: Discourses / 7. Deconstructing the Migration “Crisis” and Representations of Migration by Boat in the UK News Media (Burroughs) / 8. Media Discourses of the rescue and landing of migration by boat in the Italian News Media (Bruno and Binotto) / 9. Silencing Migration by Sea: Unveiling Technologies of Exclusion in Australian Maritime Borders (Dickson) / 10. Conclusion: Problems, Answers and Ways Forward in Studying Migration by Boat
This book offers an original and interdisciplinary take on migration by considering people who move from one country to another via sea routes. The chapters in this edited collection provide rich empirical insights, comprehensive examinations of legal regimes, and analyses of representations of people who migrate by boat. This volume marks an important contribution to the understudied area of migration by sea.
This collection comes at a crucial moment, engaging directly with the rapidly transforming global geopolitics of migration. The critically informed case studies presented here provide important insight into the ways in which the governance of migration by boat is profoundly reshaping international legal regimes of rights – and how shifting discourses and practices of the governance of migration are creating ambiguous spaces of intervention and protection, where rescuers become criminals, and humanitarian logics can be used to justify the harshest forms of exclusion.
Elaine Burroughs is currently an Associated Staff member with the Department of Geography, Maynooth University, where she researches migration in the Irish and European contexts. She is the author of the book “Political and Media Discourses of Illegal Immigration in Ireland” (2015).
Kira Williams is an instructor, researcher and teaching assistant in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, lecturer at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, and works for the International Migration Research Centre. Her research focuses on international migration, global governance, and analytical methodologies.