Dr Vanessa Barker, Associate professor, Department of Sociology, Stockholm University
Border Protests: The Role of Civil Society in Transforming Border Control

The seminar is based on Vanessa Barker’s chapter ‘Border Protests: The Role of Civil Society in Transforming Border Control’, in Leanne Weber, ed., Rethinking Border Control for a Globalizing World (in production).

This chapter examines the role of civil society in reducing harm at the border. It is part of a thought experiment about a Preferred Future where death, detention and deportation become anomalies and border control is de-militarized. The preferred future methodology tries to show how we can realize these goals from the contemporary situation (it is pragmatic reality rather than fantasy). It argues that current border protests pose a serious challenge to state monopolies over population and membership and as such represent a critical component to any attempt at harm reduction. Border protests are actively withdrawing consent, forming new global solidarities and questioning the legitimacy of democratic societies as core principles of fairness and equality are blocked from nonmembers. The empirical material focuses on public health workers who provide aid to those outside the state system in Sweden. Based on these observations, I then propose three additional (and possibly necessary) conditions for harm reduction: a global Border March, a mass act of civil disobedience; demands for universal legal personhood; and the creation of new institutions, including a Mobile Human Rights Court and a Participatory Border Governance, responsive and accountable to a globalizing civil society, particularly those most affected by contemporary border control: paperless migrants.

For more information. http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415708333/

Paper available upon request.

Coffee will be served!

Find out more about the Migration cluster at the Department of Social Anthropology.

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