The European Union’s external border regime in the Mediterranean is the classic ‘humanitarian border’. It is presented and performed as a humanitarian and caring enterprise, but conceals strong elements of exclusionary border control. Important actors in its daily social construction are territorial borderworkers who are tasked with the implementation of the laws and policies underpinning the humanitarian border. Their narratives are passionate and articulated using emotive language and expressions denoting an intensity of personal feelings, while the moral framing of the issues indicates a moral discomfort. Drawing on multi-sited and long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Lampedusa and Sicily, situated on the external Mediterranean border of the European Union, this article explores the key themes and form of the personal narratives of territorial borderworkers who discuss border processes and deliberate their own roles within it. Their narratives reveal insights about their worldview, and add empirical depth to our understanding of the humanitarian border and the enterprise of constructing it.


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pp. 55-73
Launched on MUSE
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