Rings in the Water: Felt Externalisation in the Extended EU borderlands

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Ripple effects of European border externalisation have transformed everyday life in the Tunisian coastal town of Zarzis. Building on ethnographic fieldwork among artisanal fishermen, and actors involved in two migrant cemeteries in Zarzis, the article provides an understanding of entangled processes and of how violence and death co-exist in the externalised borderlands of the EU. The felt and lived embeddedness and simultaneity of otherwise separately viewed policy issues is revealed through a focus on intersecting processes coming together in one place. The article analyses the ripple effects of these policies on third actors (the fishermen), the environment (marine life), and space (two migrant cemeteries) in Zarzis. The article unpacks how externalisation translates into human rights abuses, environmental crisis, and death, and how these are distinctly intertwined. I propose the concept ‘felt externalisation’ as a theoretical contribution which ties together the three core themes: the actors, the environment, and the space. In doing so, the article brings together three different, yet interrelated dimensions of border externalisation that are still largely understudied in the literature. By looking at externalisation from a spatial and geographically situated angle the paper makes not only an empirical but also a conceptual and theoretical contribution, by seeking to expand the empirical basis but also the very meaning of externalisation and its effects, in the extended EU borderland.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2023

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