Keynote: ‘From the securitisation of migration to the dehumanisation of the refugee‘

Dr. Franck Düvells Keynote zur Eröffnung des Workshops ‘The Migration-Security Nexus from a Transnational Perspective‘der Britisch International Studies Association am 21.2.2019 an der Universität Oxford, St Antony’s College.


In autumn 2015, I witnessed the arrival of a NATO frigate off the coast of Lesbos. The vessel functioned like an iron wall to prevent unwanted forms of migration depicted as a threat to the EU. This militarisation of control was an expression of a truly exceptional policy and thus a typical characteristics of the securitisation of migration. The subsequent negligence of the several hundred thousand arrivals lead to a situation in which they suffered from severe deprivation. Popular images depicted them as an invasion of squalid masses. They were locked up under inhumane conditions in closed detention camps which I conceptualise as systemic dehumanisation of refugees. In this presentation I argue that the securitisation of migration consequently leads to the creation of the figure of the refugee as a modern version of the subhuman. This raises fundamental questions about the nature of EU migration policies. [Link]