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The political rationalities, governmental practices and governance arrangements of the securitisation of migration at the global, regional (European Union), and national (Greece) levels

Dimitris Skleparis, PhD Candidate, School of Politics & IR
Primary Supervisor: Dr Bryan Mabee

I was born and raised in Greece. I studied Communication and Mass Media at the University of Athens and Social Science Research Methods in Politics and International Relations (MSc) at the University of Bristol. In the past, I have worked as a researcher in the Hellenic National Audiovisual Archive, as a researcher-journalist for the Greek Parliament television station (Vouli Tileorasi), and as a liaison officer for Athens Olympic Broadcasting during the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

Migration was not always comprehended from a security perspective. It is with the end of the Cold War, the demise of bipolarity and the large population movement that followed, that the term ‘security’ came to be employed in a broader variety of political and economic contexts, indicating a wide range of different challenges, risks, tensions and threats at various levels and of different orders. Within this context, the ties between migration and security started to form, initially in the world of bureaucratic politics and then in the academic realm.

In this environment, Greece, as a country with net emigration, became a host of mainly undocumented immigrants, which led to the adoption of the security-oriented Law for Aliens in 1991. Meanwhile, the European Union introduced a common policy on asylum and migration, which was primarily driven by security concerns. At the international level, the 9/11 attacks further securitised asylum and migration on the basis of the alleged links between migration and terrorism.

The aim of my research is to identify the political rationalities, governmental practices and governance arrangements of the securitisation of asylum and migration at these three levels. In other words, my research is trying to discover the different logics, practices and relations that are developed by various actors across different levels when the issues of migration and asylum are framed in terms of security.

I am attempting to answer these questions by developing an amended version of the sociological approach of the critical approaches to security that draw on the theoretical concepts of ‘governmentality’ and ‘governance’, and on ‘practice theory’. This framework is then applied in the study of governmental, non-governmental, inter-governmental actors and security professionals specialised in migration and asylum issues in Greece. In turn, the research on these actors at the national level provides us with insight into the role and impact of European and global actors on the securitisation of migration and asylum in Greece.

However, according to recent studies, the mere analysis of discourses is not enough in order for one to comprehend securitisation processes in all their breadth. The study of discourses must be combined with the scrutiny of practices. In this respect, fieldwork will be conducted in Athens, Mitilene, Orestiada, Brussels and (potentially) Geneva. The aim is to uncover, through qualitative semi-structured interviews and ethnographic research, the security rationalities, practices and relations that governmental, non-governmental, inter-governmental actors and security professionals develop both internally (Athens) and on the border (Mitilene and Orestiada). Finally, qualitative semi-structured interviews will be conducted with EU officials in Brussels and officials from international organisations in Geneva, in order to explore the role and impact of European and international actors on the securitisation of migration and asylum in Greece.

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