[csaa-forum] Public lecture, Sandro Mezzadra Border crossing and border reinforcing. Politics of citizenship and movements of migration in a postcolonial Europe

ilaria vanni ilaria.vanni at gmail.com
Thu Nov 9 16:16:04 CST 2006

*The Institute for International Studies, Trans/forming Cultures and
Research Initiative in International Activism present:*

*Sandro Mezzadra (University of Bologna –  CCR, University of Western

*Border crossing and border reinforcing. Politics of citizenship and
movements of migration in a postcolonial Europe*
*Tuesday 21 November, 6.30pm
University of Technology Sydney Lecture theatre CB01.04.06 (Tower building
entrance level)*

The presentation will start by a definition of the postcolonial condition in
contemporary Europe. The point will be made that it is precisely the
composition and the characteristics of migratory movements that make
possible and indeed necessary to talk about a "postcolonial Europe". Taking
into account a series of recent analysis of the EU structure, the paper will
further highlight some peculiarities of the relation EU is developing with
its territory. Transformations of migration management schemes in recent
years will be discussed with particular reference to the issue of borders
control. Confronting movements of migration that challenge any rigid
definition of borders, European politics seem indeed to point at a flexible
model of border control, that is increasingly blurring the very distinction
between an "inside" and an "outside" to European space. This tendency will
be analysed in the third and last part of the presentation, where I will try
to underscore the consequences it has for the still in the making European

My hypothesis is that European citizenship is currently crisscrossed by the
contradictory dynamics of border crossing and border reinforcing, to borrow
the concepts proposed in his analysis of the US-Mexican border by the
anthropologist Pablo Vila. On the one hand it presents the risk of an drift
toward what Étienne Balibar has provocatively called a "new apartheid" (or
toward the postcolonial re-emergence of the distinction between citizen and
subject within the European space itself). On the other hand it potentially
hosts the tendency toward an opening up of democracy, beyond the constraints
of the nation-state form and a narrow interpretation of the European
identity. In both senses the condition, the movements, and the struggles of
migration are crucial sites of investigation and political action.

Sandro Mezzadra is Associate Professor of Political Theory at the University
of Bologna and is currently visiting fellow at the University of Western
Sydney (Centre for Cultural Research). His research has been focusing for
many years on the issue of borders politics, citizenship and migration. He
is involved in various forms of borders and migration related activism in
Italy and in Europe.

Among his recent publications in English are:

(With Brett Neilson), Né qui, né altrove. Migration, Detention, Desertion: A
Dialogue, in *Borderlands *e-journal Volume 2 Number 1, 2003.

Citizen and Subject. A Postcolonial Constitution for the European Union?, in
*Situations *I (2005-2006), 2, pp. 31-42.

(With Etienne Balibar), Borders, Citizenship, War, Class. A Dialogue, ed. by
M. Bojadzijev and I. Saint-Saëns, in *New Formations *Number 58, summer

(With Federico Rahola), The Postcolonial Condition: A Few Notes on the
Quality of Historical Time in the Global Present, in *Postcolonial Text* II
(2006), 1.

Contact: ilaria.vanni at uts.edu.au
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