Vicki Squire – Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat: Human Dignity and Biophysical Violence


Event Date: 29 March 2017

Room B33
Birkbeck Main Building
Birkbeck University of London
Torrington Square
London WC1E 7HX

The Birkbeck Institute for Social Research presents:

Dr Vicki Squire (Warwick) – Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat: Human Dignity and Biophysical Violence

People on the move are often viewed with fear and suspicion on the part of ‘host’ communities. Despite a broad range of political and social responses to the so-called European refugee ‘crisis’, a security-orientated concern with ‘foreigners’ has come to dominate public and political debate. Meanwhile, efforts to construct different ways of engaging the issue appear to have failed. For instance, a humanitarian approach has been co-opted by the security agenda and is reproached from various angles as either ‘too soft’ and idealistic, or as victimising people on the move in precarious conditions. Such developments raise the question as to how alternative imaginaries – grounded in respect for the dignity of all lives, including those people who are rendered precarious through movement – can be effectively forged and put into practice. This talk reflects on this question from various angles, with reference to findings from the projects Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat and Human Dignity and Biophysical Violence.

Dr Vicki Squire is Reader in International Security at the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick. She is author of The Exclusionary Politics of Asylum (2009) and Post/Humanitarian Border Politics Between Mexico and the US: People, Places, Things (2015), and Editor of The Contested Politics of Mobility (2011). She is also Co- Editor of the journal International Political Sociology. Dr Squire is currently Leverhulme Research Fellow on the project Human Dignity and Biophysical Violence: Migrant Deaths across the Mediterranean Sea, which examines how border deaths are tolerated within a European framework of human dignity, yet also contested through various political interventions that have emerged in response to such deaths. She is also Principal Investigator on the ESRC project Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat: Mapping and Documenting Migratory Journeys and Experiences, which is an international collaborative project documenting the journeys, experiences, expectations and claims of people on the move in precarious situations across the eastern and central Mediterranean routes. Dr Squire is a frequent contributor to The Conversation and openDemocracy, and tweets @vidkowiaksquire

Introduction by Dr Karen Wells (Birkbeck):


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