Plastic hospitality : The empty signifier at the EU’s Mediterranean border

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Plastic hospitality : The empty signifier at the EU’s Mediterranean border

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title Plastic hospitality : The empty signifier at the EU’s Mediterranean border
Author DeBono, Daniela
Research Centre Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM)
Date 2019
English abstract
Hospitality and hospitality-laden language feature highly among people working in or around structures of first reception in Italy and Malta, two countries at the European Union’s (EU) external border. This is peculiar because hospitality rarely features at first reception, which forms part of the state’s border system. Characteristically, security issues are prioritized, and the first reception system is managed by the member state’s security agents, in collaboration with EU and international security agents. In practice, first reception refers to the processes of identification, registration, and classification that irregular migrants go through after having crossed the border without authorization and, often, without identification. Drawing on long-term and multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in Italy and Malta, this article examines some of the uses of hospitality language by a spectrum of territorial borderworkers operating with state, non-state, security, humanitarian, and activist entities in the two countries that are the object of this study. Discourse analysis yields interesting insights into how the use of the hospitality paradigm and hospitality terminology in first reception is less about hospitality practices and more about power. It proposes that the hospitality paradigm be conceptualized as a Laclauian empty signifier, and therefore, as a locus of power.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1093/migration/mnz015 (link to publisher's fulltext.)
Link https://doi.org/10.1093/migration/mnz015 .Icon
Publisher Oxford University Press
Host/Issue Migration Studies;3
Volume 7
ISSN 2049-5846
Language eng (iso)
Subject humanitarianism
hospitality
empty signifier
EU border policy
EU migration policy
humanitarian border
Mediterranean
EU reception policy
first reception
territorial borderworkers
Italy
Malta
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Research Subject Categories::INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AREAS
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/30378 Permalink to this page
Link to publication in DiVA Find this research publication in DiVA (n/a for student publ.)
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