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(Dis)possessive borders, (dis)possessed bodies: race and property at the postcolonial European borders

Brito, Tarsis (2023) (Dis)possessive borders, (dis)possessed bodies: race and property at the postcolonial European borders. International Political Sociology, 17 (2). ISSN 1749-5679

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Identification Number: 10.1093/ips/olad009


There has been a profusion of institutionalised practices of confiscation and destruction of migrants’ belongings during European bordering operations conducted by the police and border authorities. Clothes, shoes, money, food, mobile phones, and even water have been among the items seized by authorities during such performances. That said, despite the pervasiveness of current (dis)possessive methods at borderzones, scholars have not yet sufficiently theorised the historical and current links between property, race, and borders. This article argues that such (dis)possessive practices at Europe’s borders are not simply another method of governance that emerges at Europe’s borderzones. Rather, (dis)possession is seen here as central to the very (post)colonial functioning of the border itself. The argument is, on the one hand, that Europe’s borders have been embedded within a (post)colonial and racial capitalist global order predicated upon multifaceted forms of (dis)possession. And, on the other hand, it is claimed that borders themselves have been historical sites of colonial and racial (dis)possession. In so doing, the article shows how (dis)possession has historically allowed Europe to demarcate, reinforce, and police the status of racialised bodies as less-than-human and property-like, that is, as bodies available for colonial and capitalist consumption.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author.
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 05 May 2023 08:54
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2024 19:39

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