Mirco Buoso

The Euro-Libyan border regime through the lens of social harm: for a criminological analysis of border externalisation

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract


The concept of border externalisation depicts the process by which migration management and border controls practices are exported to extra-jurisdictional areas, sometimes encroaching on that of third state. These processes create complex and transnational systems of control over human mobility, in which different sovereignties, regional and international actors are involved. Theoretical frameworks based on the notion of crime are often linked to the concept of state sovereignty and prove to be ill-suited to understand the complexity of these systems and identify responsibilities. This paper proposes the adoption of the Social Harm approach – which has recently received a renewed academic interest – to analyse migrants’ severe human rights violations in relation to the Italian process of border externalisation. To this end, the first paragraph traces the origin and outlines the main points of the debate on Social Harm and Zemiology. The second one offers a context-informed investigation of the Italian process of border externalisation in Libya, highlighting the actors and interests involved. The third paragraph presents the main results of the analysis, aimed at investigating, through the concept of social harm, the causes of deaths and serious human rights violations related to torture and inhumane and degrading treatment suffered by migrants in Libya and during sea-crossing. The concluding paragraph summarises the main findings, identifies the various responsibilities, and provides reflections and insights for further research.

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