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Σάββατο, 27 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

[EN] THE BIOPOLITICAL BORDER IN PRACTICE: SURVEILLANCE AND DEATH AT THE GREECE-TURKEY BORDERZONES

Publication Name: Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2014, 
volume 32, pages 000 – 000

doi:10.1068/d13031p

The biopolitical border in practice: surveillance and death at the Greece–Turkey borderzones

Özgün E Topak
Department of Sociology, D431 Mackintosh-Corry, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, 
Canada K7L 3N6; e-mail: ozgun.topak@queensu.ca
Received 17 May 2013; in revised form 29 March 2014; published online 28 August 2014

Abstract.
This paper examines biopolitical control practices at the Greece–Turkey borders and addresses current debates in the study of borders and biopolitics. The Greek and Frontex authorities have established diverse surveillance mechanisms to control the borderzone space and to monitor, intercept, apprehend, and push back migrants or to block their passage. The location of contemporary borders has been much debated in the literature. This paper provides a nuanced understanding of borders by demonstrating that while borders are diffusing beyond and inside state territories, their practices and effects are concentrated at the edges of state territories—ie, borderzones. Borderzones are biopolitical spaces in which surveillance is most intense and migrants suffer the direct threat of injury and death. Applying biopolitics in the context of borderzones also prompts us to revisit the concept. While Foucault posits that biopolitics is the product of the historical transition away from sovereign powers controlling territory and imposing practices of death towards governmental powers managing population mainly through pastoral, productive, and deterritorialized techniques, the case of the Greece–Turkey borderzones demonstrates that biopolitics operates through sovereign territorial controls and surveillance, practices of death and exclusion, and suspension of rights. This study also highlights the fact that, despite the biopolitical realities, migrants continue to cross the borders.


Keywords: Greece–Turkey borders, surveillance, biopolitics, border ethnography, migration control, human rights