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Seminar 2: Abstracts

Whose Security? Migration-(In)security Dilemmas Ten Years


Seminar 2: ‘Migrants, Ethnic Minorities, Muslims as Objects of Global Surveillance.’

Thursday 29thSeptember 2011

Stuart Croft, University of Warwick

Abstract : “ Securitising Islam”

Terrorism has been called into being as one of the great existential threats of the twenty first century. Of course, terrorist incidents around the world have killed many thousands of people, in the past decade or so alone. But contemporary terrorism has been constructed to threaten far more; to threaten the existence of the Self. It is a process familiar to those who work on securitisation theory. A threat that once was part of political debate become securitised – named as a security threat, that naming based on the ability of that now threat to pose a threat to the very existence of the Self, such a view being accepted by the target audience, and therefore allowing a series of emergency measures to be taken. Yet what is particular about contemporary debates is the way in which it is not ‘simply’ terrorism that has been securitised, nor even ‘Islamist’ terrorism, but in so many ways, it has been Islam, or it has been Muslim populations, that have been securitised. To try to understand how this has been so, the presentation will focus on the social aspects of securitisation, and how structures of ontological security can facilitate a social process of securitisation. That is, while the state of course has important roles to play, so too do ‘securitization norm entrepreneurs’ – in the media, in the arts, in popular culture. And citizens are not merely passive observers; their active participation or resistence exists in different ways – through participation or otherwise in anti-Muslim protests (viz the EDL and BNP in the UK), through to the sorts of jokes that ‘we’ deem it appropriate to tell and retell.



Stuart Croft is Professor of International Security at the University of Warwick. He joined Warwick in January 2007 from the University of Birmingham where he had worked for 18 years, latterly as Professor of International Relations, he also served for three years as the Head of the School of Social Sciences. Stuart’s work is in the field of security studies, which increasingly to him is important to read in an interdisciplinary context. Stuart's next book is Securitizing Islam, which is to be published by Cambridge University Press in early 2012. His last book was Culture, Crisis and America's War on Terror,which was published by Cambridge University Press in 2006. From January 2009, Stuart was Chair of the British International Studies Association, and he is now the President of the Association. He has been elected as an Academician in the UK Academy of Social Sciences, and as a Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts. From 2011, he was appointed to the Governing Council of the Economic and Social Research Council.


Robert Lambert, University of Exeter

Abstract : “ Countering Terrorism without Creating ‘Suspect’ Communities”
My paper follows my new book Countering al Qaeda in London: Police and Muslims in Partnership and explains how the war on terror (and its more recent variants) has made some Muslim communities suspect and has therefore been alienating and counter-productive. In contrast I describe small scale police and Muslim community partnershipsin London that worked against the grain of the war on terror, being narrowly focused on legitimate criminal targets that offer a model for future practice in the field of counter-terrorism policing. For the main part this consists of two case studies, one in Brixton in South London and one in Finsbury Park, North London. In Brixton Salafi Muslims overcame historical suspicion of police to form a partnership with police that tackled the adverse influence of Al-Qaeda propagandists including Abu Qatada and Abdullah el Faisal. In Finsbury Park local Muslims worked in partnership with police to remove Abu Hamza and his hard core supporters from control of Finsbury Park Mosque. In doing so I also draw on the seminal work of Paddy Hillyard and recent research by Mary Hickman that compares Irish community experiences and Muslim community experiences of being ‘suspect communities’ in London and Birmingham in two different eras of counter-terrorism. To conclude I will examine the role of neo-conservative think-tanks that have sought to develop counter-subversion strategies against politically active Muslims in the UK.


Robert Lambert is the co-director of the European Muslim Research Centre (EMRC) at the University of Exeter and a lecturer at the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) at the University of St. Andrews. In his new book Countering al-Qaeda in London: Police and Muslims in Partnership (published Hurst: London in September 2011)Robert reflects on his experience as head of the Metropolitan Police Muslim Contact Unit (MCU) from January 2002 to December 2007 and on his subsequent PhD research examining the legitimacy and effectiveness of police and Muslim partnerships in London. In Competing Counter-Radicalisation Models in the UK a chapter in Rik Coolsaet’s Jihadi Terrorism and the Radicalisation Challenge: European and American Experiences (published by Ashgate in September 2011) Robert examines MCU experience in relation to UK Prevent strategy in 2011. As part of an ongoing EMRC research project Robert is currently examining the nature of anti-Muslim or Islamophobic violence against Muslims in the UK.

Mark Maguire

Abstract : “ L'État de Religion: the Margins of the State, and Politics of the Everyday”

Ireland’s asylum system has the highest rejection rates in Europe. Most asylum seekers spend many years in a punitive direct provision system composed of fifty privatised and semi-privatised shadow villages. Officially, this system is understood to be a deterrent to certain forms of migration. Integration, therefore, is only for those with refugee or subsidiary protection status. Indeed, when asked for his views on the integration of asylum seekers, one government official told a journalist, ‘Integration can’t happen without deportations!’ A variety of scholars have commented on Ireland asylum system and have judged it to be a costly, structurally violent and racializing manifestation of sovereign state power – the surveillance state, the biopolitical state, even the ‘racist state’. In this paper, however, I offer different perspectives – indeed, this paper is about alternative views, alternative ways of exploring and explaining the based on ethnographic data. I draw on several different projects and from the recent theoretical contributions by Wendy Brown and Veena Das in order to open out new ways of thinking about the relationships between governing and subjects. I draw on several years of ethnographic and policy research among asylum seekers to everyday lives situated against racialising myths, security discourse and surprisingly ad hoc neo-liberal governmentality. Drawing on several more recent years of ethnographic research among former asylum seekers, I describe the ways in which ‘the state’ is being re-framed and often replaced by African churches and migrant networks. Against theoretical generalisations about surveillance, security and the state, this paper focuses on everyday life and shows the new securitisation assemblages at work and the new and powerful configurations that give meaning and hope to people’s lives. I argue that beyond the limits and from within the lacunae of a neo-liberal regulation, l’É tatde droit,immigrants are generating alternate structures of meaning, l’é tat de religion, that must be considered in any discussion of migration and (in)securitization.


Mark Maguire lectures in the Department of Anthropology, National University of Ireland Maynooth. He is author of Differently Irish (Woodfield, 2004) and After Asylum(Manchester, forthcoming 2011). He is currently working on the interface between biometrics, affective computing and the detection ‘malintent’ with the Centre for Irish and European Security. He was a Visiting Assistant Professor in Stanford University’s Anthropology Department in 2008 and Associate Professor there in 2011. He is Editor-in-Chief of Social Anthropology, Europe’s leading Anthropology journal, and is a member, ex officio, of the Executive Committee of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA).

Natalia Ribas-Mateos, Universidad de la Coruña

Abstract: “ The Border Shift”

Nowadays, we are witnessing new ways in how issues of borders and mobilities are studied. Such issues cover a whole range of perspectives ranging from borders and securitisation trends (enforcement in the post-9/11 era and rebordering Islam), to digital borders, biometric borders, borders and environment, externalisation of borders (especially by overpassing maritime boundaries) and the impact of EU enlargement on borders.


In this work we address one particular border shift. Of specific interest for present purposes is the juxtaposition of the external and internal EU borders in relation to mobility. As we will see, it seems that the idea of the “wild frontier”1in Europe is still somehow with us. The suggested framework points to the emergence of a border shift paradigm when considering EU borders, which actively seeks to contain mobility and the restrictions to it. Such a paradigm is theorised as a simultaneous impact of external (Ribas-Mateos 2005) and internal borders (thus, drawing on multiple examples, singling out, through my own research as well as through numerous debates, one key idea that seems to be reflected is that there is a complex form of deterritorialisation that can guide future debates, where the new role of the Nation-state reproduces old roles and new roles of administrative forms, including categories and sub-categories of classifying mobilities and populations. Such an idea overcomes the notion of the border in the topographic and geo-political sense, taking us to a conceptualization of the externalisation of borders (distinguishing different notions of transit and alteration of migrant routes) and internalisation of borders (inside the Nation-State territory through the fight against “the irregular”, for example).

Indeed there are European borders that share many of the restrictions to human mobility borders and are not located in Spain: Malta, Lampedusa, and other Italian Southern borders, Calais-Dover –as a Schenghen border-, Greece, the Eastern European borders (as well as the Finnish-Russian, EU-Ukranian border etc). However in many ways, Spain as a border-country in the so-called “Fortress Europe” construction, has been one of the emblematic examples for nearly 20 years. The classic problematic border areas were first the Strait of Gibraltar, then the African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, and more recently, the Canary Islands. They are, on the one hand, a re-routing process for migrants, and on the other, a tendency to move the border controls to the South in a way that makes policies controlling arrivals from such southern countries as The Gambia while making other countries as a place of transit (the Maghrebian countries). Nevertheless, such spatial re-definition of borders in the context of migration control does not end here. Borders are also other Spanish harbours, airports and the like (having Madrid-Barajas as the main entrance for Latino-American migration). Many or such mobility patterns that affect contemporary Europe and its relations with the Mediterranean South and the the European East have been previously reviewed under the light of the paradigmatic example of the US-Mexico border (Ribas-Mateos 20112).

Though the Spanish case, we can see that many future questions of borders are related,. Firstly, when thinking of the configuration of border spaces and border-cities there is the intensification of location from the conception of the border as a space of restriction. Secondly, to relocation or externalization (towards the South, (first to transit zones, then to the south and connecting with forms of re-routing constructed by migrants). And thirdly, blurring, such blurring occurs between the logic of the relaxation of control in intra-European borders, but which establishes new forms of tension, such as the border of Calais or the hidden borders between France and Spain and Portugal and Spain. After reviewing these external borders in a general way (through research that has already been published) we will go into detail illustrating the cases of the Galician border and the Catalan border. What did they mean in the past and what do they mean today?


Natalia Ribas-Mateos is a Ramón y Cajal Researcher at the Universidad de la Coruña (ESOMI, Equipo de Sociología de las migraciones internacionales) since 2007. She is also a teacher at the Master of Migration Studies (Universidad de A Coruña) since 2008.

MinasSamatas, University of Crete

Abstract: “Post- 9/11 Global Surveillance, ‘Smart Borders,’ Racial and other types of Profiling and Social Sorting”
This paper will make a critical overview of globalsurveillance and the deployment of smart borders’ profiling and social sorting of various categorical suspects, like migrants, ethnic minorities and Muslims, after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11).

In the wake ofthe moral panic surrounding 9/11 and the consequent so-called war on terror a global surveillance has been deployed, targeting categorical terrorist suspects of all kind. Racial profiling, i.e., surveilling, scrutinizing and excluding individuals solely on the basis of race, like Arabs, but also of religion, like Muslims and/or ethnic originlike Pakistani or Middle Easters isa real consequence of 9/11; yet, central process of inclusion or exclusion in the post-9/11world is “social sorting,” i.e., the new surveillance technologies capacities to enable classification and categorization of populations in order to discriminate people from different social groups. Networked algorithmic surveillance and multiple screens with electronic databanks are being stretched around the world comprising a “global surveillance assemblage” as a convergence of personal, national, credit, ID cards, biometrics, RFIDdata, and the like, policing all obligatory access points. Hence, post-9/11 airports act as ‘data filters’, regulating mobility and generating novel forms of exclusion of all those with dubious backgrounds or appearance.

Tangible manifestation of post-9/11 neoliberal and technophile global surveillance is the implementation of high-tech border surveillance systems (“smart borders”) in USA and Europe. Smart borders like the European TALOSwill use sensors, even combat robots and drones allowing to detect people, vehicles and hazardous substances, crossing the unregulated land border, for protecting European borders, especially targeting migrants and suspected ethnic minorities.

In our paper we will refer to indicative examples of various surveillance experiences, and to extraordinary renditions, detentions, and abuses of human rights that occurred after 9/11, primarily directed against Muslim and Arab groups, which however affect our democracy and our society.  

Minas Samatas is Associate Professor of Political Sociology in the Sociology Department at the University of Crete, Greece. He has a Ph.D. in sociology from the Sociology Department of the Graduate Faculty of New School for Social Research, New York, USA. He has published in international and Greek journals on issues such as “ Greek McCarthyism,” “Greece in ‘Schengenland’, “ Security and Surveillance in Athens 2004 Olympics,” etc. He is author of Surveillance in Greece: from Anticommunist to the Consumer Surveillance, Pella, N.Y. 2004, and co-editor with Kevin Haggerty of Surveillance and Democracy, Routledge, 2010. He is a participant in various international surveillance study groups. .

Anastassia Tsoukala


Abstract : “ When Criminalisation Meets Risk : Immigration Databases in France”
In some respects, construction of social enemies is a hardly shifting longstanding process that may be seen as essential to the defining of the mainstream society and to fostering social bonds: the mainstream society and its prevailing values may also be defined through an oppositional pattern, where the ‘other’ becomes the condition sine qua nonof the very existence of the community’s ideal image. In times of crisis, this defining process is strengthened and may take the form of criminalisation, where unreserved implementation of coercive measures on the ‘other’ is justified by the ‘other’s’ dangerousness. When it comes to targeting migrants, cross-national research in the EU reveals that from the late 20thcentury onwards these are often seen as loci of overlapping threats, ranging from security- and culture- to economy-related ones.

Acknowledging that rise in risk-focused crime control policies entailed inter aliagradual substitution of evidence by suspicion among the key grounds likely to set in motion social control apparatus, this paper seeks to identify the ways this shift in crime control has impacted on prior forms of criminalising migrants. Analysis of the evolution of immigration databases in France is then believed to highlight how, in resting upon numerous privacy-intrusive proactive measures, suspicion serves nowadays a twofold purpose in that it grounds both fear of Otherness and risk-based social control. Arguably, these objectives of social control apparatus are achieved through increasing broadening of the scope of surveillance measures (ranging from mixed marriages to naturalisation) and growing reliance on technology (interoperability of databases).

Anastassia Tsoukala (PhD in Law and Criminal Sciences) is Professor of Criminology at the University of Paris 11 and Senior Researcher at the University Paris 5 (Sorbonne). She is working on the design and implementation of security policies in Europe with regard to football hooliganism, counter-terrorism and immigration, and on the social construction of threat. Recent books: Tsoukala, A. (2009) Football Hooliganism in Europe. Security and Civil Liberties in the Balance, Palgrave Macmillan; Bigo D., Tsoukala A. (eds) (2008) Terror, Insecurity and Liberty. Illiberal Practices of Liberal Regimes after 9/11, Routledge.