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Visiting Research Fellow - Dr Heri Pontes

Dr Heri Pontes will be working on borders and developing some aspects of her research project Resemiotinsing borders, conflict and identity in Brazilian online news reporting on immigration. Her research interests focus on the analysis of political and discriminatory discourses, border and identity politics, immigration, representation, rhetoric and argumentation studies, especially in South America. Heri is an Associate Professor in the Department of Arts and Communication at Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil. She holds a PhD in Linguistics. She teaches modules in Discourse Analysis, Applied Linguistics and Cross-cultural Aspects in Language Teaching and Learning at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. In 2016, she was a Visiting Fellow at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) at The Department of Media and Communications. She will be based in PAIS working with Nick Vaughan-Williams in connection with the 'Border Narratives' project for term 1 of the 2019/20 academic year and can be contacted at

Fri 04 Oct 2019, 10:58

New book based on project under contract with Oxford University Press

The full findings of the 'Border Narratives' project are to be presented in a new book forthcoming with Oxford University Press. The research monograph, authored by Nick Vaughan-Williams, is entitled Vernacular Border Security: Citizens' Narratives of Europe's 'Migration Crisis'. The volume draws on the original findings of 24 focus groups with diverse EU citizens across 11 EU cities to address the question: 'Why is it that, instead of satisfying calls for tougher borders, the intensification of walling and deterrent security appears to have heightened populist demands to "take back control" across Europe'?

Fri 31 May 2019, 12:58

Professor Nick Vaughan-Williams gives lecture at Oxford Brookes University

On Monday 11 February 2019 Professor Nick Vaughan-Williams delivered a public lecture on the findings of the 'Border Narratives' research project at the Centre for Global Politics, Economy, and Society, Oxford Brookes University:

'“Taking back control” in an age of walling: Border narratives of crisis and desire in Europe’

Nick Vaughan-Williams, University of Warwick

The overwhelming governmental response to what has retroactively been packaged as Europe’s 2015-16 ‘migration-’ and/or ‘refugee-’ crisis was to turn to tougher border security. While the EU Commission expressed humanitarian concern for the 1,000s of people who died in the Mediterranean Sea, the 2015 ‘European Agenda on Migration’ reflected a deterrent approach. Many EU Member States resorted to physical walling amounting to 1,000 KM in direct response to the perceived threat of ‘irregular migration’. At the same time, widespread public perceptions of weak border control were reported by opinion polls, politicians, and news outlets. Populist movements with anti-immigration slogans at their core – and incantations to ‘take back control’ of borders and sovereignty – began to spread across the continent in a widespread politics of backlash. This begs the question: Why have populist calls to ‘take back control’ of borders flourished precisely when border security and walling have intensified? The talk offers a preliminary response by drawing upon the findings of the ‘Border Narratives’ project funded by the Leverhulme Trust at the University of Warwick, which held group interviews with citizens in 2016-17 across 11 EU cities. Vernacular narratives of the ‘crisis’ offer in-depth insight into the concepts and categories used by citizens to understand migration and border security, their fears and desires in relation to mobile populations, and actually-existing alternatives to dominant fantasies of control.


Tue 12 Feb 2019, 21:20

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