Contested Borderscapes. Transnational Geographies vis-à-vis Fortress Europe.

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Contested Borderscapes.Transnational Geographies vis-à-vis Fortress Europe.

May 2019,  Thessaloniki-Mytilene, 196 p., ISBN: 978-618-82533-1-5


Dionysios Gouvias

Christy (Chryssanthi) Petropoulou

Charalampos Tsavdaroglou

Research Group: Invisible Cities

Νο Copyright




European member states are signatories to the Geneva Convention Related to the Status of Refugees.

Human rights and dignity are respected in detention centres across Europe.

An electrified fence was built to protect the nation-state from illegal intruders.

Traffickers are responsible for deaths by drowning in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.

Deportations are voluntary returns.

Turkey is a safe country.

War is peace.

Freedom is slavery.

Ignorance is strength.

In 2016, Oxford English Dictionary declared “post-truth” the word of the year. In this Orwellian moment, the movement of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants across the increasingly militarised borders of Europe have instigated a socio-spatial debate about the limits of human rights, national sovereignties, continental values, precipitating and contributing to the ongoing condition of European crises. Although in the era of globalisation borders constitute porous passages for capital and commodities, at the same time they have hardened and ossified as “new enclosures” seeking to immobilise migrant and refugee populations. Fortress Europe emerges as a complex of new state control mechanisms, freshly erected border fences, newly built detention centres and improvised refugee camps; together, these technologies of migration management aim at the criminalisation, classification, stigmatisation, and biopolitical control of moving populations, fomented by xenophobic politics, and managed by humanitarian subcontractors. In this hostile climate, people on the move contest European border regimes, peripheries, and cityscapes by claiming spatial justice and political visibility while creating a nexus of emerging common spaces. They are joined by activists defending their right to movement, who are engaged in efforts to “welcome refugees” into a shrinking and contested public sphere, into alternative and self-organised social spaces, responding to the humanitarian crises wrought by militarism, violence, and structural adjustment with solidarity, stemming from a larger vision of sharing in each other’s struggles for survival and social transformation.

The collective volume is an outcome of the international conference ‘Contested Borderscapes. Transnational Geographies vis-à-vis Fortress Europe’ that took place in Mytilene (Lesvos), September 28 – October 1, 2017.





“We took over by force what was not given to us civilly”. Refugees claim their right to housing in a 1936 squatting incident (pdf)

Dimitra Glenti


The struggle to become visible – Commoning practices in a migrants’ informal settlement on the South-eastern Aegean Sea (pdf)

Dionysios Gouvias


Whose safety? Differentiated justice within the “safe countries / places” discourse concerning the EU-Afghanistan Joint Way Forward agreement (pdf)

Penny – Panagiota Koutrolikou


Contested Bodies/ Contested Borders: Re-Imagining the Refugee Crisis through Sophocles’ Philoctetes (pdf)

Katerina Liontou & Maria Pantsidou


Violence at Europe’s external and internal borders The dehumanization of migrants in border-control operations and its effects on people and policies (pdf)

Andrea Panico & Elena Prestt


Socio-spatial Integration: a two layered process (pdf)

Asimina Paraskevopoulou


Can the poetic of commoning change the habitus? Reflexions from Lesvos with a Latin American perspective of urban – regional social movements (pdf)

Christy (Chryssanthi) Petropoulou


Fixing ruptures in the neighborhood (pdf)

Katerina Sidiropulu Janku


Ecologies of migration: metabolic borderscapes and relational architecture (pdf)

Heidi Sohn Ramon & Cordova Gonzalez


“Refugee tv” and “Refugees got talent” projects. Affective and decolonial geographies of invisible common spaces (pdf)

Charalampos Tsavdaroglou


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