Liberal Violence and the Racial Borders of the European Union

Isakjee, Arshad, Davies, Thom, Obradović‐Wochnik, Jelena and Augustová, Karolína
(2020) Liberal Violence and the Racial Borders of the European Union. Antipode, 52 (6). pp. 1751-1773.

Access the full-text of this item by clicking on the Open Access link.
[thumbnail of Antipode 2020.pdf] Text
Antipode 2020.pdf - Published version

Download (1MB) | Preview


This paper examines how racial violence underpins the European Union’s border regime. Drawing on two case studies, in northern France and the Balkans, we explore how border violence manifests in divergent ways: from the direct physical violence which is routine in Croatia, to more subtle forms of violence evident in the governance of migrants and refugees living informally in Calais, closer to Europe’s geopolitical centre. The use of violence against people on the move sits uncomfortably with the liberal, post‐racial self‐image of the European Union. Drawing upon the work of postcolonial scholars and theories of violence, we argue that the various violent technologies used by EU states against migrants embodies the inherent logics of liberal governance, whilst also reproducing liberalism’s tendency to overlook its racial limitations. By interrogating how and why border violence manifests we draw critical attention to the racialised ideologies within which it is predicated. This paper characterises the EU border regime as a form of “liberal violence” that seeks to elide both its violent nature and its racial underpinnings.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: migration, race, borders, violence, liberalism, refugees
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2020 10:46
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 23:35
DOI: 10.1111/anti.12670
Open Access URL:
Related URLs: