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The southern neighbourhood in crisis: the migrant crisis, governmentality and domopolitics

Rachael Dickson

The European Union (EU) has long been bordered by instability along its southern rim in the form of authoritarian regimes with questionable human rights records. The uprisings of 2010-11 presented a crisis of how to respond but also offered a window of opportunity for democratic reform, the implementation of rights-based regimes and economic opportunity. However, the opportunities were not fully realised which has in turn presented the EU with a different crisis in the Mediterranean as the lawless states of North Africa have become routes for irregular migrants to seek entry to the EU via boat, resulting in many deaths and increased numbers arriving on EU shores. The EU, conscious of its need to respond, has articulated a desire for a 'holistic approach' based on 'principles of solidarity' and 'human rights' .This paper will detail how adopting a lens of governmentality allows the exploration of alternative truths within the EU's response. It will suggest that a holistic approach based on virtues of solidarity and sharing does not stem solely on the desire to resolve the crisis along humanitarian lines, upholding human rights, but rather on the need to regain control of the 'EU home' and enhance security of its own citizens. How the concept of domopolitics is useful in analysing the development of EU migration policy since the latest crisis in April will also be outlined. The paper will conclude by commenting on how proposed ways out of the crisis may have consequences for the EU's identity as an international human rights actor. A safe and welcoming home must be protected but the question to be answered is, from what?

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