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2024 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

1. Introduction

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Abstract

The role played by non-state actors, and in particular by humanitarian ones, within the governance of international migration is an object of debate in the literature. By investigating the role played by mainstream humanitarian organizations on the southern European border, this research aims to (a) further investigate the political forms taken by humanitarianism on the ground, and (b) explore if and how mainstream humanitarian organizations are able to challenge the current border management system. Recently, the literature highlighted that grassroots humanitarian actors counter both mainstream humanitarianism—mainly seen as complicit of the state—and governments. In this respect, this research also explores (a) if and how mainstream humanitarian organizations’ discourses and practices are different from/similar to those of grassroots groups, and (b) what are the implications of these differences/similarities in terms of contributing to the (de)politicization of the current system. The research is based on ten months of fieldwork carried out in Sicily between 2017 and 2018, and it uses three main methods: document analysis, semi-structured interviews and direct observation. The book contributes to refining the discussion on the (de)politicizing role of humanitarianism by arguing that the view of humanitarian action as exclusively complicit with state-driven goals seems to be too narrow. The book argues that the issue at stake—on which further research would be needed—is more about the forms and the limits of the politicization to which humanitarian actors contribute.

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Footnotes
1
The hotspot system or approach is a policy tool implemented by Italy and Greece since 2015 following the indications of the European Commission and oriented towards the reinforcement of the southern European border. The hotspot can be understood both as a designated area and as a method of work involving different actors to proceed to activities of medical screening, pre-identification, information, fingerprinting and filtering of migrants arriving by sea.
 
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Metadata
Title
Introduction
Author
Roberto Calarco
Copyright Year
2024
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-40504-4_1

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