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Title: 'Europeanity', the 'other' and the discourse of fear : the centrality of the forced migrant as 'global alien' to an emerging European national identity
Author: Cetti, Fran
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 3980
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2012
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The forced migrant, driven into the global circuits of ‘survival migration’, and subject to an increasingly securitised European asylum and immigration system, is fashioned at the Europe Union’s distended and de-territorialised external borders as a figure of fear. This thesis seeks to demonstrate how this operation goes far beyond the quotidian social production of marginal and excluded figures: it argues that the forced migrant has become a key ideological resource in the attempt to de-historicise, universalise and naturalise the neoliberal system of global capitalism. Based on secondary literature, but using primary sources where necessary to validate its arguments, the thesis investigates the way Europe’s core nation-states attempt to displace their contradictions and conflicts – inherent in their nature as centres of and conduits for global capitalism – through the manipulation of deeply embedded nationalist narratives of inclusion/exclusion. The national border is key to the discursive definition of the forced migrant as a threatening ‘global illegal’. The thesis argues, however, that the concept of the European border has expanded from its everyday construct into a normative global instrument that not only assigns identity, but is summoned into being by the supposed inherent qualities of the individual who attempts to cross it, wherever they may be. The creation of racial stereotypes has become one of the foremost tools of this form of identity management: the research reveals that the racialisation of the figure of the ‘absolute alien’ plays a fundamental role in the construction of an overarching sense of ‘European-ness’. The war on terror, by summoning up the racialised figure of the ‘global jihadi’, which is discursively linked to the image of the forced migrant as a threatening global ‘illegal alien’, has enabled the creation of a European asylumsecurity nexus. The way the figure of the forced migrant has been fashioned into the natural subject of a politics of (in)security has become an essential component in the construction of a hyper-national ‘European identity’. The thesis concludes that the forced migrant, fashioned out of national materials as the ultimate ‘global alien’, is the ideological pivot for the normalisation of a global system of exploitation as manifest in its national form, and gains an even more exaggerated importance when economic and political crisis presents an overwhelming need to promote the idea of ‘European-ness’.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral