Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Patricia Ehrkamp


Located 127 miles from the shores of Sicily and only 70 from Tunisia, the island of Lampedusa is home to a population of 6000. Residents are largely reliant on a centuries-old fishing economy, a booming tourism industry and, most recently, the sustainment of a complex apparatus of border enforcement. Since the early 2000s, with the hardening of the southern border of Italy and the European Union, a multitude of actors have converged to Lampedusa: from migrants, to agents of enforcement, to NGO personnel, along with journalists, researchers and tourists. In this thesis, I center the experiences of island residents to analyze the daily, lived dimensions of Lampedusa becoming a key site for the externalization of enforcement and the production of a border spectacle depicting “migration crisis.” Employing ethnographic methods and drawing from literature in feminist geopolitics, critical border studies and spatial theory, this approach looks beyond the nation state to discuss the everyday construction of borders and geopolitics. In doing so, I focus on the contested and relational nature of bordering on the island, highlighting some of the contradictions and inconsistencies of discourses and policies rooted in the premise of sudden emergency in the Mediterranean.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)