Visibility in mediated borderscapes : The hunger strike of asylum seekers as an embodiment of border violence
Pellander, S., & Horsti, K. (2018). Visibility in mediated borderscapes : The hunger strike of asylum seekers as an embodiment of border violence. Political Geography, 66, 161-170. doi:10.1016/j.polgeo.2017.01.005
Published inPolitical Geography
© 2017 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
In 2012, two Afghan asylum seekers camped outside the Parliament building in Helsinki during a hunger strike that lasted for 72 days. Although the protest was very visible in the city space, the mainstream media and most politicians ignored it. This paper analyzes the protest and its mediation through the concepts of borderscape and visibility. Using methods of visual and discourse analysis, we examine the ways in which the hunger strike protest – and its mediation – negotiate the (in)visibility of borders. We show how the city can be a site for both policing and for politicizing asylum issues. In particular, we focus on the ways in which protesting asylum seekers embody borders and border control, making dis-located borders visible in spaces where citizens do not see them. The concept of “borderscape” is an example of the view on borders that sees bordering as a practice that disperses borders in physical and socio-political space. Moreover, we examine the mediated reactions of various agents, such as the Lutheran church, activists, politicians, and journalists, as well as the protesters themselves, focusing on visibility as social recognition. Our analysis of the hunger strike reveals the situated gaze of social actors. It shows how border struggles are situated within landscapes of politics of protection and politics of listening. ...
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