Theses Master's

Mapping Violence Along the Balkan Route: The Tensions Between Humanitarian Assemblages, Securitization Policies, and the Experiences of Refugees and Migrants

Charney, Laura

Using ethnographic data from interviews I conducted with migrants and refugees in Serbia, this thesis explores the ways that humanitarian projects and securitization deals enable violence at the EU-Balkan borderlands. Through examining and contrasting the framing of migration management policies that emphasize anti-smuggling and anti-trafficking with the lived experiences of refugees and migrants, I point to the inconsistencies in human rights discourses as they are employed within the refugee regime. Rather than locating the violence of migration with a foreign smuggler, as normative migration policies tend to do, I argue that the violence of migration along the Balkan Route is located in three key localities: through state consent and humanitarian facilitation of human smuggling, at the EU border through pushback policies and detention centers, and through the everyday violence of living without rights. My research reveals that the gradual replacement of human rights with humanitarianism perpetuates a state of rightlessness for migrants and refugees, which complicates where human rights violations in the context of migration actually occur. It will become evident that the intersection of humanitarian projects and securitization deals subject migrants and refugees to social, economic, and political vulnerabilities.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Abu-Lughod, Lila
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
August 24, 2020