The primary objective of this project is to understand how new types of humanitarian spaces are created and carved out outside, on and inside the geographical borders destined to govern mobility. This involves three secondary objectives:
- To examine and analyse the humanitarian and security interfaces in the European borderlands, and how they mutually influence each other.
- to explain the role borders play in the constitution of humanitarian spaces globally, as a means to better understand the creation of humanitarian spaces in the European borderlands.
- finally, to contribute to a Political Sociology of Humanitarianism, as a thematic sub-field of International Political Sociology.
The external borders of the European Union (EU) have come under
increased scrutiny in recent years, especially with what has become known
as the 'refugee crisis'. New situations of humanitarian suffering have
emerged, outside, along and inside the European borders, in different
ways related to the difficulty or impossibility for some individuals to cross
This has led to the emergence of new 'humanitarian spaces'
alongside the border security agencies with a mandate to control the
borders, as well as inside Europe. These new 'humanitarian spaces' differ in
many ways from how they have been understood traditionally in the global
borderlands. The HumBORDER project examines these new humanitarian
spaces, and how they in different ways are due to and how they relate
to border regimes and the politics destined to govern mobility. It takes a
global scope to understand the role of borders in humanitarianism, and
the European Union and the 'refugee crisis' as a specific case to study the
new issues that arise. It does so through a three-pronged methodological
- It examines the role of borders in constituting humanitarian
crisis, and how state vs. humanitarian governance responds to them;
- It takes a three dimensional approach to the borders, through its land,
sea and air spaces, as a means to understand the way the EU borders
function (socio-politically and legally), and how these create different forms
of humanitarian suffering, responsibilities and responses; and
- It studies
specific humanitarian responses to the 'refugee crisis', by established
humanitarian organizations and new volunteer initiatives that have emerged,
through case studies in Greece, France and Norway.
By investigating these issues through a multidisciplinary approach, at the
core of contemporary humanitarianism, the HumBORDER project will
contribute to further developing the emergent thematic sub-field of a Political
Sociology of Humanitarianism