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Humanitarian Border Workers in Confrontation with the Swedish State's Border Making Practices: "The Death of the Most Generous Country on Earth"

Journal article
Authors Abby Peterson
Published in Journal of Borderlands Studies
ISSN 0886-5655
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Language en
Keywords borderwork, civil disobedience, co-production, humanitarian assistance, securitization, Sweden, volunteers
Subject categories Sociology


We most often talk about state bordering practices: those activities engaged in by states that constitute, sustain or modify borders between states. While the role of states is central in the study of migration processes this, however, underestimates the roles that non-state actors play in borderwork. State bordering practices are to a large degree performed in interaction with other types of non-state actors, processes and organizations. In focus for this study are the state’s border making practices in confrontation with the borderwork of humanitarian volunteers, which brought into sharp relief the underlying tension between the Swedish state’s humanitarian commitments and securitization. In this paper I will discuss the role of ordinary people in border practices on the basis of media sources, relevant websites and secondary sources collected in Sweden in autumn 2015 during what has been called the ‘refugee crisis’.

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