Politics Talk: Alison Mountz, “The Death of Asylum in the Enforcement Archipelago”
In this talk Professor Alison Mountz explores contemporary politics of asylum through the lens of offshore border enforcement and more specifically, the detention of migrants and asylum-seekers on islands.
Through topological forms of containment, the island is reproduced as a spatial form throughout the enforcement archipelago. The island is staged not only as a material platform for detention, but as an isolating force where exceptionalism engulfs people, creating islands within islands. The paper draws on research conducted on Australia’s Christmas Island, Italy’s Lampedusa, and US island territories of Guam and Saipan. These sites are used to inhibit human migration and paths to asylum. They also serve as key nodes in transnational activist networks designed to counter the isolation of remote detention and connect people located within and beyond detention facilities with use of technologies such as mapping and social media.
Alison Mountz is the Canada Research Chair in Global Migration at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and Geography and Environmental Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada.