Plastic hospitality : the empty signifier at the EU’s Mediterranean border
Migration studies, 2019, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 340-361 [Global Governance Programme], [European, Transnational and Global Governance], [Cultural Pluralism]
DEBONO, Daniela, Plastic hospitality : the empty signifier at the EU’s Mediterranean border, Migration studies, 2019, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 340-361 [Global Governance Programme], [European, Transnational and Global Governance], [Cultural Pluralism] - http://hdl.handle.net/1814/63165
Retrieved from Cadmus, EUI Research Repository
Hospitality and hospitality-laden language feature highly among people working in or around structures of first reception in Italy and Malta, two countries at the European Union’s (EU) external border. This is peculiar because hospitality rarely features at first reception, which forms part of the state’s border system. Characteristically, security issues are prioritized, and the first reception system is managed by the member state’s security agents, in collaboration with EU and international security agents. In practice, first reception refers to the processes of identification, registration, and classification that irregular migrants go through after having crossed the border without authorization and, often, without identification. Drawing on long-term and multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in Italy and Malta, this article examines some of the uses of hospitality language by a spectrum of territorial borderworkers operating with state, non-state, security, humanitarian, and activist entities in the two countries that are the object of this study. Discourse analysis yields interesting insights into how the use of the hospitality paradigm and hospitality terminology in first reception is less about hospitality practices and more about power. It proposes that the hospitality paradigm be conceptualized as a Laclauian empty signifier, and therefore, as a locus of power.
Published: 11 May 2019; This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Cadmus permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/1814/63165
Full-text via DOI: 10.1093/migration/mnz015
Series/Number: [Global Governance Programme]; [European, Transnational and Global Governance]; [Cultural Pluralism]
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Initial version: http://hdl.handle.net/1814/53845
Version: Published version of EUI RSCAS WP 2018/22; Global Governance Programme-302