Population mobility and multidimensional borders

Angela Paparusso, Università di Roma "La Sapienza"
Federica Mazzarelli, Università di Roma "La Sapienza"
Cristina Giudici, Università di Roma "La Sapienza"
Raimondo Cagiano de Azevedo, Università di Roma "La Sapienza"
Elena Ambrosetti, Università di Roma "La Sapienza"

The recent happenings in the Mediterranean area have brought to a massive migration outflow from north Africa, and in the first months of 2011, over 40.000 people have reached the European shores, arriving in Lampedusa. These numbers, together with the media communication, gave the public perception that north Africa’s migration, has had its main impact in Europe. It is instead to be said, that this number, represents just a small part of the enormous amount of refugees that have left Libya in these months: over 720.000 migrants according to IOM have left the country until 7 October 2011, not considering the non registered outflows. The majority of the outflow, is then a south-south migration to the neighborhood countries and basically to Tunisia (over 40%) and Egypt (around 32%). On these basis, the study aims to provide an overview of this recent phenomenon analyzing the population mobility through the Arab Spring and distinguishing, from the country of departure, the direction and the demographic characteristics of the flows, according to IOM, UNHCR and other available international data. For a more complete overall view, the study will analyze the information published, during this period, by the major north African media. Measures will have to distinguish, on the total flow, the physiological number of migrants that would have left the region even without the revolutions. The research will also highlight Europe’s political incapacity of covering such an unexpected flow of migrants, due to a weak migration control regime basically working through bilateral agreements, and will discuss on the complexity of border definitions: borders are not only physical demarcation lines, but also invisible and conceptual boundaries that create delimitations between different groups within the same political realities, or ethnic and cultural barriers which bring to the conflict between national security and respect for human rights.

Presented in Poster Session 3

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