Dina Krichker: Violent Frontiers – Narrating the Spanish Moroccan Border in Melilla

Border violence remains a profound issue for millions of migrants all over the world. Attempts to resolve this problem have often been reduced to scaling down the quantity of border crossers through securitisation practices. However, this strategy proves to be a failure, not least in the case of Melilla, a small Spanish enclave in North Africa. The city of Melilla is surrounded by a 12 km long iron fence that separates the Spanish and Moroccan territories, and is the most southerly border of the European Union. In 2016, this border became an epicentre of clashes between the flows of migrants and border security forces, which attracted much media attention in the context of the European migrant crisis. My PhD research seeks to explore institutionalisation of violence in Melilla. In order to do so, firstly, the history of violence on the border will be traced, and secondly, the current manifestation of violence in the border space will be analysed. To achieve these objectives, the study employs two key methods: an in-depth archival research, and ethnographic observation. The choice of methodology was conditioned by both theoretical value and practicability of the methods. The study speaks to the wide array of scholarly literature on borders and violence. In particular, it seeks to draw on a “Border Biographies” approach introduced by Nick Megoran, and to advance it by foregrounding people’s narratives. This conceptual switch will allow a more humanistic understanding of the border violence. Ultimately, this research advocates for construction of peaceful frontier environments, as scrutiny of the border violence’s origins will equip us for more effective steps towards achieving this goal.

Diana Krichker

Dina Krichker is a PhD candidate at the National University of Singapore in the Department of Geography. Prior to her doctoral studies, she obtained her Master’s degree in Geopolitics from King’s College, London after an undergraduate education in Russia. Her research interests lie in the area of border studies, and her doctoral project examines the proliferation of borders in the urban space of Melilla, the small Spanish enclave in Morocco.


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