The Vitality of Borders: Migration Through and Bordering Practices in Switzerland

Author(s) : Jana Häberlein

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« Taking the borderscape of Chiasso, Switzerland, as a case study, this chapter investigates concrete bordering practices of the Swiss Grenzwachtkorps (Swiss Border Guard—SBG) in the context of travellers trying to enter Switzerland. It takes a close look at the specific bordering practices, points to inherent problems and asks about their particular meanings after the long summer of migration in 2015. The empirical findings are theorised in a critical Border Studies’ perspective concerning the multidimensionality of borders and contextualised in the Swiss Border Guard’s changing relationship to EUropean border regimes. The chapter argues for a global perspective on analysing exclusion and filtering practices that nonetheless play out in local, concrete interactions between border guards and travellers. Theorisations of migration to, through and from Switzerland need to be contextualised on much broader scales than merely focussing on the Swiss nation-state; rather, they need to be embedded in a European and global context of migration and mobility in order to understand more accurately what constitutes (Swiss) borders, where they are actually located and what they mean for the different people involved. »


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