Scale in motion? Rethinking scalar production and border externalization

Cobarrubias, Sebastian (2020) "Scale in motion? Rethinking scalar production and border externalization" in Political Geography, vol. 80.

This paper signals how border externalization can inform geographical debates about scale and in turn, foster research on how scale intersects with recent forms of border and migration control. It interrogates what scales are being produced and struggled over, pointing to the contingency of scalar work in border externalization, specifically through the EU Migration Routes Strategy. Debates on scale and changing borders are worked through to arrive at the notion of “itinerant scale”, in order to highlight a very distinct spatial imaginary and implementation of border work. Instead of sitting at the edges of nation-states, staying in designated places for long, or pushing through some sort of region imagined as a buffer or frontline, borders are envisioned and designed to be mobile devices and reiterated along shifting migratory routes. This complex scalar production unfolds through a mix of policies, cartographies, surveillance infrastructures and atypical institutional agreements, reaching and acting simultaneously at local, national and regional levels, aiming at the management and contention of suspicious bodies on the move.

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