GOSSIP Research Group Conference Presentation: Towards a (Co)Relational Border? Affectual Experiences at Nordic Borders

Lewis John Dowle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


International migration continues to rise, resulting in the reification of (and resistance to) sovereignty. Cross-border movements of migrants raise issues of identity and citizenship, scrupulously ordering bodies into dehumanised categories based on corporeal potentialities at the border. Scholars have written of the polysemic and amorphous nature of borders (Balibar, 2002; Van de Velde & Van Naerssen, 2011), but have only recently turned towards the promising field of affectual geographies for migration studies (Chouliarak, 2017; Di Feliciantonio, 2017). The European ‘migration crisis’ of 2015 provides a sober reality to the challenges posed by an increasingly (b)ordered world system and the emergence of a ‘European deathscape’ (De Genova, 2017). The many borders of Scandinavia have served as a ‘flashpoint’ in recent years due to its strategic location as Schengen’s external border. This paper critically analyses the place of Müller’s (2015) more-than-representational theory in migration and critical border studies, focusing on the relational and interactive experience of bodies at/as the border. The complex understandings of sovereignty, territory, and citizenship are then explored with particular reference to the Scandinavian borderland. Constitutively constructed, the diverse (co)relational encounters between the body and the border manifests a place of reciprocity which varies for different bodies across space and time. The dehumanising discourse enacted through the increasingly securitised border is then critiqued before theoretical advances regarding the (co)relational border are presented. The paper concludes with an invitation for further scholarship on the (co)relational border regarding the role of affectual geographies in migration and border studies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGOSSIP Research Group - University of St Andrews
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2018


  • Borders
  • Migration
  • (Co)relationality
  • Structuration Theory
  • Nordic
  • European Migration Crisis


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