Bridging the Mediterranean without papers

Tunisian francophone illiterature's representation of irregular immigration in the age of globalisation

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2 Citations (Scopus)


My essay illuminates the plights of those who live on the southern shore of the Mediterranean under the antagonistic forces of globalisation, according to which the free movement of capital between Europe and North Africa is matched by a criminalisation of immigrants from the southern bank. My analysis of the discrepancy between the borderless economics and the bordered movement of people explores the representation of clandestine immigration in Fawzi Mellah’s Clandestin en Méditerranée/Clandestine in the Mediterranean (2000), which depicts illicit passages from North Africa to Europe. Criticising European democracies’ containment of the heralded dynamism of the global age and their diffusion of a discourse feeding fear about migrants, I show that globalisation has turned into a ‘globalization of punitiveness’ [Barker, Vanessa. 2012. ‘Global Mobility and Penal Order: Criminalizing Migration, A View from Europe.’ Sociology Compass 6 (2): 113–121]. My exploration of the migrants featured in the text demonstrates that globalisation’s failure to achieve the spatial decentralisation ideal on which it has based its flat-planet premise makes undocumented immigration the last resort of those to whom the Schengen Area closes its borders. My spatial analysis of the paperless migratory enterprise reads the irregular crossing as an attempt to construct defiant identities that resist the global structure of domination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)980-994
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of North African Studies
Issue number6
Early online date13 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • globalisation
  • Paperless migration
  • space
  • Tunisia

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