Border militarization, technology and crime control

Authored by: Dean Wilson

The Routledge Handbook on Crime and International Migration

Print publication date:  September  2014
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415823944
eBook ISBN: 9780203385562
Adobe ISBN: 9781135924331


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Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the demise of Cold War bi-polarity borders have, far from disappearing, become progressively more fortified and militarized. No longer dividing the West from the East, their rationale has shifted to new targets – most specifically to the exclusion of a range of cross-border threats which have formed a ‘security continuum’ in which questions of borders, terrorism, crime and migration have become intertwined (Huysmans 2006). If the threat of nuclear Armageddon has receded, for many security professionals it was the visualization of a new desolate planet of failed states and guerrilla movements and warlords trafficking diamonds, cocaine and heroin from a chaotic ‘third world’, in tandem with the spectre of ‘a massive flux of people fleeing these countries with the associated risk of importing their political disputes into the first world’ which materialized as a grim surrogate (Bigo 2006: 387). While few academic commentators would now subscribe to the view that ‘everything changed’ after September 11, it did, nevertheless, puncture the notion that threats could be isolated from the Global North, and sequestered within what – viewed through the metropolitan imaginaries of security professionals – appeared as the dystopian wild zones of the Global South.

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