The Infrastructure of border regime: Neocolonial subjugation of life in modern democratic societies.
In 2015, the European Union’s border regime witnessed a paradigm shift in managing migrant mobilities due to the so-called ‘migration crisis’. This change involved the implementation of digital technologies, such as databases and biometrics, to ‘socially sort’ migrants and refugees, as well as the establishment of Registration and Identification Centres (RICs) to enforce restrictions while enabling movement beyond traditional containment measures. Interoperability became a crucial component of control and governance, as EU databases were interconnected to generate new data, process asylum applications, and limit cross-border movement, particularly in Greece. The incorporation of advanced technologies allowed the border regime to transcend temporal and spatial limitations, enabling greater fluidity and penetration into refugees’ daily lives and experiences. This thesis seeks to critically examine this perceived novelty through a postcolonial lens, positing that the deployment of such technologies and governance strategies primarily extends historical colonial legacies and perpetuates power imbalances between the Global North and South. Drawing upon Ann Laura Stoler’s ‘Imperial Ruins’ and Mbembe’s concept of ‘necropolitics’, the thesis scrutinises the (re)emergence of colonial and imperial practices, which consequently generate death in life conditions, predominantly by controlling individuals’ mobility through space and time. This study contributes to the ongoing discourse within the social sciences by offering an unfiltered understanding of the enduring colonial legacies shaping contemporary migration and border management in the European Union.