Research project

In the Making of New Europe: Embodied Politics of Borderlands (2021-2023)

About the project

Introduced to the European Agenda on Migration in May 2015, the hotspot approach was presented to tackle what was seen as uncontrollable, thus, threatening migrant mobility at Europe’s southern borders. The hotspots have become EU borderlands, where people on the move are placed in camps to be hosted, sorted, and detained (Vradis et al. 2019). In Greece, five islands - Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros, Kos - are designated as hotspots and became a “laboratory” of EU migration management policies.

The conditions of the overcrowded camps in the past, such as Moria, that lacked access to basic needs, such as clean water, sanitation, food, healthcare, and education on the islands, have been scrutinised for systematically violating the rights of people on the move. Anew “closed and controlled” camps are constructed on the five Greek hotspot islands by the collaboration between the Greek government and the EU Commission. These “prison like” camps illegally detain some of its residents and continue to violate their rights.

Such border and camp spatialities determine what happens inside the barbed wires and disproportionately affect the people on the move, but “camp thinking” also affects the production of political geographies outside the camps (Minca 2015: 80) and imposes restrictions on how citizens living in these borderlands, who are deemed both essential and expendable, are governed to justify the migration policies. The research thus studied how the material landscapes of the Greek hotspot islands have changed since 2015. Also, the research focused on the island of Lesvos, explored the impact of EU and Greek migration policies on the local residents and how locals perceived and experienced the changes in their everyday spaces after 2015.


  • Begüm Başdaş, Postdoctoral Researcher, Centre for Fundamental Rights (2021-2023)