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Unlike the other case studies, Portugal is neither the main destination for refugees and new migrants, nor a target of terrorist attacks. Its peripheral status in terms of the securitization processes that surrounded migration within the EU over the past decade however does not mean that it has been immune to said processes.

The country’s connection to key arenas in securitization processes (ie EU and NATO), the position of Portuguese media, which are in constant dialogue with European polítical and media actors, that often reproduce European media and political agendas, and the fact that it was one of the European economies more severely hit by the financial crisis have contributed to the presence of migration and asylum securitization scripts in national media and political debates.

This central case study aims to examine the ways in which  national debates and policy approach and translate pivotal events namely the so-called “refugee crisis of 2015/6” and how they recycle securitization discurses around immigrants, asylum seekers/refugees and “internal others”, as well as reinvent them in light of national media and political agendas. Specifically gendered and racialized tropes in media hegemonic and counterhegemonic narratives will also be analyzed.

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Germany: Cologne

The sexual assaults reported during the 2015 New Year’s Eve in Cologne and other German cities prompted heated debates in Germany about migration, asylum, multiculturalism, Islam, feminism, the ethics of media reporting, the securitization of public spaces, and the criminal law relating to sexual offences.

Since then, a rise in immigrant assault was also registered along with a declining social support to asylum law. endurecimento das atitudes sociais perante a lei de asilo. Some sexual crimes perpetrated afterwards by refugees reactivated and reinforced narratives already widely disseminated on Muslim men as particularly dangerous sexually and examples of degenerate and archaic masculinities. The media have decisively contributed to the racialization of sexual violence and to the Islamophobic and xenophobic undertones of moral panic surrounding said events.

This case study sets out to examine the German media coverage of the Cologne sexual assaults and other sexual crimes perpetrated by refugees. It situated the debates triggered by these events in the broader context of fear discourses, characterized by imaginaries of racialized sexual identity and the mobilization of nativist tropes in the process of reinstating ethnomationalist borders for the imagined community. It also analyses the impact of said events in Germany and its interconnections to European and transnational narratives on migration, asylum and racialized perceptions of crisis and crime. A key focus of this research is the diverse feminist contributions to the current German debates on this topic.
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France & United Kingdom

Both countries have a long exposure to the risk of terrorism and with experience in the area of counterterrorism. In France, the 2015 Paris attacks were perceived as a landmark in the country’s attitudes towards national security. The moral panic generated by these events also derived from the perpetrators’ profile: most of those involved were French and Belgian citizens, which contributed to the countries’s rising awareness of the risk of internal terrorism.

In the United Kingdom the 2017 terrorist attacks (Westminster, Manchester arena, London Bridge and Finsbury Park) reinforced the moral panic associated to migration. This was aptly cultivated by some media and political actors who portrayed refugee and migrant populations in the event of the so-called refugee crisis of 2015/6 as “bogus”, “criminals” or “potential terrorists” and highlighted the role of British nationals in the perpetration of these terrorist attacks as well as others, namely at the hands of those who joined ISIS in Syria and other locations. The focus on women and girls joining ISIS was a recurrent feature of said media coverage.
This case study aims to examine the gendered and racialized tropes present in hegemonic media accounts on French and British women involved with ISIS/Daesh and analyse the implications of these in terms of consolidation of stereotypes, hierarchies of suffering and  re/activation of securitization discourses and policies (ie. the 2016 French proposal of nationality withdrawal  to citizens involved in terrorism and the 2019 British decision to strip Shamima Begum of her nationality).
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Italy: Lampedusa and the Mediterranean

As semiotic spaces/polysemic borders, Lampedusa and the Mediterranean represent the hyper-real (or dysfunctional) workings of border control. As a site of biometric and (re)definition of the European ‘imagined community’ (Anderson), Lampedusa and the Mediterranean are the confluence of a set of colour/border lines with ancient and more recent origins: the North-South divide (continental Europe vs. Mediterranean Europe), the South-South divide (Mediterranean Europe vs. Mediterranean Africa), the South-East (Mediterranean Europe vs. the Middle East) – constructed from a set of discourses that refer to multiple “colonial archives” (Ann Laura Stoler) / “national archives” (Gloria Wekker) and are racialized, gendered and sexualised.

This case study aims to analyse the media representations of overlapping local, national and international colour lines and European borders and their interaction in the construction of a system of definitions – which fixes the meaning of “life” (Judith Butler) – and distinctions – between lives that are “disposable/dispensable” and those that “should be protected” (Talal Asad and Achille Mbembe) – within the framework of what Talal Asad has called “small colonial wars”. By local, national and international colour lines, we mean the cultural, social and geographical axes to which a particular colour (racialized identities) is assigned by European agencies involved in the control and management of transnational migration. By European borders, we mean those ‘unstable fictional borders’ established by European governments with a view to maintaining Europe within a self-image that identifies Europe and the European Union as the landmarks of civilisation, whiteness and justice in the North; in turn, this same ‘constructed’ border produces the reasons for the moral panic allegedly engendered by those who violate the border that delimits the space of the European ‘imagined’ (and racialized) community. This reflection interconnects ‘texts’ and ‘contexts’, regardless of whether the texts are those articulating discourses of ‘national security’ and ‘risk management’ measures, or cultural materials forging the imaginary of threat, monstrosity and moral catastrophe.

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