Situating border control: unpacking Spain's SIVE border surveillance assemblage

Fisher, D. X.O. (2018) Situating border control: unpacking Spain's SIVE border surveillance assemblage. Political Geography, 65, pp. 67-76. (doi: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2018.04.005)

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This article builds on the ‘practice turn’ in border studies by critically engaging assemblage theory as a means of unboxing European maritime surveillance. Through a case study of Spain's SIVE (Sistema Integrado de Vigilancia del Exterior) surveillance system, I tease apart the Guardia Civil's technocratic claims of omni-voyance by focusing on the daily interactions between border guards, vision technologies, rescue services, Moroccan forces, and the lively materials of the borderspace itself. I employ a literary narrative in order to expose the daily breaches of control as the guards and technologies contend with the non-human elements of the borderspace, as well as their own inability to remain vigilant. Far from offering unbroken control, therefore, I argue that the vision produced through SIVE is stuttered and fragmented through both human and technological flaws. I also draw on assemblage theory in order to trace the disparate actors being drawn into the border regime. I argue that these new actors are only ever partially encountered and incorporated, however, and that as a result the system's ability to incorporate also becomes its Achilles heel. The effect is a geography of the border that foregrounds the ‘little details’ of borderwork and the volatility of the borderspace itself – thus exposing the flaws behind a scopic narrative that claims unceasing vision and an unhindered reach.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fisher, Dr Dan
Authors: Fisher, D. X.O.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Journal Name:Political Geography
ISSN (Online):1873-5096
Published Online:26 May 2018

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