Europe's Refugee 'Crises' and the Biopolitics of Risk

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This paper provides an analysis of the legal and policy foundations of the different approaches adopted by the European Union (EU) in relation to the 2015/2016 and 2022 refugee “crises”. Its main objective is to show how a risk-based biopolitical framework can bridge the gap between EU institutional narratives and the critique of Europe’s racialised governance schemes. The two “crises” have been largely shaped by a perceived need to manage risk, yet this has produced very different institutional responses, in ways that concealed their racialised dimension. Analysing how risk has been understood in the two contexts, the paper shows how their legal and policy foundations (re-)produce a racialised differential scheme. Amidst ongoing debates on reforming EU migration and asylum law, the paper also shows how the current proposals further consolidate this scheme.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Risk Regulation
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Biopolitics
  • EU migration and asylum law
  • race
  • Refugee crisis
  • risk
  • Russo-Ukrainian war


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