International Affairs
1 July 2017 , Volume 93, Number 4


Claire Spencer

Dr Claire Spencer

Senior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme & Second Century Initiative


The Mediterranean Sea has traditionally been seen as a transit route rather than a border zone, yet the upsurge in migration from the Mediterranean’s southern shores into Europe in recent years has given rise to a new array of policing, monitoring and humanitarian missions in and around the Mediterranean Basin. Stretching far into Europe’s and Africa’s hinterlands, an ‘industry’ of smugglers, traffickers and border guards has grown up around circumventing or protecting the barriers and border regimes that now exist on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea. This article reviews recent works charting the diverse and far-reaching phenomenon of migration over the past decade, and the implications of the Mediterranean’s ‘borderlands’ for a European policy on migration that is still seeking coherence.