Documenting Immigration Detention in Greece : A Continuum of Extreme Violence and Complicity

Fili, Andriani and Tyler, Imogen and Kostka, Joanna (2023) Documenting Immigration Detention in Greece : A Continuum of Extreme Violence and Complicity. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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While all eyes are fixed on the humanitarian emergency at Greece’s numerous border locations and refugee camps, the thousands who are administratively detained have been, for many years, largely overlooked. Despite the scale and inhumanity of detention practices, immigration detention in Greece has rarely been subjected to close scrutiny. This is the first comprehensive study of the Greek immigration detention system. As such, it provides a picture of immigration detention across time and space, dating back to the beginning of 90s. Furthermore, as it builds on in-depth research of the system since 2011, as well as my involvement in the field of detention in a range of roles, this thesis is a rare ethnography of sites, which have never been researched before. It draws together a large amount of empirical data, including: more than 950 informal conversations with detainees and staff, 5 in-depth unstructured interviews with ex-detainees (including life-histories); more than 70 semi-structured interviews with detainees and a number of actors (e.g., detention staff, NGO workers, policy-makers, charitable and volunteer workers, political activists and journalists); and detailed fieldnotes. It seeks to understand why and how Greece ended up creating and nurturing such a monstrous institution by exploring in detail the mechanisms through which the detention system in Greece has been insulated against any possible threats to its survival and thriving; thus, deliberately allowing for a continuum of institutional racism and harmful practices. Yet, in attempting to find hope in bleakness, it engages with the issue of resistance and its effects on the shape of detention facilities, building an abolitionist reading of these spaces. To conclude, the thesis argues that immigration detention centres, as presently constituted, are not inevitable, insisting that the only moral response to mobility, must always be cage free.

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14 Mar 2023 18:00
Last Modified:
22 Jul 2024 23:51