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Migrant Lived Experiences and Resistance to the Securitisation of Migration in Greece: The Modern ‘300’

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Dimitris SkleparisORCiD



This is the final published version of a working paper that has been published in its final definitive form by Greek Politics Specialist Group (GPSG), 2014.

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This paper explores overlooked dynamics relevant to the criminalisation andsecuritisation of migration, with Greece serving as a case-study. Reminiscent ofan heroic episode in ancient Greek history, where Leonidas and the Spartanswillingly stood to their inevitable death against the mass Persian army, about 300irregular migrants engaged in a 44-day hunger strike in January 2011, achievingsome concessions from the state. The paper draws on a set of face-to-faceinterviews with these migrant protesters, complemented by discourse analysis.Its aims are twofold: firstly, to analyse the impact of securitisation and of theeconomic downturn on the migrant experience; and secondly, to explore themigrants’ attempt to resist and react to their criminalisation through organisedprotest action.The first section sets the stage for the analysis by looking at the national contextand migration patterns. The second section discusses the migrants’ ownevaluations of their lived experiences and mobilisation. The third section thenreflects on the discursive strategies that migrant protesters themselves employedto influence migration discourse and policy. The analysis demonstrates that theprevalence of restrictive frames and policies on migration, predictably, increasemigrant insecurity, abuse and deprivation. Nevertheless, irregular migrants areable and willing to escape their invisibility, even temporarily, by challengingestablished frames, making strategic alliances and engaging in highly political,rational and ideologically defined protest action.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Karyotis G, Skleparis D

Publication type: Working Paper

Publication status: Published

Type of Article: Working Paper

Year: 2014

Publisher: Greek Politics Specialist Group (GPSG)