The “real” transformation of migrant smuggling in the time of COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, allegations of migrant smuggling networks evolving, changing, and undergoing drastic transformations as a result of the pandemic are starting to emerge. Claims of this kind are not new. In fact, assertions of smuggling undergoing Darwinian transformations tend to follow the aftermath of border closures, ramped-up immigration enforcement …

Waiting for the Smuggler: Tales Across the Border

In September 2015, the image of three-year-old Alan Kurdi lying on a beach after drowning while trying to reach Greece from Turkey sent waves of  indignation around the world. A few weeks later, equal moral outrage was generated by the suspicions that Abdullah Kurdi, Alan’s father, could have been one of the smugglers who that …

Navigating the blurred boundaries of aid. On the pitfalls of post-humanitarian encounters

This post is part of a series linked to the workshop “Assessing the Anthropology of Humanitarianism: Ethnography, Impact, Critique”. —————————————— The critique of humanitarian aid is not a prerogative of academic scholars. Aid workers know too well the limitations, risks and threats of large-scale aid work; they have questioned in detail the efficiency and legitimacy …

Border walls and fences: an interview with Antonio De Lauri

There seems to be a current international preoccupation with border walls as a form of security and protection – with people both advocating and protesting their construction. However, walls and barriers are not a new phenomenon. What is the continuing historical factor motivating the construction of border barriers? Throughout global history border barriers have had …

Inquiring and writing about migration and smuggling: an interview with Peter Tinti

Luigi Achilli (L.A.): You belong to the most prolific reporters covering conflict, security, human rights, and organized crime issues. I read in your personal website that, in 2013, Action on Armed Violence included you in its list “Top 100: The most influential journalists covering armed violence.” What is it about violence, crime, and conflict that …