Border Policing and Emotions

Coordinators: Maartje van der Woude, Lisa Borrelli, Amalia Campos Delgado and Irene Vega


While departing from the stance that borders and the measures put in place to monitor those crossing borders are deeply racialized, gendered and ethnicized, this thematic group aims to further unravel the complex dynamics of border control and border policing by looking at it from the angle of emotions. Applying the lens of emotions does not entail to justify coercive border policing practices, but rather sheds light on the complex and convoluted realities and dilemmas of border agents and the possible spaces for resistance within border control regimes. By giving voice to the experiences and stories of those caught up in the re-production of border assemblages we intend to seek out the deep stories of state agents involved in border policing practices. These latter have received limited scrutiny until whereas they might offer an important entry into the demystification of often as monolithic appearing border regimes and agencies. In so doing, we turn our gaze to border regimes across the globe and to policing practices deployed either at the physical borders, borderlands, and within the territories of the nation-states.

In seeking to promote transdisciplinary research focusing on border policing and emotions, we explicitly look to create collaborations between researchers and artists to uncover, analyze and share the deep stories of those being involved in coercive border policing practices and those being subjected to these practices and to create changes for exchange and empowerment.

We will publish themed posts on the Border Criminologies blog and arrange online panel discussions bringing together academics, artists, policymakers, civil society organizations and border police officials. Furthermore, we will develop a podcast series “Deep Stories from the Borderlands” for which we will interview practitioners, professionals and people crossing borders. Through collaboration with other research networks we also aim to organize themed panels during conferences (e.g. the ASC, ASA, ESC, LSA, ISA etc.) as well as methods-oriented workshops on, amongst other things, researching border police practices but also on combining artistic and academic methods. Please reach out to Maartje van der Woude ( for more information and to join this group.