Winners of the 7th Border Criminologies Dissertation Prize

We are proud to announce the winners of the seventh Border Criminologies Masters Dissertation/Thesis Prize, who will receive £200 and £100 worth of Routledge books. 

Border Criminologies seeks to support early career researchers working on the intersections between border control and criminal justice. From a strong list  entries, the competition panel, consisting of academics from the Border Criminologies Network identified the following winners:


Anna Nardone, winner. "The Border Will Make a Man Out of You": Performing Militarized Masculinities at the Evros Borderland

headshot of Anna

Anna Nardone is a recent graduate of the International Security Master's program offered jointly by the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies and the University of Trento. She is mainly interested in migration, borders, and intersectional feminist approaches to the study of international security. Her undergraduate degree was in International Cooperation and Development at Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna.


The Evros borderland, named after the river that has been used to demarcate the border between Greece and Turkey, appears as a highly militarized and patrolled space, where different actors coexist and contribute to the protection of the border simultaneously. This border zone, which is still closely bound to its military traditions and history, has been increasingly integrated into the European border regime, turning into a theater of increasing violence and abuses against the people on the move.

By adopting a feminist approach to the study of borders, this research aims to unpack how the construction of militarized forms of masculinities informs the violent practices perpetrated on the people on the move at the Evros borderland. While Evros has been a subject of scholarly literature in critical border studies for what concerns pushbacks and detention, little to no attention has been paid to the gender constructions that underpin the militarization of this borderland and the resulting dynamics for the people on the move. This thesis contributes to the current debate by incorporating a feminist approach to the analysis of the border, to see how masculinities are constructed in a heavily militarized area like Evros and how these constructions create consequences on migrant bodies.

Through extensive fieldwork in Thessaloniki, I conducted qualitative research in line with critical and feminist methodologies using a grounded theory approach, enabling an understanding of the border management in Evros as a collective exercise in which army officers play an important role as strong and brave “guardians of the Borderland”. I argue that the intricate network of actors responsible for border management in Evros tends to interiorize and adapt highly hierarchical and strict standards praised in the army, including the exercise of authority, physical performance, emotional toughness, strict adherence to rules, as well as humiliation and threat through the use of firearms. As a result, people on the move are subjected to violence vis-a-vis the hostility of the Evros borderland, as they are constantly silenced, threatened, and subjected to physical and psychological abuse.


Moira Grant McLoughlin, runner up. "Stop the Border: Exploring the criminalisation of people accused of driving ‘small boats’ in the Hostile Environment"

headshot of Moira

Moira graduated with an MA from the NOHA program, a mobility course which she completed between the University of Groningen, University College Dublin, & the German-Jordanian University (2023). She also holds a BA with a Double Major in Social Anthropology & Law, Justice and Society from the University of King’s College & Dalhousie University (2018).

Moira carried out her Masters research alongside borderline-europe. Her research explores the interconnected criminalization of migration, solidarity, and facilitation. She identifies and questions structures of violence, borders and bordering practices, processes of illegalization', and dominant discourses, particularly those of the state. She continues to be involved in various activist networks, organizations, and communities acting to create more welcoming, safe, and supportive spaces and practices as well as to resist ongoing forms of violence and hostility, focussing on the experiences of migrant communities.

The criminalisation of boat drivers has emerged across European contexts as part of a wider project to block certain people’s mobility. This criminalisation is often justified by states as necessary for its (unproven) deterrent impact and as a method to ‘fight smuggling’. As states work to create a scapegoat for border violence including through the creation of ‘immigration crimes’, they purposely obscure the role of the border itself in creating the very conditions for this violence. I argue that the UK’s Hostile Environment can be understood as one such structure of violence. This thesis focusses on the impact of the introduction of the ‘crime’ of arrival, and thereby of the facilitation of this arrival, through the passing of the Nationality and Borders Act. My research findings show that while people are initially being charged for facilitation, they are often actually being convicted under the lesser ‘crime’ of arrival. Concerningly, people being charged in these cases include young people with open age disputes. While my research only shows a snapshot in time, it contributes to wider scholarship on an under researched and often hidden practice by exploring the criminalisation of boat drivers within the wider criminalisation of facilitation and solidarity, both in the UK and as mirrored in other contexts. It resists “seeing like a state” and rejects binary arguments of who is a ‘real criminal’ or not to instead question the very process of criminalisation itself. It is not that radical to call for an end to state structures of hostility and exclusion in favour of safe passage and free movement for all. There needs to be a shift from ‘stop the boats’ to rather ‘stop the borders’ with a focus on the need to free the Captains.