Ágnostoi: Greece and the forensic bordering of Fortress Europe

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This article explores migrant disappearances and border deaths at the Greek borderlands through the notion of forensic bordering. Based on fieldwork in the Evros region, Athens and its surroundings, and on the island of Lesvos, I argue that disappearance and non-identification in the event of death are effectively border violence by other means. Three forms of symbolic and political post-mortem border violence are then explicated: the act of disappearance, the act of non-identification, and the act of denying proper mourning. Crucially, this article unpacks the underlining logic that, if migrants from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East are not supposed to cross the border in the first place, their existence and, ultimately, their equal humanity can be similarly denied in death. If the forensic sciences are generally perceived positively as means to provide answers, closure, accountability, and truth, forensic bordering seeks to do the exact opposite, rejecting accountability and employing silence as a deterrence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-28
Number of pages22
JournalSuomen antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Disappearances
  • Border Violence
  • European Union
  • Forensics
  • Greece
  • Migration

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2


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