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  • Remote Areas in the Mediterranean: A View from Europe’s Southern Borderland

    Laia Soto Bermant

    Chapter from the book: Rommel C. & Viscomi J. 2022. Locating the Mediterranean: Connections and Separations across Space and Time.


    This chapter examines how the variable geopolitical dynamics of the EU’s border regime have affected the Mediterranean’s southern shore. I focus on one of Europe’s most controversial border areas: the city of Melilla, a territory of 12 km2 located in north-eastern Morocco under Spanish sovereignty since 1497. When Spain joined the Schengen Area in 1991, both Melilla and Ceuta, the two Spanish territories in North Africa, became the gatekeepers of ‘Fortress Europe’. This put Melilla at the centre of the EU’s political agenda, but was locally experienced with a sense of increased detachment and isolation. In this chapter, I explore ethnographically this general experience of marginality and how it is connected to the constitution of Melilla as an offshore border zone. I build on Edwin Ardener’s notion of ‘remote areas’ as a distinct and identifiable type of place to explain why the problem of identity is experienced with particular intensity in places like Melilla, and argue that this feeling of vulnerability evokes a larger constellation of relations, connections and disconnections across the Mediterranean region and beyond.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Soto Bermant, L. 2022. Remote Areas in the Mediterranean: A View from Europe’s Southern Borderland. In: Rommel C. & Viscomi J (eds.), Locating the Mediterranean. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33134/HUP-18-3

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

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    Published on July 6, 2022


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