Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Javnost—The Public 24:3 (2017), pp. 251–266.

doi: 10.1080/13183222.2017.1307570


Copyright © 2017 EURICOM; published by Routledge/Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


This article uses critical approaches to examine the ways in which dissenters have objected to the European Union’s current “politics of rescue.” The authors argue that the term “hospitality” has been a key term in liberal theorizing about mobility since the Enlightenment, but that various neo-liberal “pull” theories, worries about securitization and the militarization of rescue efforts in the Mediterranean have converged in ways that have turned Europe into an “inhospitable” place for foreigners. The authors use three short case studies—of maritime captains’ and sailors’ rescue efforts, academic critiques of FRONTEX, and vernacular reactions to the iconic Kurdi image—to put on display the contradictions that exist when illiberal decisions are made by EU communities that are supposed to be democratically governed by hospitality principles. They also argue that the focus on the social agency of “traffickers” deflects attention away from the structural and colonial facets of these migration “crises.”