Apprehending border zones in their thickness – as useful margins inside which state deploy a bare power that captures migrants in physical, social, legal deaths – is a useful way to consider the device of these limbos of desubjectivation. The term ‘dissolution’ usually refers to the chemical process by which a solute incorporated in a solvent sees its components dispersed, so solute and solvent, because of their interactions, come to compose a solution which consecrates the parcellation of the dissolved substance. Henceforward, examining border zones as heterotopias of dissolution highlights the following legal process: when incorporated into the useful margins (solvent), migrants (solute) have their situation distinguished and their status differentiated; meanwhile, as far as margins and migrants are linked by connections and constructions, they constitute a situation (solution) that encapsulates the suspension and the deletion of migrants’ subjectivity, of migrants’ human rights (scattered substance). Considered as dissolution zones, borders show the domination apparatus states establish. The purpose of this communication is to expose a conceptual model of analysis relative to the power exercised upon migrants in the borders, inside the useful margins, where and when migrants are disciplined through their bodies, selves, status and fates. Observing thick borders underscores that they incorporate migrants, in order to control them by identifying and registering them – extraction –; they distinguish and differentiate between migrants, in order to select them according to their countries of origin or transit – classification – ; and they organise the distancing of migrants from their rights, in order to remove them if possible or to make them invisible when they cannot be deported – obliteration.
Marie-Laure Basilien-Gainche, Université Lyon 3