Comparing to Dissect Border Walls Policies. Analyses from Israel, Arizona and the Mediterranean

Dr. Damien Simonneau

Beyond controlling mobility of undesirables, the function of the building up of “fences” on territorial boundaries is also to reassure fenced-in citizens. By analyzing the cases of Israel and the USA, my research investigates how the fenced territory becomes the place of a public performance aimed to reassure Israeli and US citizens. The starting point of the demonstration is that such defense policies nourish social mobilizations (in Israel from 2001 in favor of a “security fence” in the West Bank; in Arizona from 2010 in favor of a “border fence” with Mexico). I rely on analyses of representations, actions and security practices of such mobilizations to investigate national and geopolitical specificities. Beyond these specificities, I compare three analogous political operations by pro-fence movements in their political systems. First, they construct situations of mobility and presence of undesirables as problematic. Second, they securitize these situations as a security issues calling for a military response. Finally, they diffuse pro-fence framing by collective and dissenting actions against governments. Thus, they contribute to maintain a consensus over the role of the military in the construction and the management of a “public problem” of mobility in these two societies. In conclusion, I will insist on research avenues to dissect border fence policies around these three operations, especially in order to dialogue with the bordering of the Mediterranean.