chapter  5
20 Pages

Asylum and the discourse of terror: The European ‘security state’


Since the emergence of the twenty-first century’s so-called war on terror,2

European asylum legislation and policies have increasingly been framed within an ‘existential domain … that distributes and organizes fear by interrelating discrete phenomena in ways that allow connotations of insecurity to be circulated among them’.3 The discourse of terror, indeed, appears to have sealed transnational crime, terrorism and asylum into what may be described as a hermetic security continuum. In an effort to discern how such a situation has arisen, my investigation begins at the borders of the European Union, for it is here that the full force of European security measures is most directly manifest, in both rhetoric and practice. The border is where the dynamic of inclusion/exclusion that lies at the heart of the discourse of terror is created through everyday procedures and processes that identify and categorize ‘alien’ sources of insecurity, and, by so doing, transform highly vulnerable individuals into a collective force of danger.