Survival and Witness at Europe's Border

The Afterlives of a Disaster

by Karina Horsti

Survival and Witness at Europe's Border focuses on one of the most mediatized migrant disasters in Europe. On October 3, 2013, an overcrowded fishing boat carrying Eritrean refugees caught fire near Lampedusa, Italy, where 368 people died. Karina Horsti shows with empathy and passion how this disaster produced a kaleidoscope of afterlives that continue to assume different forms depending on the position of the witness or survivors.

Pasts and futures intersect in the present when people who were touched by the disaster engage with its memory and politics. Horsti underscores how the perspective of survival can envision a way forward from a horrific unsustainable present.

Survival and Witness at Europe's Border develops the concept of survival to rethink border deaths beyond the structures and processes that produce the murderous border and constitute the focus of critical migration studies. It demonstrates how the process of survival transforms people and societies. Survival is productive, Horsti argues, shifting the focus in migration studies from apparatuses of control to emphasize the agency and subjectivity of refugees.

Karina Horsti is Government of Finland/David and Nancy Speer Visiting Professor in Finnish Studies at the University of Minnesota. She is the editor of The Politics of Public Memories of Forced Migration and Bordering in Europe.

Survival and Witness at Europe's Border



  • publisher
    Cornell University Press
  • publisher place
    Ithaca, NY