Accepted Paper:

Is the historic centre of Athens in a state of exception?  
Elia Vardaki (Technical University of Crete)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses the suspension of human rights of illegal migrants in Athens by conceptualizing the historic centre in terms of a symbolic space in a state of exception. It grapples with public and state discourse on illegal migration and the depoliticization of the current situation.

Paper long abstract:

Violence and the suspension of human rights masked in a discourse of security and law enforcement represent a medium by which democracy and sociopolitical stability is protected and/or reinforced. Illegal migration in this context is viewed as a threat to social and political security, while illegal migrants are stripped off their basic human rights. With Agamben's work as point of departure, this paper explores whether the historic centre of Athens constitutes a symbolic space in a state of exception in the context of the urban web, legitimizing police violence. Secondly, the paper analyzes both public and state discourse on illegal migration in Greece in light of notions of security and order, and it critiques political authority practices that depoliticize the current situation in the historic centre.

Panel W103
Sourcing/outsourcing state violence: concealment, legitimacy, sovereignty