Margarita Lipatova

P.O. Box 11 03 51

06017 Halle / Germany

Margarita Lipatova

Main Focus

border practice, technologies of governance, biopolitics, humanitarianism, precarity, resistance

Regional Focus

European borders

Doctoral Dissertation Project

Bordering Europe. Resistance and governance in Greek refugee camps
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Richard Rottenburg, PD Dr. Karin Polit
Conferring University: Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

This research is an ethnography of European border. It examines the complex forms of mobility control exercised on the external borders of the European Union, namely Greece. I approach how the spaces of encampment are shaped by tactics of governmentality, such as surveillance, biopolitical control, securitization. To enrich the description of refugee camps as an “exclusionary practice”, I expose the dynamics of antagonism and conflict, negotiation and resistance that are present in Greek camps. Namely I examine how the spaces of transit are re-invented as the spaces of contestation and political expression, and how the practice of European asylum management is engaged with and acted upon by the newcomers.

Greece turned to one of key spectacles and symbols of what has come to be known as the “European refugee crisis”. The position of Greece as a state of the first entry, i.e. the point of “irregular” arrival of the newcomers, determines it as a site of border, a microcosm of the European migration regime, defined by the dynamics of the asylum policy and migration management. The discourses of threat and human trafficking fight as well the notions of crisis are used to justify the securitization and militarisation of the EU response to migration, as it is highly visible in this context. Those measures include increased surveillance, recruitment of warships and helicopters for border waters patrol, refugee camps construction, and a range of bilaterial agreements with non-European states that aim to prevent migrant flows and to contain them in the area beyond the EU external borders.

On the one hand, this research examines the ways how the practice of migration regime with the mentioned technologies of security and confinement is enacted within spaces like "hotspots", "transit centres" and detention camps, - sites that are the material manifestations of border. I will look at how the mechanisms of governance and bio-politics exercised within those spaces are informed by the criminalisation of migration and discourses of illegality. On the other hand, I will analyze the experience of encountering the border by those who “cross” it. Namely I will investigate how the newcomers, while entering a specific regime characterized by governance, militarism and humanitarianism adjust and respond to it, - demonstrating their agency and expressing their political and social interests. Focusing on how the spaces of transit and confinement are re-invented as spaces of contestation, resistance and struggles for political visibility, I seek to critique the representation of border management (and ultimately migration management) as the issue of humanitarian administration.

How are the spaces of border (re)produced? Which role do the humanitarian and military bodies play in the maintenance of those spaces? Being in the state of governed liminality what are the newcomers´ strategies for emancipation, agency and self-determination? What are the tactics to respond to the resistance strategies within the spaces of border? And what are the implications for future policies aiming towards a more sustainable and humane management of people on the move in the European Union?


2014. Epistemic Violence in Creating Mindfulness Measurement Scales at Arbeitsgemeinschaft Ethnomedizin (AGEM) Forum


Member of the Network on Migration and Border Studies (Kritnet)

Curriculum Vitae

Since November 2017
PhD Candidate IMPRS REMEP MPI for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, Germany

October 2016 –September 2017
Research Assistant, Department of Anthropology, South Asian Institute, Heidelberg, Germany    

July 2016 – September 2016
Water Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) Officer, People in Need, Thessaloniki, Greece

March 2016 – May 2016
Executive Assistant, Impact Hub Munich, Germany

August 2015 – March 2016
Communication and Events Manager, Impact Hub Munich, Germany

July 2014–December 2015
Research Assistant, Cluster of Excellence Asia & Europe, Heidelberg, Germany

March 2015–May 2015
Research Intern, Center on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

April 2014–1 October 2014
Student Assistant, Department of Cultural and Religious History of South Asia, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg, Germany


07/2016 Postgraduate International Summer School "Cultures, Migrations, Borders" Participant University of the Aegean, Greece

M.A. Medical Anthropology: Health and Society in South Asia, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg, Germany

9/2008 – 6/2012
B.A. Asian and African Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

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