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Intimate Encounters in EU Borderlands: Migrant Maternity, Sovereignty and the Politics of Care on Europe’s Peripheries

Objective

EU Border Care is a comparative study of the politics of maternity care among undocumented migrants on the EU’s peripheries. Empirical analysis of personal and institutional relations of care and control in the context of pregnancy and childbirth will support an innovative critique of the moral rationale underpinning healthcare delivery and migration governance in some of Europe’s most densely crossed borderlands in France, Greece, Italy and Spain.
Unlike other categories of migrants, undocumented pregnant women are a growing phenomenon, yet few social science or public health studies address EU migrant maternity care. This subject has urgent implications: whilst recent geopolitical events in North Africa and the Middle East have triggered a quantifiable increase in pregnant women entering the EU in an irregular situation, poor maternal health indicators among such women represent ethical and medical challenges to which frontline maternity services located in EU borderlands have to respond, often with little preparation or support from national and European central authorities.
Grounded in long-term ethnographic fieldwork in maternity wards located in French Guiana and Mayotte (Overseas France), the North Aegean and Attica (Greece), Sicily (Italy), and Ceuta and Melilla (Spain), my project will trace the networks of maternity care delivery in peripheries facing an increase of immigration flows, and characterised by structural social and economic underinvestment. My team will investigate migrant maternity from three interlinked research perspectives: migrant women, healthcare delivery staff, and regional institutional agencies. Empirical and desk research, combined with creative audio-visual methods, will document migrant maternity on EU borderlands to address wider questions about identity and belonging, citizenship and sovereignty, and humanitarianism and universalism in Europe today.

Field of science

  • /medical and health sciences/health sciences/public and environmental health
  • /medical and health sciences/clinical medicine/obstetrics and gynaecology/obstetrics/childbirth
  • /social sciences/sociology/social problems/migration
  • /social sciences
  • /social sciences/sociology/governance
  • /social sciences/sociology/governance/public services

Call for proposal

ERC-2014-STG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-STG - Starting Grant

Host institution

ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - UNIVERSITA DI BOLOGNA
Address
Via Zamboni 33
40126 Bologna
Italy
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 228 256,90

Beneficiaries (2)

ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - UNIVERSITA DI BOLOGNA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 228 256,90
Address
Via Zamboni 33
40126 Bologna
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE

Participation ended

Italy
EU contribution
€ 1 270 206,10
Address
Via Dei Roccettini 9
50014 Fiesole
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments