The Securitisation of Migration in Greece: Mapping the Evolution of Securitising Discourses between 1991-2021

21 March 2023 | | English


slideshow image Lesbos, Greece. September, 30 2015. Refugees arrive on a boat from Turkey. REUTERS.


International migration has come to be perceived as a matter of national and international security. Stemming from global inequalities, instability or conflict, population movements are often constructed as a security threat. Concerningly, this process often coincides with the rise of right-wing populism, which frequently revolves around anti-immigrant rhetoric.

This study sets out to map the evolution of securitizing discourses applied to migration in Greece between 1991 and 2021, as the country was faced with two distinct ‘waves’ of incoming migration. By concurrently analyzing parliamentary debates, opinion and statistical data, this study finds that changes in contextual factors affect the chosen discourses of securitisation. It traces how the elite discourse in Greece evolved in parallel with shifting socioeconomic circumstances, and changes in the origin and scale of migration flows. The present study also adds to existing literature on securitisation theory by taking a longitudinal approach, and viewing securitisation as a long-term process of creating meaning – rather than a single speech act. This allows for a more comprehensive understanding of securitization as a dynamic process. Finally, it adds to existing studies of migration in Greece by considering the entire 30-year period, and identifying points of continuity and change.

This study received the first prize at the 2020-2021 Best Master’s Degree Dissertations awards organised by the Aula Mediterrània Programme.