The gendered and racialized politics of risk analysis. The case of Frontex

Saskia Stachowitsch, Julia Sachseder
Content Type
Special Report
Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP)
This article develops a feminist postcolonial approach to risk analysis as an increasingly central security practice in the EU’s emerging border management and security regime. For this purpose, we theorize risk analysis as a sense-making practice embedded within colonial power relations. As such, risk analysis problematizes migrants and migration in gendered and racializedwaysthatmakethemamenabletobordermanagementandother, potentiallyviolentsecuritypractices,suchasdetentions,returns,surveillance, and Search and Rescue. In an exemplary frame analysis of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency’s (Frontex) risk analysis report 2016, we show how conceptualizations of risks and solutions by this key actor are informed by gendered and racialized framings of 1) chaos and violence, 2) exploitationoftheEUeconomicandwelfaresystem,and3)humanitarianism towards 'vulnerable'? migrants. With this study, we seek to strengthen feminist and postcolonial interventions into critical security studies on knowledge, power, and expertise. By conceptualizing risk analysis as political, this article pushes critical security theory beyond understandings of security as socially constructed and towards systematically unpacking the meanings of (in)security as implicated in the reproduction of gendered and racialized power relations.
Security, Migration, Post Colonialism, European Union, Feminism, Borders, Risk
Political Geography