University of Oulu

Eeva-Kaisa Prokkola (2018) Geopolitics of Border Securitization: Sovereignty, Nationalism and Solidarity in Asylum Reception in Finland, Geopolitics, DOI: 10.1080/14650045.2018.1520213

Geopolitics of border securitization : sovereignty, nationalism and solidarity in asylum reception in Finland

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Author: Prokkola, Eeva-Kaisa1
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-04-16


The paper examines the recent security interventions at the northern Finnish-Swedish border crossing point in the town of Tornio, the particular focus being on the 2015 migration influx in which Finland received a tenfold increase in asylum applications compared with the previous years (~3000 → 32 476 asylum applicants). The resultant securitization of the Finnish-Swedish border and the organization of asylum reception practices, in which nongovernmental organizations played an important role, created tension between the Finnish and Swedish authorities, borderlanders, and within wider Finnish society. An empirical study of various materials (documents, interviews, social media debates and media reports) is used to examine the coexistence and intertwining of different border securitization practices and discourses. The analysis is structured around three story lines that disclose border securitization as multiple and aims to problematize the assumption that states, as entities holding sovereign authority, fully determine matters of border securitization. Firstly, the state intervention examined here occurred through and fully depended on collaboration with local authorities and nongovernmental actors. Secondly, nationalistic groups mobilized demonstrations against immigration and started independent street patrols in the name of security, throwing into question the effectiveness and authority of the state government in matters of border securitization. Thirdly, the discourses of the securitized Finnish-Swedish border reflect the wider solidarity crisis between EU countries with respect to shared sovereignty. The study complicates the understanding of border securitization as a straight forward state effort and provides a picture of a hybrid border securitization environment.

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Series: Geopolitics
ISSN: 1465-0045
ISSN-E: 1557-3028
ISSN-L: 1465-0045
Volume: In press
DOI: 10.1080/14650045.2018.1520213
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Funding: The research has been supported by the Academy of Finland’s Strategic Research Council and Multilayered Borders of Global Security research team (#303527, #303480).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 303527
Detailed Information: 303527 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Geopolitics on 16 Oct 2018, available online: