University of Oulu

Prokkola, E.-K. (2021). Borders and resilience: Asylum seeker reception at the securitized Finnish-Swedish border. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 39(8), 1847–1864.

Borders and resilience : asylum seeker reception at the securitized Finnish-Swedish border

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Author: Prokkola, Eeva-Liisa1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: SAGE Publications, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-02-25


The past decade has witnessed a shift from “open borders” policies and cross-border cooperation towards heightened border securitization and the building of border walls. In the EU context, since the migration influx of 2015–2016, many Member States have retained the re-instituted Schengen border controls intended to be temporary. Such heightened border securitization has produced high levels of anxiety among various populations and increased societal polarization. This paper focuses on the processes underpinning asylum seeker reception at the re-bordered Finnish-Swedish border and in the Finnish border town of Tornio. The asylum process is studied from the perspective of local authorities and NGO actors active in the everyday reception, care and control practices in the border securitization environment enacted in Tornio in 2015. The analysis highlights how the ‘success’ of everyday reception work at the Tornio border crossing was bound to the historical openness of the border and pre-existing relations of trust and cooperation between different actors at various scales. The paper thus provides a new understanding of the significance of borders and border crossings from the perspective of resilience and highlights some of the paradoxes of border securitization. It notes that although border closures are commonly envisioned as a direct response to forced migration, the everyday practices and capacities of the asylum reception at the Finnish-Swedish border are themselves highly dependent on pre-existing border crossings and cross-border cooperation.

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Series: Environment and planning. C, Politics and space
ISSN: 2399-6544
ISSN-E: 2399-6552
ISSN-L: 2399-6544
Volume: 39
Issue: 8
Pages: 1847 - 1864
DOI: 10.1177/23996544211000062
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
520 Other social sciences
Copyright information: Prokkola, E.-K., Borders and resilience: Asylum seeker reception at the securitized Finnish-Swedish border, Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space (39, 8) pp. 1847-1864. © The Author(s) 2021. DOI: 10.1177/23996544211000062