Remote Areas in the Mediterranean: A View from Europe’s Southern Borderland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter examines how the variable geopolitical dynamics of the EU’s border regime have affected the Mediterranean’s southern shore. I focus on one of Europe’s most controversial border areas: the city of Melilla, a territory of 12 km2 located in north-eastern Morocco under Spanish sovereignty since 1497. When Spain joined the Schengen Area in 1991, both Melilla and Ceuta, the two Spanish territories in North Africa, became the gatekeepers of ‘Fortress Europe’. This put Melilla at the centre of the EU’s political agenda, but was locally experienced with a sense of increased detachment and isolation. In this chapter, I explore ethnographically this general experience of marginality and how it is connected to the constitution of Melilla as an offshore border zone. I build on Edwin Ardener’s notion of ‘remote areas’ as a distinct and identifiable type of place to explain why the problem of identity is experienced with particular intensity in places like Melilla, and argue that this feeling of vulnerability evokes a larger constellation of relations, connections and disconnections across the Mediterranean region and beyond
Original languageFinnish
Title of host publicationLocating the Mediterranean : Connections and Separations across Time and Space
EditorsCarl Rommel, Joseph Viscomi
Number of pages24
Place of PublicationHelsinki
PublisherHelsinki University Press
Publication date2022
ISBN (Print)978-952-369-076-9
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-369-077-6, 978-952-369-078-3
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Fields of Science

  • 1172 Environmental sciences

Cite this