Borders and Migration

Ethics at the airport border: Flowing, dwelling and atomising

This article contributes to the burgeoning literature on airports, addressing a current gap between literature that focuses on the cosmopolitical experience of the airport and that which focuses on the potentially dehumanising impacts of a technologized, securitised border by investigating the ethos of the space. We do not present an account of how the airport ought to work; rather, we consider what ethical relations and subjectivities are constructed, encouraged and made (im)possible in the airport space. We argue that the airport border assembles a variety of commercial, security and spatial technologies in areas of both ‘flow’ and ‘dwell’ which generate and privilege a particular type of ethical subject – the temporarily suspended, atomised individual. We begin with an understanding of space as produced through plurality and movement, and analyse how atomisation is produced and sustained before reflecting on the potentially dangerous implications of such processes.

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Volume 36 Issue 2