Schwarzes Mittelmeer, weißes Europa

Kolonialität, Rassismus und die Grenzen der Demokratie


  • Jeanette Ehrmann Giessen


Migration, Grenze, Kolonialität, Rassismus, Demokratie

Key words:

Migration, Borders, Coloniality, Racism, Democracy


English version

Abstract: In recent years, the passage across the Mediterranean Sea has become one of the deadliest migration routes in the world. While the member states of the European Union pursue a military and discursive policy against the so-called “refugee crisis” that securitizes borders and even suspends and criminalizes the sea rescue of refugees, normative political theories of migration often depict border crossings as a political or moral problem as well as a crisis for established democracies. Against the trope of the “refugee crisis” and the tacit normalization of borders in much of current political theory debates on migration and refugees, this article develops a political theory of the border from the perspective of postcolonial critique and Black critical thought. It introduces coloniality and race as previously neglected analytical categories into political theory to theorize the colonial present of border regimes and the racialization of borders. It then draws on the Black Mediterranean — an epistemology that originates from the Black radical tradition and is currently used to discuss African migrants’ routes to Europe — to develop an alternative register for a political theory of the border. The epistemology of the Black Mediterranean is unfolded in three respects: first, it allows for the European border regime to be reconstructed as a racialized politics of borderization; second, it highlights the postcolonial ambivalences and racialized dimensions of a politics of pity and solidarity with refugees; third, it understands refugee movements as resistant political imaginations and practices that reveal the contradictions of hegemonic conceptions of democracy and belonging. Finally, the article suggests that the epistemology of the Black Mediterranean offers a critique of the dominant crisis-of-democracy narrative while enabling self-reflective interrogation of the cognitive limits of political theory itself.



Ehrmann, J. (2022). Schwarzes Mittelmeer, weißes Europa: Kolonialität, Rassismus und die Grenzen der Demokratie. Zeitschrift für Praktische Philosophie, 8(1), 419–466. (Original work published 1. Juli 2021)



Schwerpunkt: Politische Theorien der Grenze