Anna Papoutsi

The border in the city: an ethnography of everyday bordering in Athens

Supervisors: Dr Nando Sigona, Dr Adam Ramadan

This project is an ethnography of everyday bordering and bureaucratic practices in Athens, Greece. It looks at the changing meanings and materialisations of borders and the way these have developed as a result of recent political decisions (namely the 2015 migration crisis and the EU-Turkey Statement) which are turning the country from a largely transit space to a space of containment and entrapment of migrants. The dislocation of the border into European territory creates new encounters between migrants, activists and enforcement authorities, mostly in cities. These encounters give rise to a social space which is imbued with legal, political and moral meanings: subjects are labelled (migrant, refugee, illegal), assigned moral value (deserving and undeserving) and subjected to different border and mobility regimes. This social space also has its own materialities -the detention centre, the asylum service, the camp but also the hospital and the squat that houses migrants- forming the spatial arrangement of the border in the city. The study’s objectives are three: to understand how this border space has been constructed, both historically but also socially and politically; to identify the key actors and the interactions between them that give rise to the border assemblage; and to document and analyse specific resulting bordering practices.


  • MA Geography (King’s College London)
  • MSc Science and Technology Studies (SPRU – Sussex)
  • BA Philosophy of Science (University of Athens)

Research interests

  • Border studies
  • Migration
  • Mobilities
  • Temporality


New Borders book coverVradis, A., Painter, J., Papada E. and Papoutsi A. (2018) New Borders: Migration, Hotspots and the European Superstate. London: Pluto Press.

Papoutsi, A., Painter, J., Papada, E. and Vradis A. (2018) “The EC hotspot approach in Greece: creating liminal EU territory”, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies: Special Issue.

Painter, J., Papoutsi, A., Papada, E. and Vradis, A. (2017) “Flags Flying up a Trial Mast: Reflections on the Hotspot Mechanism in Mytilene”. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

Christodoulou, Y., Papada, E., Papoutsi, A. and Vradis A. “Crisis or Zemblanity? Viewing the ‘Migration Crisis’ through a Greek Lens”, Mediterranean Politics.