Chapter 6: Beach encounters: migrant death and forensics as an art of paying attention
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This chapter proposes novel ways to attend to the complexities of migration and migrant death in the Mediterranean. Conceptualizing migrant death as conceptualized as ‘border death’ (Last & Spijkerboer 2014) has been productive for focusing attention to the militarization and externalization of Europe’s borders. Yet here I suggest shifting our attention from borders that kill to resources that foster life and livelihood. I propose forensics as an art of paying attention as a method to attend to materialities in practice and as a way of unearthing hidden, and not seldom (neo)colonial, relations. I draw on empirical material collected in the southern Tunisia harbor town Zarzis, in particular the cases of phosphorus and sea sponges. My brief analysis of these vital elements, materialities that are crucial for sustaining live or producing death in their absence, demonstrate the complicated relations between migrant death and sources of life.

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