Chapter 6: The ambivalent drivers of migration governance relations between the EU and Tunisia
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This chapter analyses EU–Tunisian migration relations. It develops an actor-centred perspective on migration governance, analysing how actors at different levels are playing a role in driving ‘hierarchical’ and ‘horizontal’ migration relations. Hierarchical relations are understood as the formal and vertical political relations. These retain importance, although they are found to take place within a context that is being changed by extensive informal and horizontal interactions between governance actors across the two shores. The chapter analyses the way in which actors in these different levels, understood as situated agents, define the challenges with which they are confronted. It finds that securitised political frames define understandings and action of actors operating in a ‘hierarchical’ setting. However, other actors escape such political pressures, operating in a more ‘horizontal’ setting where alternative understandings of causes and consequences of migration emerge, framed as a normal output of socio-economic transformation in the EU and Tunisia, rather than as an emergency to be curbed.

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