Managing Border Deaths in Southern Italy: Negotiations and Ritual Practices

Auteur Daniela STAUFFACHER
Directeur /trice François Gauthier
Co-directeur(s) /trice(s) Michel Agier
Résumé de la thèse

Every year thousands of deaths are documented on the Central Mediterranean Route, the

irregularized migration route between Libya and Italy/Malta. Italy is hereby confronting

challenges of sepulchral and cultural nature the region has never experienced before. Local and

national agents are facing questions of political, legal, logistical, ethical and, not at last, religious

nature regarding the management of the dead.

The management of the dead is of particular interest for scholars of religious studies: The

unknown identity of the victims on the one hand, and the absence of relatives and friends on the

other hand, lead to confusion and arbitrariness in the measures being undertaken. This

deregulated situation then activates a nexus of different agents engaging in negotiations of how to

proceed with the dead. The output of these negotiations ultimately leads to either a) an increase of

religious and non-religious ritual practice, or b) a total absence of ritual practice.

This dissertation project aims to address the matter on two levels. 1) it explores the negotiationprocesses

by a) identifying the agents being involved and by b) illuminating the measures, norms,

practices, strategies and semantics being activated within the negotiations. 2) it examines the

ritual practices being performed.

Method The research implements the method of the multi-sited ethnography. Semi-structured

interviews and participant observations will be conducted on various sites on Lampedusa, Sicily

and mainland Italy.

Statut au milieu
Délai administratif de soutenance de thèse 2022