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Boat arrivals and the “threat” to Italian national security: between a “moral panic” approach and the EU's failure to create a cohesive asylum-seeking policy
journal contributionposted on 2017-01-01, 00:00 authored by Riccardo Armillei
Italy is increasingly a major destination for asylum seekers arriving by boat. In this context, the construction of a threat as “moral panic”, the idea of “national insecurity,” have been used by politicians to justify the implementation of “emergency” measures towards them. The aim of this study is to investigate the way so-called “boat people” are constructed as a pervasive threat to Italian national security. By doing so, it argues that the adoption of highly restrictive measures should be interpreted as the government's own incapacity to address this issue and to conform to its obligations under international human rights law, rather than resulting from the urgency of the situation itself. This paper will also place the Italian case in the context of European Union (EU) policy framework on asylum seekers. Thus, it will explore in a critical manner the literature emanating from the EU and its grandstanding purpose and failure to impose a normative understanding and cohesive polity on the matter of the asylum seekers. Ultimately, the lack of a truly European approach has impacted on the failure of the Italian government to address this issue.