Affective bordering

Race, deservingness and the emotional politics of migration control

By Billy Holzberg

Affective bordering
Hardcover +
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526172303
  • Publish Date: Jul 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook -
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526172297
  • Publish Date: Jul 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-7229-7
    • Published Date: July 2024
    • Series: Rethinking Borders


    Affective bordering is a powerful exploration of the emotional politics of borders that demonstrates how racial and national boundaries are secured through the political mobilisation and unequal distribution of affect. Examining key events in the wake of the 'refugee crisis' in Germany, it traces how the initial hope and empathy of the long summer of migration of 2015 gave way to national anger, fear and shamelessness in the years following. Challenging the assumption that positive emotions like compassion necessarily work as a counter to negative emotions like anger or fear, the book reveals the racial grammars of deservingness that shape border governance today. Combining queer feminist theories of affect with postcolonial border and migration studies, Affective bordering offers a thought-provoking perspective on borders in today's world.


    A brilliant, original and indispensable book for today's world! Focusing on Germany, Billy Holzberg convincingly directs our attention to the centrality of affect in the politics of migration and borders - not just to policy or law. He disrupts common sense by showing how both negative and positive emotions such as empathy work to reproduce the racialization of the German nation-state. As one of the new leading voices on the intersections of migration studies and queer and transnational feminism, Holzberg compellingly shows that those interested in addressing the deadly violence of borders must expand our affective and political grammars towards discomfort - only then will we be able to imagine alternatives to nationalism and violence.
    Miriam Ticktin, Professor of Anthropology, CUNY Graduate Centre

    As Angela Merkel proclaimed that 'we can do this', Germany stood as an exception in Europe, and she made clear that rationality and emotions were not incompatible. Billy Holzberg's queer feminist reading, from Alan Kurdi's death to sexual violence in Cologne, powerfully focuses on the affects mobilized. From hope and empathy to anger and fear, it incisively reveals how, paradoxically, 'positive' as well as 'negative' affects jointly contribute to bordering, i.e. drawing a line between 'us' and 'them', subjects and objects of affects respectively.
    Éric Fassin, Professor of Sociology, Université Paris 8


    Introduction: Affective bordering and the racial grammars of deservingness
    1 Hope: 'Wir schaffen das' beyond the humanitarian border
    2 Empathy: Affective solidarity and the limits of German welcome culture
    3 Anger: The sexual politics of resentment after New Year's in Cologne
    4 Shame: Public shaming in the shadow of Holocaust guilt
    5 Fear: Great replacement ideologies as paranoid border politics
    Conclusion: Shifting grammars of affective bordering


    Billy Holzberg is Assistant Professor of Social Justice at King's College London

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