Charlie Pearson: “Applying Critical Security Theory to Military Rescue Operations in Times of Humanitarian Crisis: How EU Irregular Migration Policy Has Transformed in the Modern Political Sphere”

In Students by General Account


International policy towards irregular migration has seen a new initiative enacted with the intention of easing pressure on borders, increasing border security and lessening the number of irregular migrants successfully making border crossings. Military rescue operations have become a normalised approach during the 2010s in deflecting vast numbers of irregular migrants attempting border crossings. While there exist studies into the activities of such operations, there has been little in the way of academic attempt to explain the creation of this policy transformation. Furthermore, there has been little application of international relations theory to developing an explanation for the governmental motivations for such an initiative. This research combines the theoretical framework and methodology of the Copenhagen and Paris Schools of Critical Security Theory to identify the key considerations in determining causation for this policy shift. Using Operation Sophia as key case study (the EU’s response to Central Mediterranean border crossings), this research analyses textual and linguistic resources, such as policy documents, from a Copenhagen based approach to determine the construct of security in the formation of Military Rescue Operations. Additionally, utilising the Paris approach – observation of Operations Sophia in action, as well as the conducting of interviews achieves insight into the motivators for such initiatives. Ultimately, I will uniquely combine two theoretical approaches, demonstrating their ability to collaborate and contribute to the wider studies of critical security theory and global migration policy formation.