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Michael Gordon (Canada)

February 1, 2023 - July 31, 2023

Michael Gordon is a Research Associate at the International Migration Research Centre (IMRC) at Wilfrid Laurier University. His research broadly surrounds irregularized migration and the externalization of European border controls, with a particular focus on the acts of solidarity through the work of civil society Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. These research interests coalesce around the theoretical intersections between sovereignty, solidarity, forced migration and borders at the supposed margins of the Global North.

Michael holds a PhD in International Relations from McMaster University and an MA in Global Governance from the University of Waterloo. Currently, he serves as a Co-Editor of Refuge: Canada's Journal on Refugees

In looking at grassroots organizations and the spatial politics of the sea, Michael explores the unique and fluid dimensions of the Mediterranean Sea as a dynamic and contested borderscape. This research analyses the tension between the enactment of solidarity with people on the move alongside broader state efforts to externalize border security and criminalize solidarity. Examining the invocation and operation of solidarity at sea illuminates emergent trends around bordering, mobility, and citizenship as migrants and civil society confront the state security apparatus. This borderscape is enacted through contentious NGO acts of solidarity with migrants at sea as grassroots organizations challenge the appropriation of the natural environment as a border control mechanism. His research highlights how these political acts of rescue expose the violence of state borders, while simultaneously enacting solidarity with people on the move as an actively anti-racist, justice and rights seeking movement. Michael’s work bridges the opportunity to write about these movements and resistance efforts, with direct involvement in these struggles for rights, recognition, and freedom of movement, in solidarity with people on the move. Much of this research is encompassed within his dissertation project titled Solidarity and Resistance at the Borders of Europe: Civil Society Search and Rescue Operations in the Mediterranean Borderscape