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Research Projects

TREATING PEOPLE AS OBJECTS: Ethics, Security and the Governance of Mobility

ESRC funded project under the ‘Ethics and Rights in a Security Context’. Oct. 2014-Sept. 2016: Total Grant £191,544

This research seeks to critically analyse the ways in which efforts to control the movement of people across borders are becoming increasingly entangled with efforts to control the movement of objects across those same borders, and the ethical implications of this entanglement. More specifically the project aims to explore the extent to which current efforts to control mobility result in security practices and policies that treat people purely as objects, rather than as rights-bearing subjects. By paying particular attention to the moral risks embedded in controlling the movement of people and objects, this research aims to provide a strong empirical foundation for the development of rigorous ethical assessments of state border security practices and governance. Our research therefore aims to identify the ethical trade-offs between state protection and security on the one hand, and the treatment of people as rights-bearing individuals on the other. Exploring this tension will offer insight into how legitimate the legal, political and ethical norms governing mobility are and whether the security practices at borders are appropriate, proportionate and effective.

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