Masters Thesis

“De-/securitizing” during a time of crisis: analyzing Italy’s and Germany’s narrative

The purpose of this thesis is to examine Italy’s and Germany’s contrasting, discursive and physical responses of today’s “European refugee and asylum-seeking crisis.” While some argue that Europe is a full-fledged, securitized garrison, others argue that it is liberalizing and embracing cosmopolitan liberal ideals. This thesis argues that the European Union is doing both. Particularly, it dissects both Angela Merkel’s and Germany’s desecuritization narrative as well as Matteo Salvini’s and Italy’s securitization narrative vis-a-vis the “European refugee and asylum-seeking crisis” between 2016 and 2019. Italy’s liberalism crisis has led to the securitization of refugees and asylum seekers; in contrast, Germany’s spreading of cosmopolitan liberalism had led to the desecuritization of refugees and asylum seekers. The purpose of examining these two approaches is to help us better understand the geopolitical divergences within the European bloc. This thesis develops from the Copenhagen School and supplements their existing de/securitization theories with proximization theory. Last, via both contextual and narrative analyses, this thesis also examines identity(s) (i.e. German-ness/Italian-ness), and how ontological, physical, cultural, or economic (in)securities engender the de-/securitization of immigrant bodies.