Engaging Bodies as Matters of Care: Counting and Accounting for Death During Migration

In: Border Deaths: Causes, Dynamics and Consequences of Migration-Related Mortality, edited by Paolo Cuttitta and Tamara Last, Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, 2020, pp. 85–102.
Amade M’charek, Julia Black
Publication Year
Thematic Area
Families / Forensics
DNA Analysis / Family Needs / Identification / Management of the Dead / Migration
Open access

This chapter attends to the often-neglected bodies of migrants who do not make it to their destination alive. It addresses initiatives where the bodies are attended to at the population level, i.e. practices of counting, as well as at the individual level, i.e. the burial, registration and potential forensic identification of individual deceased bodies. We introduce the notion ‘matters of care’ to analyse modes of knowing. We argue that caring for these bodies with dignity and respect – through counting, listing and mapping the dead as well as through attempts at identifying the individual bodies – produces proximity with the dead and accountability for deadly border management regimes.