Journal Article

Ethics at the airport border: flowing, dwelling, atomising


This article contributes to the burgeoning literature on airports, addressing a current gap between literature that focuses on the cosmopolitical experience of the airport and that which focuses on the potentially dehumanising impacts of a technologized, securitised border by investigating the ethos of the space. We do not present an account of how the airport ought to work; rather, we consider what ethical relations and subjectivities are constructed, encouraged and made (im)possible in the airport space. We argue that the airport border assembles a variety of commercial, security and spatial technologies in areas of both ‘flow’ and ‘dwell’ which generate and privilege a particular type of ethical subject – the temporarily suspended, atomised individual. We begin with an understanding of space as produced through plurality and movement, and analyse how atomisation is produced and sustained before reflecting on the potentially dangerous implications of such processes.

Attached files


Bulley, Dan
Johnson, Heather L.

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


Year of publication: 2017
Date of RADAR deposit: 2017-12-14

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Related resources

This RADAR resource is the Accepted Manuscript of Ethics at the airport border: flowing, dwelling, atomising


  • Owner: Joseph Ripp
  • Collection: Outputs
  • Version: 1 (show all)
  • Status: Live