Police Dog

Between race and animality: European borders, ‘colonial dogs’, and the policing of humanity

This article was written by Tarsis Brito
This article was published on

In this short video abstract, author Tarsis Brito discusses the key arguments from his new Review of International Studies article - 'Between race and animality: European borders, ‘colonial dogs’, and the policing of humanity'. 

Want to know more? You can read the full article at DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0260210524000032

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Europe’s (post-)colonial borders have been recently marked by a profusion of cases of violence against racialised migrants with the use of police dogs, following a continual process of integration of canines into the border apparatus of violence. Engaging simultaneously with the recent post-colonial literature on border and migration security and the incipient domain of animal studies, this article investigates the colonial and racial origins and effects of this phenomenon. Contextualising the weaponisation of dogs at Europe’s borders today within a much longer history of racial violence, the article shows how canines have been systematically deployed by colonial and white supremacist powers against racialised bodies as tools to enact and secure racial order. Attentive to the ways in which modern humanness has been predicated upon its removal from the food chain, the article argues that the use of police dogs at Europe’s borders operates by reinforcing the non- or less-than-human status of racialised migrants by marking them as ‘animal-like’ and ‘edible’ bodies. Conceptualising this method as ‘the politics of edibility’, the article then shows how the exposure of migrants to the threat of ‘dog bites’ functions as a form of reinforcing racial hierarchies in a Europe traversed by racial anxieties.

Image from Altino Dantas  on Unsplash