A Scientific Initiative on/for Border Abolitionism

Node 03 - Experimental


February - September 2023

Italy - Mazara del Vallo

Sicilian Strait

Mazara del Vallo. The destination of an old migration route and a node for Tunisian People on the Move.

This document stems from a cooperation between the SOLROUTES and the MOBS research projects. It is focused on the Sicilian Strait as a crucial place for the deployment of migration routes across the Mediterranean maritime space. Accordingly, the choice to locate our fieldwork in Mazara del Vallo – which is one of the most important fishing ports in Italy and the Central Mediterranean Sea – was since, on one hand, it is a significant destination for the migration coming from the Tunisian shores, and, on the other is the base of a fishing fleet which, at least until a decade ago, was one of the main civil actors of rescue at sea.

The purpose of this document is to provide an overview of research activities carried out under the two projects in Mazara del Vallo. From a methodological perspective, the research work carried out was based on a common ethnographical work which involved both the authors, in Mazara del Vallo, for the whole month of July 2023.

Overall, more than thirty people collaborated to the research, among people interviewed and chat happened during informal encounters.

Among the persons interviewed were an anthropologist, a biologist, a politician, a publisher, a former admiral of the Italian Coast Guard, three social workers, three trade unionists, three ship-owners (or former ship-owners), and one former captain of a fishing vessel. Additionally, two Tunisian women were interviewed individually (five in the form of a group), along with four Tunisian youths working in restaurants and one young individual working as a fisherman. The fieldwork is not yet close, and the realisation of a GNW to produce a participative docu-film is expected to happen in the next months.


N. Chaouch,
(in collaboration with) E. Fravega (MOBS)
Download Report