This chapter examines the problem of how 'missing' migrants - in this case, migrants who died attempting to cross the Aegean Sea - constitute a novel (legal, political and moral) category. European securitization institutions refuse legal responsibility for such deaths; they lack administrative procedures for identifying and/or returning the bodies. Officially, the deaths at sea are pure 'accidents'; the Aegean thus becomes one of the EU's unacknowledged, largely non-territorialized, deadly borders. European securitization regimes are, however, indifferent to the dead bodies. They impose a biopolitical differentiation between dead and living: alive, migrants are a threat, a subject of surveillance without even the right to have rights (Agamben); dead, they are nothing. Locally, however, things are different. People on islands where migrants' bodies have washed ashore form subversive discourses: they give the dead both recognition and status. Locals bury the migrants who have gone out of time (so to speak), provide them with sites and memorials that give them place in both space and memory, and thus challenge the European border system by providing the migrants with retroactive, legitimate life.
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book shows the undeniable contribution and the limits of the biopower theory in the understanding of dead bodies en masse. It talks about the fact that criminology has for so long ignored mass crime, even though the link between the corpse and the criminal is one of the fundamentals of the discipline. The book addresses the issue of the practical and symbolic treatment of corpses by societies affected by mass violence. It shows how working ideologies along with historical legacy and geographical landscapes determined the disposal of the bodies. The book examines the simultaneously diplomatic and medicolegal nature of the activities of the French Search Commission for Corpses of Deportees in Germany. It also draws on German archives to describe the various modalities of treatment of corpses in Croatia.