Lorena Gazzotti


Dr Lorena Gazzotti is the Lucy Cavendish Alice Tong Sze Research Fellow and will be based at CRASSH during the period of her Fellowship.

My work explores the containment of people deemed “dangerous” to the security of late liberal societies. I mainly focus on the Spanish-Moroccan border as a space of inquiry and on border control as an analytical frame to investigate the emergence of new tools to contain marginalised and racialised populations at the frontiers of inequality.

I am currently working on turning my doctoral thesis into a monograph, provisionally titled “Immigration Nation. Development, Humanitarianism and Migration Politics in Morocco”. Based on almost a year of fieldwork, the project explores the rise of Sub-Saharan migrants as beneficiaries of the aid industry in Morocco. I analyse how aid-funded non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and International Organisations (IOs) have emerged and encroached into the Moroccan migration governance landscape since the mid-2000s, and how the ‘aid-ification’ of migration governance merges with situated dynamics of neoliberal and authoritarian reordering. I contend that development and humanitarian interventions sustain the transformation of Morocco into an “immigration nation” by providing the discursive, financial and political resources necessary to nurture the transition of Morocco into a laboratory of migration control between Europe and Africa.

During my fellowship at Lucy Cavendish College and CRASSH, I’ll also start a new project on the control of child mobility in the Spanish enclave of Melilla. I’ll explore how the tension between geographies of remoteness, infrastructures of neglect and international human right duties transform the border city in a charged political space.


I obtained my PhD in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge in 2019. Before Cambridge, I completed a BA and MA in Foreign Languages at the University of Bologna, where I benefitted from the financial and pastoral support of the Collegio Superiore. I held visiting positions at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and at the Centre Jacques Berque pour les Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Rabat. During my studies, I have also worked as a seasonal agricultural worker, as an ice-cream vendor, as an administrative assistant, and as a research consultant at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).


Gazzotti, L., 2019, Deaths, Borders, and the Exception: Humanitarianism at the Spanish–Moroccan Border, American Behavioral Scientist, Special issue on Deaths at the borders: Revisiting the debate in the light of the Euro-Mediterranean crisis. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764219882990

Gazzotti, Lorena, 2018, From irregular emigration to radicalisation? Fragile borders, securitised development and the governance of Moroccan youth. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Gazzotti, Lorena, 2017, Local governance, civil society and migrants’ support to local development: perspectives from Morocco, in Lacroix, Thomas and Desille, Amandine (eds.), International Migrations and Local Governance: A Global Perspective, Palgrave MacMillan


Alice Tong Sze Research Fellow


September 2019 - September 2022