University of St Andrews


Lewis J Dowle

Photo of Lewis Dowle


Supervisor:  Dr Sharon Leahy, Dr Mike Kesby & Dr David McCollum


Research Title

Theorising the Border: Migrants, Borders and Emotional Encounters


The events of the European migration ‘crisis’ of 2015-2016 left an indelible mark on the continent, particularly evident within the Nordic countries of Sweden and Denmark. Despite the Danish Government’s adoption of increasingly austere immigration policies, Sweden has long carried the allure of ‘Swedish Exceptionalism’ due to its welcoming welfare state. Many individuals during the ‘crisis’ sought asylum in Sweden due to such appeals but had first to pass through the heavily b/ordered ‘Nordic Corridor’ of Denmark. As a result of Sweden receiving the highest total number of migrants per capita across Europe during this time, the far-right ‘Swedish Democrats’ gained increasing popularity, climaxing with 17.5% of the total vote in the general election of September 2018. Sweden’s turn to the right represents the ‘death of the most generous country on earth’, carrying with it significant ramifications for how borders and migrants interweave and overlap in Northern Europe and beyond in both theory and practice. Lewis' research seeks to examine this complex nexus in detail, beginning with a re-theorising of how we understand borders and their relationship with the 'migrant'.         


Lewis is funded through the Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences (SGSSS) on a 1+3 pathway within Human Geography. Following the completion of his Masters, he officially began a PhD at St Andrews in September 2018 under the supervision of Dr Sharon Leahy, Dr Mike Kesby and Dr David McCollum. Alongside being shortlisted for the international Undergraduate Awards in two categories, Lewis has presented a paper in New Orleans at the American Association of Geographers (AAG) in April 2018 in a session entitled, 'Animating Migration Theory'. His interests include borders, migration and the role of emotional geopolitics, particularly in relation to the European Migration Crisis in Nordic Europe.

Recent publications

Conference Presentation
  • April 2018 "Towards a (Co)Relational Border? Affectual Experiences at Scandinavian Borders", GOSSIP-Research Seminar, University of St Andrews.
  • April 2018 "Towards a (Co)Relational Border? Affectual Experiences at Scandinavian Borders", AAG Annual Meeting, New Orleans. Session: 'Animating Migration Theory', hosted by Francis Collins and Sergei Shubin.