Skip to main content

Degrees and Honours

PhD in Development Studies,University of Cambridge; BA and MA in Foreign Languages, University of Bologna.


Lorena is the Lucy Cavendish Alice Tong Sze Research Fellow and will be based at CRASSH during the period of her Fellowship. Her research and teaching analyse elusive surveillance in contemporary society. She looks at mundane forms of control as they unfold in spaces of 'care' - development projects, migrant protection centres, the modern university.

She obtained her PhD in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge in 2019. Before Cambridge, she completed a BA and MA in Foreign Languages at the University of Bologna, where she benefitted from the financial and pastoral support of the Collegio Superiore. Lorena held visiting positions at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and at the Centre Jacques Berque pour les Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Morocco. During her studies, she has 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).

Research Interests

Lorena's previous work focused on development aid as an instrument of border control. Focusing on urban Morocco as a site of inquiry, she looked at how European-funded projects created spaces where black Africans racialized as ‘Sub-Saharan migrants’ were contained in uneventful ways. In her book, ‘Immigration Nation. Aid, control, and border politics in Morocco’ (Cambridge University Press 2021), she showed that aid marks the rise of a substantially different mode of migration containment, one where power works beyond fast violence, and its disciplinary potential is augmented precisely by its elusiveness.

Her current project looks at the ‘migrant reception centre’ as a space at the intersection of durable forms of coloniality. She focuses on centres created to host asylum seekers and unaccompanied and separated children at the Southern Spanish border to explore how the tension between geographies of remoteness, infrastructures of neglect and international human right duties transform these sites in a charged political space.



Gazzotti, L. (2021). Immigration Nation: Aid, Control, and Border Politics in Morocco. Cambridge University Press.

Special issue editorship

Gazzotti, L., Mouthaan, M., and Natter, K., 2022 (online first), Embracing complexity in ‘Southern’ migration governance, Special issue of Territory, Politics, Governance

Gross Wyrtzen, L., and Gazzotti, L., 2020 (online first), Telling Histories of the Present: Postcolonial Perspectives on Morocco’s ‘Radically New’ Migration Policy, Special issue of the Journal of North African Studies,

Peer-reviewed articles

Gazzotti, L. (2023). Looking into the border. Whiteness, (un)desirable encounters and research containment at the Spanish–Moroccan border.

Gazzotti, L. (2023). As if there was a border. Bordering through excision in Melilla and the Canary Islands.

Gazzotti, L. (2022). Terrain of Contestation: Complicating the Role of Aid in Border Diplomacy between Europe and Morocco.

Bastani, N., & Gazzotti, L. (2021). “Still a bit uncomfortable, to be an arm of the state”: Making sense and subjects of counter-extremism in the UK and Morocco. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space.

Gazzotti, L. (2021). (Un) making illegality: Border control, racialized bodies and differential regimes of illegality in Morocco. The Sociological Review, 69(2), 277-295.

Gazzotti., L, and Hagan, M., 2020 (online first), Dispersal and dispossession as bordering: Exploring migration governance through mobility in post-2013 Morocco, Journal of North African Studies,

Jiménez-Alvarez, M., Espiñeira, K., and Gazzotti, L., 2020 (online first), Migration Policy and International human rights frameworks in Morocco: Tensions and Contradictions, Journal of North African Studies,

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.

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

Chapters in edited books

Gazzotti, Lorena, 2021, The “war on smugglers” and the expansion of the border apparatus, in Gallien, Max, and Weigand, Florian (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Smuggling, London: Routledge

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