Working Paper Series
Europe and the Biopolitical Schism. Material and Symbolic Boundaries of the EU Border Regime
Practices of EU border enforcement push unwanted migrants and refugees into zones of exposure to in-creased environmental risks. This operation is consistent with a simultaneous displacement of unwanted non-European travelers to the realm of ‘nature’ in collective imaginaries. The main claim of this paper is that European borders are thus being produced, both materially and symbolically, along the fault line ‘culture’/’technology’ and ‘nature,’ where illegalized travelers trying to enter the continent are perceived as less technologically developed and therefore less compatible with Western civilization. This operation repro-duces and reinforces a deeply racialized vision of the non-European ‘others.’ As a consequence, certain subjec-tivities are enabled, fostered, or produced but also contested and disputed along the European borders, while the ‘border struggles’ are displaced into an allegedly neutral terrain. This analysis draws theoretically on the work of Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, and Bruno Latour. It is based empirically on a discursive analysis of the corporate material distributed by Frontex and by companies that produce technology for border sur-veillance and control, as well as on interviews and observations conducted in the Greek-Turkish sea border area between 2013 and 2016. The paper is part of a larger research project about practices, materialities, and discourses involved in the EU border regime and it aims to contribute to the broader field of critical European Studies.
Keywords: Europe; EU; Borders; Biopolitics; Technology; Nature/Culture
This working paper aims to reformulate the teleological concepts of Europeanization by relating them to modernity’s ambivalences, which seems necessary for two reasons. First, both the number and the scope of crises in European politics and societies have increased considerably in the last two decades. Second, and more importantly, the project of European integration has changed its status from being a potential problem solver to being a part of the problem. The paper establishes a broader historical perspective than is usual in most projects on Europeanization. It argues that crises and drawbacks have been a part of European societal and political development during most periods of European history. One reason has been the purely European strategy of colonialism, which was used as a mechanism to outsource the negative consequences of modernity to places outside of Europe and to peripheral locations within Europe. By including historical and postcolonial perspectives on contemporary Europeanization, we argue that Europe and modernity are not characterized by teleological progress but rather engender ambivalent and entangled developments.
Keywords: Europe; Modernity; Europeanization; EU; Ambivalences