Europe's Border Crisis: Biopolitical Security and Beyond

ISBN : 9780198806790

Nick Vaughan-Williams
192 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Sep 2017
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Europe's Border Crisis explores current dynamics in EU border security and migration management. It argues that a crisis point has emerged because 'irregular' migrants are seen as both a security threat to the EU and also as a life threatened and in need of protection. This leads to paradoxical situations whereby humanitarian policies and practices expose 'irregular' migrants to often dehumanizing and sometimes lethal border security mechanisms. The dominant way of understanding these dynamics - one that blames a gap between policy and practice - fails to address the deeper issues at stake and ends up perpetuating the terms of the crisis. Drawing on conceptual resources in biopolitical theory the book offers an alternative diagnosis and sets out a new research agenda for the interdisciplinary field of critical border and migration studies.


Part 1 Borders, crises, critique
1. Europes border crisis
2. European border security and the crisis of humanitarian critique
3. Conceptual crises in critical border and migration studies
4. Key themes and a map of the study

Part 2. Biopolitical borders
5. Introduction
6. European border security and migration management: from Schengen to the Arab Spring
7. Foucault and the biopolitical paradigm
8. Biopolitical border security in Europe

Part 3. Thanatopolitical borders
9. Introduction
10. The sovereign ban and thanatopolitical spaces
11. Reassessing Agamben in critical border and migration studies
12. Push-backs and abandonment in the European borderscape

Part 4. Zoopolitical borders
13. Introduction
14. Borderwork and contemporary spaces of detention in Europe
15. Critical infrastructure, dehumanization, animalization
16. Derridas zoopolitics and the bestial potential of border security

Part 5. Immunitary borders
17. Introduction
18. Life, politics, and immunity in Esposito
19. The immunitary paradigm
20. Reconceptualizing the border as an immune system

Part 6. Affirmative borders
21. Introduction
22. Affirmative biopolitics
23. Towards an affirmative biopolitical border imaginary
24. Affirmative headings for European border security and migration management

About the author: 

Nick Vaughan-Williams is Professor of International Security and Head of the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick, UK. From 2016 to 2019 he holds the Philip Leverhulme Prize for outstanding research in Politics and International Relations. His programme of research, supported with grants from the British Academy, UK Economic and Social Research Council, and Leverhulme Trust, focuses on the relationship between sovereignty, subjectivity, and the spatial dimensions of security particularly the changing nature of borders and bordering practices in global politics. His book Border Politics: The Limits of Sovereign Power (2009, 2012) was Gold Winner of the Association for Borderlands Studies Book Award. He is co-author of Critical Security Studies: An Introduction (2010, 2014) and Everyday Security Threats: Perceptions, Experiences, Consequences (2016).

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