Contact person:
Eline Wærp
  • Department of Global Political Studies
Time frame:
01 September 2018 - 31 December 2023

Project description

Drawing on Bourdieu’s concept of field, the dissertation delimits ‘the field of EU border management’, which it takes as its unit of analysis. Asking how this field is enacted and through what logics, the dissertation aims to provide a genealogy of the field of EU border management from the early 2000s until today, including the various discourses and practices comprising it, as well as the actors that populate it and their positions.

Concentrated on the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), the dissertation will map the development of this field from the creation of Frontex in 2004 until today, with an emphasis on continuity and change over time. Careful not to treat the EU as a monolithic actor or EU border management as a unitary field, the analysis will tease out struggles in this field between the different actors (i.e. EU institutions/agencies, INGOs/IOs, NGOs), where the different discourses and practices complement, overlap, contrast or clash with each other.

The theoretical framework, composed of the Copenhagen- and Paris school of security studies, allows for an exploration of how the process of (de)securitization unfolds through both discourses and practices in this field. Attention will also be paid to other elements characterizing the field, such as normalization, crisis, and humanitarianism, among others. Treating bordering as a practice further enables a focus on what type of border regime this field produces, along with the consequences for those caught up in it on the ground.

Document- and critical discourse analysis of relevant documents produced by the different actors will be conducted, as well as interviews with representatives from the EU and civil society. Contributing to the literature on EU border management, the aim of the dissertation is to provide a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of this multilayered, rapidly changing field that has been provided to date.