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«A thesis submitted to the Department of Political Science and International Studies of the University of Birmingham for the degree of Doctor of ...»

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European Union Policy from a Discursive Perspective‟, Geopolitics, 9: 2 (2004), pp. 292-309 29 borders. Most generally, as Vaughan-Williams summarises, the external EU borders have emerged as a result of the “„Europeanisation‟ of member states‟ borders since 1985.”46 Thus, the Community law defines the external EU borders as: “the Member States’ land borders, including river and lake borders, sea borders and their airports, river ports, sea ports and lake ports, provided that they are not internal borders.”47 Several significant features characterise this process. Firstly, while some of the traditional Westphalian functions, such as economic and military maybe declining, the external EU borders are becoming ever more important in the policing of the so-called clandestine international actors.48 Secondly, as Axford49 and Carrera50 argue, although many of the current threats to border security the EU faces are non-traditional, the bulk of the responses are traditional due to the predominance of measures premised on strengthening of the principle of territoriality. 51 Thirdly (and most importantly with respect to the relationship between national and EU borders), the current design of cooperation at EU level is based on the national predominance of the member states. 52 This is in concurrence with the above definition of the external EU borders and can be exemplified with the recent decisions on the way FRONTEX functions.53 The empirical chapters of this study conform to these arguments and provide evidence of how these features of the external EU borders have been articulated in the discourses of the European Commission in various policy areas.

46 Nick Vaughan-Williams, „Borderwork beyond Inside/ Outside? Frontex, the Citizen-Detective and the War on Terror‟, Space and Polity, 12: 1 (2008), pp. 63-79, p. 64 47 Cited in Sergio Carrera, „The EU Border Management Strategy: FRONTEX and the Challenges of Irregular Migration in the Canary Islands‟, CEPS Working Document, no. 261, March (2007), p. 5 (emphasis in the original) 48 Andreas cited in William Walters, „Rethinking Borders beyond the State‟, Comparative European Politics, 4: 2/3 (2006), pp. 141-159, p. 142 49 Barrie Axford, „The Dialectic of Borders and Networks in Europe: Reviewing „Topographical Presuppositions‟‟, 4: 2/3 (2006), pp. 160-182, p. 170 50 Sergio Carrera, „The EU Border Management Strategy: FRONTEX and the Challenges of Irregular Migration in the Canary Islands‟, CEPS Working Document, no. 261, March (2007), p. 5 51 Other studies, however, have emphasised the non-traditional elements in the development of the EU‟s external borders. See for example, William Walters, „Rethinking Borders beyond the State‟, Comparative European Politics, 4: 2/3 (2006), pp. 141-159.

52 This point is made by Sergio Carrera, „The EU Border Management Strategy: FRONTEX and the Challenges of Irregular Migration in the Canary Islands‟, CEPS Working Document, no. 261, March (2007), p. 9 and by Julien Jeandesboz, „Reinforcing the Surveillance of EU Borders. The Future Development of FRONTEX and EUROSUR‟, Challenge: Liberty and Security, Research Paper no. 11, August (2008), p. 3.

53 A good summary of the prerogatives and functioning of FRONTEX can be found in Helene Jorry, „Construction of a European Institutional Model for Managing Operational Cooperation at the EU‟s External Borders: is the FRONTEX a Decisive Step Forward?‟, Challenge: Liberty and Security, Research Paper no. 6, March (2007) 30 Another set of theoretical border-related issues, triggered by the process of integration concerns the internal EU borders. As Delanty argues, internal Union borders are a result of an overlap between old borders and new (often) less visible ones. 54 In that respect one type of internal EU borders are the old lines demarcating the divisions between the member states of the EU. Today these borders are often seen as having declining importance. This is because they are: “now mostly devoid of military significance, and have also lost their function as trading zones…”. 55 Although this implies decreasing significance of national borders inside the EU and therefore, a relatively simple relationship between national and internal EU borders, this in fact is not the case. This is so because as Diez argues a basic paradox of European integration is that the decreasing importance of borders inside the European Union is based on the recognition of the national borders of the member states. He refers to this as subversion.

Thus, it was possible to progress with European integration only because it implicitly recognised the borders of the member states,56 hence guaranteeing their continued existence and significance. This logic has endured and has led in some cases, as the analysis in the empirical chapters show, to the reconstruction of borders inside the EU.

Another type of internal EU borders are new divisions emerging in the Union that exist beyond the national borders of the member states. In distinction to the above internal borders that can be seen as an expression of the intergovernmental thinking in the integration process, these new internal divisions are a result of the normative adherence to the idea of an integrated Europe. According to Blatter, this has inspired the efforts towards the creation of cross-border regions in the EU,57 which is embodied in the INTERREG programmes. Another example of internal borders existing beyond the national borders of the member states are the new identities emerging as a result of integration efforts. The current study provides several examples of the articulation of this kind of internal borders in the Commission discourses, such as the distinction 54 Gerard Delanty, „Borders in a Changing Europe: Dynamics of Openness and Closure‟, Comparative European Politics, 4: 2/3 (2006), pp. 183-202, p. 192 55 Ibid., p. 191 56 Thomas Diez, „The Paradoxes of Europe‟s Borders‟, Comparative European Politics, 4: 2/3 (2006), pp.235-252, p. 239. Another scholar that asserts the continued “belonging” of borders to particular nations is William Walters. See his chapter in Chris Rumford (ed.), The Sage Handbook of European Studies (London: Sage, 2009), pp. 484-507, p. 492.





57 Blatter, cited in Barrie Axford, „The Dialectic of Borders and Networks in Europe: Reviewing „Topographical Presuppositions‟‟, 4: 2/3 (2006), pp. 160-182, p. 172 31 between EU nationals and TCNs or the juxtaposition of the supporters and objectors of the social dimension of the internal market.

Therefore, the existing literature on EU borders gives a comprehensive theoretical and empirical account of the main transformations of borders that occur as a result of the process of integration. The major shortcoming of the current studies is that they tend to end up in providing limited and one-sided account of the relationship between borders and integration. This is a grave problem because it prohibits a comprehensive account of the current developments and instead presents a distorted picture. My claim that integration leads simultaneously to the decreasing importance of borders and to the construction of borders means that one of the central concerns of the research is to capture the parallel occurrence of these two processes. This will contribute to the current debates in two main ways. Firstly, it will provide a much more comprehensive coverage of the developments on EU borders through highlighting the simultaneous tendencies towards decreasing the salience of borders and the construction of borders for different types of borders. By doing this, secondly, it will present a much more realistic account of the processes that are currently taking place. This ambition, however, necessitates the development of a way for studying borders. The first step in this journey is to become familiar with the contemporary debates on this matter, which are presented in the next section.

2.2.2. Theoretical approaches to the study of borders The aim of the discussion in this section is to provide the background on which I will develop a theoretical framework for the examination of the construction of EU borders. In order to do this, I present the main ways in which Border Studies have conceptualised borders and I link the assumptions of these conceptualisations with the broader meta-theoretical debates that have inspired them.

The developments in Border Studies have been influenced by and have followed the general developments in social scientific research. In the last decades it has seen a renewed interest and engagement with ontological and epistemological issues.

Simplifying a complex debate, most generally research on social issues can be classified as positivist and constructivist. The tenets of positivism are the view of the unity of science, and therefore the belief that the methodologies of the natural sciences should be 32 adopted to explain the social world (naturalism); the belief that there is a sharp distinction between facts and values and that facts are theory neutral (objectivism); the conviction that there are regularities in the social world and therefore, deductive and inductive forms of inquiry are relevant in order to develop law-like explanations; the validation of social scientific inquiries through either validation or falsification (empiricist epistemology).58 This approach argues that the world exists independently of our knowledge of it. Constructivism “… builds on relativist philosophy of science and interpretivist sociology of knowledge.” 59 Contrary to positivism, for the proponents of this approach there is no direct access to the real world because our knowledge of it depends on understandings that are socially constructed. Therefore, in order to learn about the social world it is crucial to interpret the meanings of social phenomena.60 Following these major trends in social scientific research, prior to the 1980s, borders were seen as a given reality. They were above all concrete empirical phenomena, 61 which is why they were defined as a spatial fact that has a sociological impact.62 For example Prescott‟s influential study on boundaries and frontiers sets out to examine the specific aspects of frontiers and boundaries. As far as boundaries are concerned, he is interested in the evolution of international land and maritime boundaries, the disputes associated with them, the internal state borders and boundaries‟ general effects on the landscape.63 In a similar way the contributors to the “The Geography of Border Landscapes” inquire into the varying impact of political decisionmaking and ideological differences on the environment at border locations. 64 Other studies have concentrated on different issues, such as examining the link between 58 Steve Smith, „Positivism and Beyond‟ in Steve Smith, Ken Booth, Marysia Zalewski (eds), International Theory: Positivism and Beyond (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp.11-44, pp. 15-16 59 Emmanuel Adler, „Seizing the Middle Ground: Constructivism in World Politics‟, European Journal of International Relations, 3: 3 (1997), pp. 319-363, p. 321 60 David Marsh, Paul Furlong, „A Skin not a Sweater: Ontology and Epistemology in Political Science‟ in

David Marsh, Gerry Stoker (eds), Theory and Methods in Political Science (2nd ed.) (Basingstoke:

Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), pp. 17-41, p. 27 61 Anssi Paasi, „Generations and the „Development‟ of Border Studies‟, Geopolitics, 10: 4 (2005), pp.

663-671, p. 663 62 John Williams, „Territorial Borders, International Ethics and Geography: Do Good Fences still Make Good Neighbours?‟, Geopolitics, 8: 2 (2003), pp. 25-46, p. 28 63 J. Prescott, Boundaries and Frontiers (London: Croom Helm, 1978) 64 Dennis Rumley, Julian Minghi (eds), The Geography of Border Landscapes (London: Routledge, 1991) 33 electoral behaviour and borderland ethnic minority patters65 and tracing the effects of border alterations on the borderland and its inhabitants. 66 Thus, these studies see borders as a fact that is given independently of human actions and examine them utilising various tools modeled after the instruments of enquiry of natural sciences.

However, by the end of the twentieth century, this conceptualisation of borders was increasingly criticised due to its inability to provide a satisfactory account of various important events, such as why in some cases even small changes in state territory and its borders provoke deep emotional reactions and can lead to territorial conflict, while in other cases new borders are not disputed; why sometimes border areas that have been peaceful for a long time can suddenly be transformed into the foci of conflict and provoke even bloodshed; or why governments and public opinion are very often painfully sensitive towards many questions concerning political boundaries. These criticisms provoked new ways of thinking about borders that helped overcoming some of the problems the traditional approaches were facing. 67 In doing this, since the late 1980s Border Studies have increasingly utilised constructivist understandings and have started to focus on the border‟s massive visibility in the shaping and controlling of the lives of people and their huge importance for the questions of war and peace. 68 In distinction to the traditional methods of border studies, these inquiries are based on the presumption that borders as delimiters of sovereignty are constructed and reconstructed in a search for control, linked to the nature of political power.69 Thus, these approaches point to the fact that there is a whole social dimension attached to boundary delineation.70 Therefore, this type of studies predominantly critically investigates borders as differentiators of socially constructed 65 Julian Minghi, „Voting and Borderland Minorities: Recent Italian Elections and the Slovene Minority in Eastern Fiuli-Venezia Giulia‟, GeoJournal, 43:3 (1997), pp. 263-271 66 Milan Buffon, Julian Minghi, „The Upper Adriatic Borderland: From Conflict to Harmony‟, Geojournal, 52: 2 (2000), pp. 119-127. For a review of the border studies in political geography see Julian Minghi, „Boundary Studies in Political Geography‟, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 53: 3 (1963), pp. 407-428 67 Vladimir Kolossov, „Theorizing Borders – Border Studies: Changing Perspectives and Theoretical Approaches‟, Geopolitics, 10: 4 (2005), pp. 606-632, p. 613 68 John Williams, „Territorial Borders, International Ethics and Geography: Do Good Fences Still Make Good Neighbours?‟, Geopolitics, 8: 2 (2003), pp. 25-46, p. 30 69 Ibid, p. 28 70 Michelle Pace, „The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the Common Mediterranean Strategy?



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