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Centre of Migration Research

Jan Grzymski. 2018.

Europe’s borders and neighbourhood: governmentality and identity


Vol 6 (2018): CBU International Conference Proceedings 2018


This article argues that the EU's neighbourhood policy is deeply entrenched in the Eurocentric spatial imaginaries of the EU as the universal core of and pole of attraction to its neighbours. This is especially clear in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and Eastern Partnership (EaP) concept of an asymmetrical partnership and neighbourhood. The ENP and EaP constituted the EU as a fully European core, while simultaneously othering its neighbourhood as not-fully European with an uncertain status of being between the inside and outside. This article attempts to expose how the ENP and EaP's practices draw a border for the EU/Europe and its neighbourhood with the use of specific EU policy instruments, which are not just technical or professional tools. To the contrary, these instruments hold some potential power in constituting and envisioning the EU's closest outside neighbours. This article will move beyond application-oriented research and draw on critical social theory, especially the already-existing governmentality research as well as Michel Foucault's theory of power. The article concludes with the exposed mechanisms of constructing the political and cultural space of neighbourhood (and ultimately Europe too) through the ENP and EaP's governmental rationalities of their border practices.


EU Borders, governmentality, Critical European Studies, European Neighbourhood Policy