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Talk: Border Politics and Policy in Today’s Europe

Thursday 29 November 2018 18:45-20:15

As part of a two-day programme on migration and border politics in Europe, Virginie Guiraudon (PhD, 1997, Harvard) delivers this keynote address followed by a discussion with Professor Christina Boswell.


Since 2015, migration has become high politics and topped the agenda of EU summits, exacerbated tensions between member states and is considered to be emblematic of the "crisis of Europe". In the UK, the 2016 referendum also focused on migrants although the UK was never a member of Schengen and has shifted its land and maritime border in Northern France since the 2003 Touquet agreement.

These debates are often framed in Manichean terms: bona fide refugees vs. "economic migrants," security vs. humanitarian concerns, identity politics vs utilitarian logics. Yet it may be important to analyse EU border policy in medias res. How does it work (or not)? Who is really in charge? One entry point to answer this question is the study of the actual sites where migrants are on hold, in the big European waiting room: "hotspots" in Italy and Greece, and encampments near borders such as Calais.

About the Speakers:

Virginie Guiraudon (PhD, 1997, Harvard) is CNRS Director of Research at the Sciences Po Centre for European Studies and Comparative Politics in Paris. She studies EU policy processes, in particular the emergence of an EU immigration, asylum, external borders policy domain as well as EU antidiscrimination laws. She is the recipient of the 2013 Mattei Dogan prize in European Political Sociology and coedited the volume Europe’s Prolonged Crisis. The making and Unmaking of a Political Union (Palgrave, 2015). In June 2018, with several hundred colleagues, she launched a call for an International Panel on Migration and Asylum.

Christina Boswell is Professor of Politics and Dean of Research at the University of Edinburgh. Her research explores the role of knowledge in public policy, and comparative UK and European immigration policies. She has recently published Manufacturing Political Trust: Targets and Performance Measurement in Public Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2012). Christina has provided consultancy and policy advice to various international organisations and government departments and currently chairs the Scottish Government’s Expert Advisory Group on Migration and Population, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Working Group on Immigration and Diversity.

Event details:

Border Politics and Policy in Today’s Europe
Thursday, 29 November 2018, 6.45 - 8.15pm

Institut français d’Ecosse
West Parliament Square
Edinburgh EH1 1RF

Advanced booking recommended ONLINE via our extranet, at 0131 285 60 30, or at info ifecosse.org.uk

This event is delivered by the Embassy of France in London, the Institut français d’Ecosse, and the University of Edinburgh as part of the Embassy’s seminar series The Fabric of Citizenship.

Image: Le radeau de la Méduse
Credit: Théodore Géricault, 1818

Institut Français Écosse 2022