The Cosmopolitanization of the EU’s Borders?

Damian Spruce


For centuries the political geography of Europe has been based around borders of its nation states. The ability of the nation state to control its territory has been essential to the practices of war and diplomacy, the legitimacy of governments, immigration policies and trade. But processes of globalization and EU integration have transformed the borders of the European nation state. While globalization theorists tend to posit an opening up of borders to global flows of capital, information and people, the changed nature of the border is itself often left unexamined and is assumed to have simply disappeared. But scholars and activists are now arguing that, rather than fading away, borders are proliferating in the globalized world and their functions spreading into many different areas of society. This article examines the transformation of the ‘classical’ border of the nation-state into its recent forms, using the work of theorists such as Balibar, Mezzadra, Rigo and Walters. It then examines how these theories have been applied in recent literature, and in particular Chris Rumford’s analysis of the European Neighbourhood policy and his argument that this represents a ‘cosmopolitanisation’ of European borders.

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